I'd more or less narrowed it down, with some reservations, to art.com/art.co.uk when the huge upheaval surrounding that enterprise started up - so I had to start looking around again as I'm not at all happy with their new offering to artists. Which is why you've been seeing references to print sites and online galleries in the "Who's made a mark this week" posts on Sunday.
That was also the point at which I realised that Dan over at Empty Easel was also investigating all the different on-line gallery sites (and has his blog posts archived under "selling art online"). He seemed enthusiastic about the Imagekind! offering so I decided to take a peek - and liked what I saw. It's not perfect, there are things I'd like to be different but it looks very promising. I've worked before with companies which are still in the early years of operation and I have found that they are often the ones who respond best to customer feedback - so I'm optimistic things will improve as they compete for market share.
This post is by way of announcing I'm going to give Imagekind! a try.
I've started with the free option and I'm not going in for any razzamattaz right now. I may have a 'grand opening' later if I decide to upgrade and have got a number of images ready for publication. Right now the focus is on testing out the service - to see how good the product is, how fast and how well the delivery service works - both in the USA and internationally, how much I like the site (or not) and whether all the existing functionality works well.
So far I'm impressed with the ease of setting up an account, the scope for description and tagging each work and the presentation of the gallery. I'm also extremely impressed with the options for doing custom mats and framing - and spent hours last night trying them all out! I'm puzzled by some of the search results but don't know whether that's a result of me being new to the site or not. However putting my name in the search box this morning brought up my work. The next thing to do is get a few more images scanned and uploaded for the 'test drive' period.
So - I've got things to test out and I'd like you to help me out. Here's what I propose:
- I must find out how the site works from a potential customer's perspective. I really value your views and, whether or not you want to buy a print, I'd really like to know what you think about :
- the site generally,
- the search process
- my profile presentation,
- the gallery format,
- the information provided for individual works and
- the process for ordering a print - and there's no need to click that final button unless you want to!
- my current print prices: Petite (10" x 8") $14.99; Small (13.8" x 11") $19.40; Medium (20" x 16") $25.99.
- It would be great if anybody would like to explore the options for custom framing or printing to canvas.
- In return for getting feedback I'm going to keep the price of prints on the images I load and publish lower than I expect to set when I "open for business" proper. I'm not sure how long this will be - but let's say I want to be open for business proper no later than 1st September. It may be earlier.
- I will also do a more formal review(s) on this blog of Imagekind! as a 'print on demand' site when I've had feedback about "how was it for you?" as well as much more experience myself in using the site and setting things up.
As a fine art printer himself, I know he's very particular about the sorts of internet sites he will do business with. He has got lots of his sketchbook drawings, pastels, monotype prints of images of the architecture and landscape of Provence and trees available as giclee prints in four galleries. This gives both me and you a much better sense of what my site could look like in the near future. Plus I'm looking forward to getting lots of tips from him too!
So - if anybody fancies taking my new gallery for a test drive please feel free and do let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. At the moment there is only one image showing up - "Potential" - it seemed appropriate! ;) I have lots more scanning for print quality to do! I'll aim to get a few more images posted in the next few days.
You can get to the gallery any time by clicking on the new icon in the right hand gallery (just below the subscription icons). My current thinking is that I will also have an icon for a gallery image as well - and then change that each time I produce new work.