A White Lab Reveals The Art of Selling Art

A White Lab Reveals The Art of Selling Art

Arty has been on the road the last few months making product presentations, and even a few sales. We really think it is fantastic that a dog can bring so much to the table as a marketing voice for the website, and we reached out to Arty for his thoughts on selling art. Q: Arty, thanks for agreeing to the interview. We wanted first off to share that we love the energy you bring to the website as the headline avatar. A: I love being at the top of the homepage. All the credit goes to an awesome graphic artist from Serbia. So what’s on your mind, bud? Q: Well, it seems unusual that a dog would have so much success selling art, but you really seem in the last few months to be hitting your stride. We hope you will share some details of your approach, but what is the big picture story to your success. A: Well, it does help to be a cute dog for starters, but that’s not necessary. What really matters is finding people who are interested in acquiring art. Therein lies the art to selling art, or anything really of a discretionary nature. Unlike cars and dishwashers, folks don’t think about needing art. But actually a lot of folks really do benefit from art. They just need some prompting to realize it. Q: So how does the conversation flow, then, Arty. What is your art to selling art? A: Well, my conversation is very much a work in progress, but for sure it starts with sharing with people what we do here at...
The Midisparks Art Print and Gallery Mount

The Midisparks Art Print and Gallery Mount

Deathcycle (Danijela Jovic) Gallery Mount $31 The online art market is rich with art print products. Canvas prints and framed prints are especially popular, but we also find metallic prints, wood prints and acryllic prints. Where does the Midisparks Art Print fit into the mix? Midisparks Art Sales accepts image files from artists and photographers which crop to our easy framing sizes at a high resolution of 300DPI. The Midisparks print vendor critically examines every new image file and makes color corrections when necessary to ensure an optimal result on Fuji lustre photo paper. The lustre finish is glossy, but with a slightly rough texture which feels like the surface of a natural pearl. Although lustre is shiny, there is much less glare in lustre. This makes it an ideal finish for framing photos and hanging them in a room. There is great color saturation and high contrast. Most art sites offer a photo print product. What makes the Midisparks Art Print special is the critical oversight of the production process, from acceptance of the image, to sizing, to cropping, to color correction, to printing. The Midisparks Art Print is affordable and suitable for the entry level art enthusiast and collector. Unmounted prints range from $16-$21 dollars. The Midisparks Gallery Mount is an affordable, lightweight alternative to framing and is competitively priced. Bloodsport (Danijela Jovic) Gallery Mount $31 Midisparks Art Notes highlites new blog posts, featured artwork and products. Sign up and receive a discount code worth 5% off any print in the Midisparks Art Shop! Sign Me Up and Show Me the...
Elize Kaisser, composer

Elize Kaisser, composer

Midisparks Art Sales is fortunate to have several projects on the site featuring the music of Elize Kaisser, composer. Elize recently completed a new CD featuring, as always, her alluring, smoky mezzo, her romantic keyboard artistry, and her rich sonic mixes. Several tracks include live saxophone. We especially love Elize’ voice as a sensuous layer, a velvety texture added into her tracks. In “Laid Back Love” we have a lush example, with her vocal sweeps adding color and personality to her sound blends. The track is also notable for the variety of keyboard sound patches blended so tastefully. This same effective use of her voice as one of several instruments well-blended is wonderfully evident in “Dream Guitar” and “Sound of Impressions.” But we also equally enjoy Elize’ pure classical piano tracks, which we could listen to endlessly. Her playing is always rhythmically solid, but at the same time fluid and expressive. We hear the welcome influences of romantic composers such as Rachmaninoff, and impressionists such as Debussy. “Cinematic” offers a nice introduction to Elize’ romantic keyboard style. Elize Kaisser Artwork for Sale Midisparks offers several photographic prints of colorized photos by Elize.  The rich, romantic textures of her music juxtaposed against her visual abstractions creates a uniquely engaging effect. You can discover Elize Kaisser, composer through her Midisparks profile page. Midisparks Art Notes highlites new blog posts and featured content. Sign up and receive a discount code worth 5% off any print in the Midisparks Art Shop! Sign Me Up and Show Me the...
Shelley Neff Photography

