What is an artist website anyway?


What is an artist website anyway? To some it’s a showcase, a means of self-promotion. When you get right down to it, there’s a bit of ego lurking behind all personal websites. Others may use it as a marketing device, grass roots capitalism. For others it’s a necessity for grants, or to gain university staff tenure.

I view mine as a repository of my life’s work, documentation of my progress, complete with successes, failures, and odd diversions. It’s more or less a complete record, including my work as a writer, although that component is less complete. Burrow into my website and you find a record of one-off installations and performances, as well as personal interests which might offer insight into my work. To some people the choice not to be more selective in what I include might seem like a mistake. They will ask, why not put your best foot forward, expose only the cream, keep the rest in a file somewhere?  Why show everything? To which I would answer, that’s just the way I’ve chosen to do it.

One thing I have tried to avoid though, is putting work online before I’ve had a chance to exhibit it publicly. I like the work to exist in the real world, give it a chance to be experienced in person, before it enters the digital universe.  Viewing a painting—and most of my work is painting—online is a whole different experience than viewing it in person. That seems obvious, but I think in this tech-driven world, where nearly everyone caries a record of the sum total of all human knowledge and accomplishment in their pocket, people have come to think of digital images as a kind of equivalent reality. One of my painting series—Paintings of Pictures of People with Paintings—dealt early on with the phenomenon of museum visitors viewing art through the lenses of their digital devices, which at that time tended to be huge video cameras. The problem with digital images, well one problem anyway, is the issue of scale; the six-foot painting and the six-inch painting are the same size on a phone. You don’t really get the impact of a large scale work when it’s only 4” tall. Same with such qualities as texture, gloss or flatness, brushstrokes; you can’t see these things in an image, even on a big screen computer.

The reason I mention this is because I just posted images of my newest series—called Untitled. As I write this, everything I have done in this series so far is online, even though only a smattering of it has been on view publicly. I’m waiting for a new gallery that’s in the works to be completed, before I exhibit the collective series. But the gallery construction has been unavoidably delayed. So since I had added little to the site in the past couple years, I decided to post the new work. I hope you will check it out, but I also hope you’ll come and see it in person when I exhibit it. Of course, when it’s shown, you maybe you won’t be geographically close enough to see it in person. So this might be my only opportunity to have you see it.

And if you have never looked at my website before, please, stop in; take a stroll around and explore. Let me know what you think.