Dear Google: Let’s Talk Art

By admin in Misc > Art Opinion

Selling art online is hard.

There’s potential to reach buyers, but if you’re unknown or just starting out you’re kind of stuck with only two options.

Option 1. Start your own website and learn a new set of skills—link building, Search Engine Optimization, HTML coding, etc—so that people will find you even if they don’t know your name.

Option 2. Join a website like ArtistRising or OriginalArtOnline and compete against hundreds or thousands of other artists using the same service. Unfortunately because of large number of artists in one place, your work still might never be found. And it really doesn’t matter how good your art is if nobody sees it!

The solution? Google Art.

Google Art Search

Google Art would have nothing to do with website popularity or getting people to link to you. Instead, artists would upload an image of their work onto Google’s servers, and then Google would simply rank and display each artwork based on an algorithm that judges artistic merit.

Now you’re probably thinking, “NO WAY. Artistic value can’t be measured by a program!”

Can’t it?

Here’s how Google Art would work:

There are certain artistic qualities that generally determine whether art is good or not—things like having a full range of value in a photograph, or equal amounts of positive and negative space in a painting.

The same goes for color. Using complimentary colors, adjacent colors, and even split-complementary colors will almost always make a work of art more appealing.

Each of those things can be analyzed by using a program that looks at pixel data. Adobe Photoshop essentially uses and manipulates this data in thousands of ways already, so even without being a programmer I know it’s possible.

Of course, there are other basic elements of art that would come into play, but as long as they can be logically defined then they can be analyzed by a computer. What we need next is data from REAL people responding to art, and actually there are plenty of ways Google can get that and add it into the mix too.

For instance, Google could use an application similar to its own Image Labeler, but without asking for text feedback. Place an image of a painting in front of someone and then give them a zoom tool plus several options like, “next image,” “bookmark,” and “purchase.” Just a simple setup like that could generate a lot of data that shows how much interest each work receives, and even the amount of time spent before clicking “next image” will effectively rate a work of art.

But that’s not all.

If Google Art needed more user feedback, it could set up art survey groups and analyze people’s visual interaction with art using eye tracking software. This would give Google important information about where the focal points are, how well the artist created visual movement or flow, and how effective the overall composition is in retaining and controlling each viewer’s gaze.

These instinctive reactions, culled from a large number of viewers, should give a very honest assessment of how people actually feel about each piece of art

I also believe it’s important to give artists some say in how they’d like their work to be judged, so by allowing artists to classify their work under categories like “Realism” or “Abstract,” their art could be rated alongside others in the same specific style. In addition, using artist supplied keywords or a social tagging system would be a simple way to accomplish regular search functions for finding subject-specific art while still bringing up the best works first.

I’m pretty sure I’ve just scratched the surface on this, and it‘s already sounding really complex. But of course, creating complex algorithms is right up Google’s alley.

And you know, not only would this type of art search engine be beneficial to all of the talented yet undiscovered artists out there, it would also give tangible feedback to artists when they begin to improve—simply by showing a higher ranking compared to other artists locally, nationally, and even globally.

So Google, if you’re listening (and I know you are) I’m just asking for you to think about it. And of course I’d be happy to help out in any way I can. : )

For everyone else, whether you want to add to the idea or rip it to pieces, feel free to leave me a message at my contact page.


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