Shelley Neff Photography

Fine Art Photography by Shelley Neff Shelley Neff photography is represented extensively in the Midisparks Art Sales portfolio.   Many of Shelley’s images are of regional subjects in her home state of Pennsylvania, and specifically in her hometown of Harrisburg, PA.   Shelley’s Midisparks portfolio gravitates to natural subjects on the one hand, architectural and landmark subjects on the other. Four stunning closeups of butterflies are featured on the site (Paper Kite Butterfly, White Peacock Butterfly, Tickled Pink Sulphur Butterfly, Tang Monarch Butterfly), all with accompanying audio by Dan Goldstein. Three of the four images magically capture the insect’s moment of delicate engagement with a flower.  All the images present butterfly wings at rest – surely no small photographic feat.  The accompanying audio to three of the butterfly presentations suggests the delicate interaction between insect and flower. In some cases there is a sonic allusion to the fluttering of wings.  A more recent field and stream category entry of Shelley’s on the website is ‘Autumn at Wildwood‘ which captures the splendor of Fall foliage at the Wildwood Nature Conservancy in Harrisburg.  The audio in this feature develops an entire insect world of sound and action and truly creates a subnarrative about the ‘behind the scenes’ of the photo. Prominent among Shelley’s numerous shots of architectural and landmark subjects are interior and exterior presentations of the Harrisburg State Capitol Dome (Capitol in Bloom, Majestic Heavens, Christmas in the Rotunda).  Creative composition and angling, which we can see in ‘Capitol Dome’ (left) create both playfulness and a sense of dynamic motion.  In addition to the ‘Wildwood’ entry, we have two completely different representations of...
Can Creative Community Drive Online Art Sales?

Can Creative Community Drive Online Art Sales?

You would think with her twinkling eyes and warm smile, that Mona was the “glass half full” type. But honestly, I am beginning to wonder! Webmaster Dan asked us to take a look at analytics to identify a metric that might suggest that visitor engagement on the site is improving and better driving online art sales. It seems the average site visit in the past few months lasts around 6 minutes. This compares to an average visit time 9 months ago of about 4 minutes. That sounds like deeper engagement to me, right? But not according to my dear Mona. Mona thinks we should discount time spent on the site by the content providers – the artists, composers, bloggers. After all, they are not the potential customers right? They are building the projects for the customers. We need to demonstrate that potential customer engagement on the site has improved. Unless we can demonstrate the same improvement in the visit time metric exclusive of our dear content providers, we can’t conclude that viewer engagement and associated online art sales have improved. Well, maybe white labs wear rose-colored glasses, but I think Mona has it wrong on several counts. First off, it is entirely possible that our content providers also represent potential art customers. So why discount their activity on the site? More importantly, engagement with the Music and Art project is more often than not but one part of the total visitor experience that leads to a sale. Without doubt as important as actual involvement with the art is the relationship that has formed or is forming with the potential...
Vampires, White Labs, Greeting Cards

Vampires, White Labs, Greeting Cards

Arty and I were discussing recently what goes into a great greeting card. The conversation was prompted by reservations expressed by both your Vampiress and your White Lab about recent Midisparks choices for 3 new card collections featured in the Art Shop. Arty was particularly critical of the Rafael Kempter entry ‘Monocerotis’ from the Rafael Kempter Space Art Collection (view the collection). For our White Lab, investing a card with the sender’s personality is primary and what achieves some personal connection with the recipient. Despite the awesome reds in the core of Rafael’s formation, and despite the dramatic white sweeps of stars circling that core, there is for Arty no connection created between giver and getter in the presentation of this image as a greeting card. Arty thinks something lighter hearted, that speaks to the sender’s personality, is much more fun and connecting. For my part, I was focusing critically on ‘First Kiss’ from the Carney’s Victorian Sentiment Collection (view the collection). Of course given my vampiric condition, I am somewhat limited in the kinds of relationships I can pursue. For me this image of sweet embrace evokes some sadness, some sense of loss. I am really concerned about card recipients having this kind of response to a card expressing such sweet (and perhaps to some unavailable) intimacy. I would rather stick with something a little tougher, a little more generally accessible. Bleeding vampire lips, for example! Now there is something we can all appreciate and experience on an equal footing! I hope you will form your own opinions about the Midisparks Art Sales Greeting Card Collections. If you...
Can Music Really Sell Art?

