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Although Artocracy.org has apparently been around for a few years now, it only recently came to my attention when I saw that it was one of five art websites nominated for the 12th Annual Webby Awards this year.
Artocracy went on to win the People’s Voice Award in the art category, which intrigued me enough to take a deeper look at the site. After all, I’d never heard of it before.
According to their about page, Artocracy was “founded to democratize the art world one print at a time” by being a “digital marketplace for original art.” To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how democracy plays into it, other than as a convienient tie-in for their domain name, but as an art prints marketplace it’s certainly worth talking about here.
First off, the design and layout of Artocracy is simple, sleek, and very functional. Underneath the Artocracy logo in the center of the screen are 6 expandable options.
This layout might seem too bare if you’re looking at it on a larger monitor, but other than that it’s a very cool looking website.
Visitors to Artocracy can browse for artwork by room (dining room, bathroom, etc) as well as color, subject, and price.
There are a bunch of thumbnail images per page, which is good, but they’re all so small that it was a bit daunting to me to even browse through them.
I much preferred looking through the current “exhibition” section, which featured larger thumbnails and artwork all classified according to this month’s theme, Flora/Fauna.
Purchasing options include all-digital pdf downloads (to print on your own home printer) which are limited in size to 8×10 inches, as well as regular prints and framed prints which are available in sizes up to 20×24 inches.
Prices seemed to range from $20 to $50 (framed prints cost more, of course) and artists receive 75% of the price of the pdf print for every sale they make on Artocracy, whether that sale is a framed print, regular print, or download.
In addition, each month Artocracy offers a free pdf download of a single work of art, which I think is a fantastic way to both feature great art and draw people into the world of art all at once.
If you’re interested in joining Artocracy, keep in mind that every artist is manually reviewed before being accepted.
I also checked out their list of artists and found that there are only 100 or so represented by Artocracy at this point, so I imagine they’re fairly selective.
And, whether you think selectivity is a drawback or not, I did find one major “problem” for artists using Artocracy to promote art online:
Artocracy artists are effectively invisible to Google and other search engines.
By that I don’t mean that people can’t find Artocracy.org when searching for it, I just mean that if you search (in Google, or any other search engine) for the name of an artist LISTED on Artocracy, you will never find Artocracy.org.
In my mind, that’s a serious flaw, but what can I say—Artocracy is a flash-based website. It’s pretty, and flashy, and yes, very functional, but the trade-off is that all of its content is invisible to Google.
All this really means to me is that Artocracy would be a great secondary (or back-up) site to try to get your art listed on, but it shouldn’t be your only website. Make sure to have an art blog, or at the very least, your own portfolio website as well.
If you’re interested in submitting your art to Artocracy, or you’d like to check out the type of artists they represent, then by all means, head on over and browse around. It’s definitely worth a visit.