Can Music Really Sell Art?

The mission of Midisparks is to inspire art sales through music. That’s a tall order of course. But arguably any website worth its salt is creating an enhanced user experience which motivates visitors to take desired actions. At Midisparks, a large image, well-matched audio, thoughtful narrative, composer and artist profile pics, all create for the viewer a sense of accompaniment in their art browse. Visitors browse our galleries with friends, with a community. Now marketing is a many headed beast. The best website UX, by itself, will not make sales. There has to be some external marketing which brings qualified visitors to the site. Perhaps they found the site through organic search. Perhaps networking on social media drew the right set of eyes to a painting. But given a qualified prospect viewing some art, what can the music in particular offer to the visit which leads to the sale of art? Of course the answer lies in the art itself. The featured art this December 2015 focuses on family, on scenes from everyday life, and on Holiday spirit. The homepage feature, for example, is ‘Young Married Couple’, an artistic color restoration of a black and white Edwardian era photograph by Carney’s Colour Photo Creations. Consider the young couple here, clearly in love, blushing with hopes and desire. But consider also that there is a great deal of propriety here. The couple is very much the creation of, and conformed to, the social moors of their age. The mood is joyful. But there is the restraint of the era also. Husband is well-appointed in his suit and tie. Though he...
Music For Art: What the Audio Sees

Music For Art: What the Audio Sees

The reasonable amongst us assert that music and visual art each have their place on the entertainment spectrum, separate and distinct. The unreasonable, on the other hand, open to the notion that listening to music while viewing visual art can actually enhance our experience of paintings and photographs. Well – that’s the story of our website and we are sticking to it, so on we blog. Audio can emphasize less obvious or secondary aspects of an image and in that way create alternate narratives or moods for the visual work. Byleth’s expressive track for Shelley Neff’s night blooming crocus photo ‘Purple Haze’ and Pete Tebar’s eerie track for artist ViVaDa’s watercolor painting ‘Ravine 6’ both develop a mood and a narrative which emphasize secondary, or perhaps only implied, subjects in the image. Byleth’s track is suspenseful and otherworldly, unexpected characteristics for Shelley’s beautiful night blooming crocuses. But there is something unnatural also about Shelley’s treatment. First, the closeup creates a larger-than-life effect – perhaps these are really flowers from some other planet. Secondly, the black background gives the impression that these flowers emerge from space itself. They seem disconnected from the natural environment. In artist ViVaDa’s abstraction of a ravine, we enjoy the light pastel colors and the riverbed apparently flowing with pure white light. We perhaps behold something idyllic, some magical transformation of a natural formation into an inviting tunnel which leads us to connection and ultimate absorption into some G-dly goodness. Again, our composer Pete Tebar challenges us with a very different take. Pete’s track opens with effects that imply something hidden from us. Perhaps something lurks...
What is Scary? Part 2

What is Scary? Part 2

Fans of the website may have noticed that two avatar personalities have undergone rather startling seasonal transformations. Mona, our brilliant young marketing strategist, generally looks fresh and sharp in her Macy’s sweatsuit. Alas – she is totally zombified! One eye has apparently been gouged out, teeth are clearly in disarray, and hands are skeleton bony. Monstrous? Perhaps, in a fun sort of way. Scary? naaa . . . Despite the awful innovations, Mona merely poses. She remains playful and cheery. She intends no harm. She is clearly having fun and we have fun with her. Scary stuff has some critical components. For one, we relate on some level with the subject. There is something a little believable about something mostly fantastic. Or there is something with which we identify. Another critical component is feeling threatened, directly or indirectly. Arty, Mona’s white lab, transforms in a way which subtly threatens us, even as we laugh and say “how cute!” We all know that Arty keeps a paint brush firmly in his jaws and at the ready for that unscheduled plein air opportunity. But now behold the creator’s tool is supplanted by a long and terrible knife already bloodied from violent aggression. And against whom is this wanton attack? He stabs none other than his (formerly) beloved sister Mona! His eyes glow demonically. They laugh at us, not with us. Top all of this off with the physical transformation (a long blue worm tail supplants his bottom and fits just a little too perfectly), and we have a scene that creeps us out. Some small part of us is appalled. This...
What is Scary?

What is Scary?

The gargoyle provides a method of drainage which protects the stone and mortar of churches, cathedrals and castles. It is also scary as hell. The creature, usually designed with human, animal and purely fantasy elements, alludes to ancient myth, legend, and pagan religion. It promises temporal suffering for rebellious serfs; and for sinners, eternal damnation. Perhaps the modern mind, unlike the medieval one, awash in superstitious belief, is not so alarmed by the gargoyle’s threat. Nevertheless, the old technique which empowers Monsieur Gargouille (Old French – probably throat) with the ability to scare, remains the engine today for the most impactful terror art. What scares us is rooted in reality and has a context or an implied narrative. Being rooted in reality is about imagery which is realistic and to which we can relate. These are the natural elements of our own bodies and of the world around us, man-made or otherwise. Context is the presence of an actual or implied narrative. Context stirs our imagination and gets us to storytelling. It is possible, for example, that the spookiest portrayals of haunted houses are photographs, not paintings. Why might that be? Here is an example with some of the elements that make the haunt. Here we have Shelly Neff’s night photo of the Zembo Shrine in Harrisburg, PA. An upward looking camera angle serves to emphasize the looming, towering aspect of this old stone edifice. The arched windows are black, gothically pointed. Shadows form thick bands, punctuated by fragments of supernatural blue, across the facade. The branches of leafless trees hang limply, desperately. Artist Gerald Sawyer haunts us from...
Sound and Color : Anatomy of a Track Part 1

Sound and Color : Anatomy of a Track Part 1

Apropos to the Halloween season, Arty suggested that we get our paws (and hands) a little bloody and dissect a recent audio submission to the site.  Arty, by the way, took over for me as VP Technology and as a poster child on the homepage.  That’s fine with me.  He’s a good boy, and youth sells, so let him at it.  I still get to blog. One of our Midisparks composers, Dan Goldstein, has been exploring for some time relationships between sound and color.  Dan subscribes to the theory that all of us have the potential (if only latent) to experience sound as color.  That some experience sound in this way is documented.  The phenomena, known as chromesthesia (a subcategory of synesthesia) has been reported to occur in two ways.  In the first, the response to auditory stimuli is a projection of colored shapes, like fireworks, in the external space.  The second is the experience of a particular color in the mind’s eye in response to a particular note or other auditory input.  Studies have shown certain individuals to be genetically pre-disposed to chromesthesia, but that it is nevertheless a latent potential in most of us. Unfortunately, there seems to be no predictability about which notes will trigger which colors, when the reported responses of color-synesthetes are analysed statistically. This does not discourage Dan, however.  Dan suspects that different folks tune in to different overtones and hence different colors, even if the fundamental note is associated with a particular color.  In fact there has been demonstrated a mathematical relationship between audible frequencies and the frequencies associated with the light...
Presenting the Carney’s Vintage Photos Collection

Presenting the Carney’s Vintage Photos Collection

It is our good fortune at Midisparks Art sales to represent on an exclusive basis Carney’s Photo Colouring of Perth, Australia.  Carney’s is currently featuring on the site eight colorized photographs from the late Victorian and early Edwardian periods, all with audio.  There are plans to present at least 10 more with audio on the site.  Prints of these and over 60 additional images are available through the Midisparks Art Shop. (View the Collection at the Art Shop) Mike Sadler, the Carney’s proprietor, is also an active Midisparks staff composer.  His music can be heard with many projects on the site, including his own Victorian era photo features.  His wife is primarily responsible for the stunning colorizations of vintage photos which we are honored to present. I must confess to some bittersweet mixture of emotions and memories as I embark on this introduction to the Carney’s collection.  As some loyal readers may recall, I came of age in this era of narrow waists and wide hems. Although my family could not afford a nanny, my relationship with Mother was characterized by the distance and formality so characteristic of parent-child relationships amongst the upper crust of the day.  Fortunately, Dad’s warmth and accessibility made the relationship with Mother tolerable. Nevertheless, everyone, Dad included, followed Mother’s rules. These included rules of dress.  Although I was spared mother’s corset, I nevertheless endured stays and bodice.  There was a message and an admonition of social restraint in these sculpting undergarments.  It was a message from which I rebelled in high school.  The result of that rebellion was a certain date with a certain forbidden...
An Interview With Lolita Vampiress

An Interview With Lolita Vampiress

Dan Goldstein, curator and webmaster at Midisparks Art Sales speaks with Lolita. D We are pleased to have in the studio with us today Lolita Vampiress, blog mistress and staff composer at Midisparks Art sales. Thanks so much for joining us, Lolita. L My pleasure, honey. D Listen, Lol. I know the audience would love to hear just a little about your background. I understand you grew up in a very creative environment. L Well, on my Dad’s side. Dad was a painter. He used to take me with him when he would show at the fairs and so on. People would ask me questions about the art and over the years I just became very comfortable talking about painting. D That is so neat. And you had musical training as well. L I was a pretty good oboist. Eventually I got sick of struggling with the reeds and found composition so much more fun. D So now you bring your music and art background together for the Midisparks blog? L Yup, it has really been great. Even though a lot of music has been written with art in mind or inspired by art, the music we write for Midisparks presentations is specifically for the art, to enhance the viewer’s experience of the art. I try in the blogging to connect the dots a little between the music and the art. Of course we use the narratives to promote the art sales as well. That’s the business after all. D I know a lot of folks have enjoyed your writing over the years, Lol. I sure have. And since...
Mona Walks the Customer Path

Mona Walks the Customer Path

We don’t always start a website with the intention of selling stuff. Sometimes we simply want a forum in which to share. But sometimes too we are bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, or perhaps we dream of an early retirement from a government job, and so embark on a journey to monetize our cyber properties. Such was the case with the Audio Sparks for Art (now Midisparks Art Sales) website. In the past year Midisparks has established affiliate relationships with two online art retailers and has also established an independent relationship with an art print vendor. The transition has been full of challenges, both technical and conceptual. A lot of soul searching took place with respect to the basic value proposition. That proposition happens to be that music and online avatar personalities can create a sense of accompaniment in the online art shopping experience. We have friends and guides, including the customized audio presented with each painting, to inspire and inform our discovery of the art we love. A lot of nice words to be sure, but has the site in fact converted image browsers into art buyers? Not yet, but there is a tentative indication that the concept may be working. That indication is the apparent success of the website’s customer path design. The goal is to transform a casual browser into an actual art buyer by directing the flow of the visit. The essential flow is from homepage to gallery page to project page to shopping cart. At each page information is shared and value building occurs. A call to action (CTA) then moves the prepped viewer...
Mona is Skeptical about the Midisparks Creative Collaboration

Mona is Skeptical about the Midisparks Creative Collaboration

I am trying to get a handle on just what constitutes the creative collaboration at Audio Sparks for Art. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the site is looking good these days. A new logo is coming on line. Webmaster Dan has finally put together a basic sales scheme. But collaboration? Really? The way it looks to me, Dan is basically knocking on the doors of artists to solicit some interest in presenting on the site. The music of course is a selling point. Now the possibility of sales on the site may be an additional draw. When our dear webmaster gets a bite from an artist, he either writes an audio track himself or asks one of his composer friends to write one. Then Lolita Vampiress cranks out a bit of narrative. Well, okay, on some basic level I guess there is collaboration, insofar as there are contributions from artist, composer, and blogger. But for heaven’s sake, these people NEVER speak to one another! (editor’s note: Mona – I know for a fact that one of our artists sent a thank you message to one of her composers!)(Mona’s note back: that is nice, Dan, but completely NOT what i am talking about!). I understand, practically speaking, that it is unlikely our composers and artists would plan in advance the kind of art and music they will create together. It seems we will mostly start with existing art in search of music. But I believe Dan’s hope for the site, over time, is that artists will discover composers and dialogue with them in advance about the kind of music...
Sound and Color Theory: An Application

Sound and Color Theory: An Application

Webmaster Dan’s latest grasping for connections between the mediums of music and art has been an extended exploration of relationships, real and imagined, between color and pitch. Dan’s process went something like this. Using a neat (and free) phone app he recently discovered (Color ID), he identified five colors which are predominant in the background of Holly’s ‘Oboe’. (reader’s note: Holly’s art is no longer found on the site.)  For his composition, he decided to restrict the sonic palette to three of these colors (Deep Pink, Deep Yellow Pink, Strong Red). According to the theory, those colors have associated musical pitches whose overtone frequencies eventually reach the magnitude of the visible light spectrum and presumably resonate sympathetically with the corresponding colors in the painting.  This sympathetic resonance, or vibration, presumably intensifies the experience of those colors by introducing a sonic reinforcement. A significant problem arose in Dan’s application of the sound and color theory to Holly’s painting.  The fact is that not every color visible to us is part of the visible light spectrum.  None of our colors have exact matches on the visible light spectrum.  Dan came up with a partial method to reconcile between the actual color values in the painting and the available values in the visible light spectrum.  He looked at differences between RGB (Red, Green, Blue) values of the actual colors and the RGB values of the light spectrum colors and, where possible, added pure Red, Green, or Blue.  Pure Red turns out to be the note G#4 +30 cents.  Pure Green turns out to be the note C4 +37 cents. Pure Blue is the note D#4 -7 cents....
Music for Art – Shape and Sound

Music for Art – Shape and Sound

Despite my best efforts to divert Webmaster Dan from his quixotic exploration of the relationship between music and visual art, he dives deeper and deeper. Today the boss discovered several articles at ScienceDaily.com which flesh out substantially, in a non-mathematical way, the EyeMusic SSD. For those of us who lead normal lives (sleeping on sunny parts of the floor, grazing grass, chasing squirrels and rabbits, etc.) a brief refresher on the EyeMusic SSD is probably in order. This sensory substitution device (SSD) translates shape and color information into auditory data, a soundscape, which stimulates the visual cortex of the brain. With some training, a blind person listening to this soundscape will see shapes. The shape and sound algorithm translates images into sound through positional mapping. The x-axis describes left-right position of an object with volume differentiation over time. The y-axis describes high-low position with higher or lower audio frequencies. Apparently the visual cortex approves of the algorithm’s logic, because it is stimulated in the same way it is stimulated by actual visual sensory information. This dog, for one, is skeptical. The only thing I see when my master whistles for me to come is the flat side of his hand on my butt if I don’t snap to it. But Dan is all hot to trot with this one. He thinks there are exciting implications relating to his music for art. Specifically, he wants to find ways to apply the algorithm to the images for which he writes. He feels that even for a sighted person, some additional dimension of information about the visual subject may be conveyed. If...
Thinking About Art Media

Thinking About Art Media

Composers of music for art may benefit from some understanding of the distinction between media and content in art. This understanding can lead to an expansion of creative choices and to greater impact in the final audiovisual presentation. A medium might be understood as an extension of the self which serves to achieve the human intention. The medium is the container that delivers the goods. The goods themselves are the content of the medium. If internet is the medium, then the internet website is a form of media content. The website in turn can be understood as a medium whose content might be articles, images or embedded audio. Every medium has personal and social consequences, and along with those consequences are associated feelings and emotions. Consider the raw materials of visual artwork. The traditional canvas is a medium. It is a container. It is the means by which another medium, paint, is held in place to permit the formation of an image, be it abstract or realistic. Steel could be the medium. A vinyl record could be the medium. Steel led to skyscrapers which in turn led to a very different office experience for millions of workers. Sound recording on vinyl created portability and intimacy in the experience of listening to music. On an emotional level, we brought the artist into our homes along with the record album. In the same way that music can speak to emotion, feeling and sentiment described in the content of visual art, so can it resonate with the medium itself. For example, a sculpture roughed out of a tree stump creates an association...