06 January, 2009

Winter Yard Birds

Winter Yard Birds
Photo: Casey Klahn

The little ones are climbing the trees. Cooped up and stuck in snow world for a couple of weeks, and today makes the second day they should have been back in school. Canceled.

Personal subjects in art blogging are a matter of taste, I think. Is it the right subject matter? Isn't it supposed to be about the art, after all?

Your Blog Style: Lifestyle, Art Form or Spare?

The answer lies in your own style. Some artists thrive by blogging about their life as well as the studio, and it is a very successful strategy. A perfect example is Tracy Helgeson, who just completed a month of daily postings challenge. Of course, having the world's yummiest studio, a beautiful farm house in upstate New York, chicken-coop full of joy, and fantastic colorist oil paintings doesn't hurt her profile, either. Her blog style has created a story line that is compelling, and authentic. Yours will be your own individual story, of course.

Tracey Ullman with a paintbrush

This leads to another style of art blogging: the art blog as an art form. First in mind for me is Jafabrit's Art. Jafabrit tells the story of an artist's life but keeps it stylized by writing spare, centered copy. Her work is dramatic, with skulls, ravens and crows, and screaming faces on rocks. Her humor is dry British wit, but tends towards the outlandish kind. Think Tracey Ullman with a paintbrush.

Corrine (Jafabrit herself) knits tree ware, gives art to the cosmos on Fridays, and commiserates with her greater art community in her Ohio locale. Well, actually she does this worldwide, too. Her "Your Documents,Please" piece has circled the globe, and don't forget these blogs go out to the world wide web. As an added bonus, because her blog is an art form, she peppers the format with music widgets, talking heads, and occasional videos - always funny. I consider Corrine's blog, and her art, to be absolutely among the most authentic and original out there.

If you are considering the absolute, most spare art blog that you can manage, think twice. The SEO gods want you to add copy to those pictures. This is the way their robotic algorithms compute. Picture...BZZZZZt-TzT (flicker, sput); Words...HzMMM nng- BTZ, AHHHHH. And the SEO deities like certain words better than others. Call it alms, or perhaps a dogma. My favorite SEO tripwires are Donny Osmond, Michael Jackson, Terri Horton, Vincent van Gogh, pastel, you get the idea. The problem is, these words don't all fit my narrative, except on very narrow occasions. OTOH, the posts live forever on the net, and garner traffic in perpetuity.

I will back up and say that images have their own pathway to the search engines such as Google Images. Here is a little research on this. Also, learn a bit about the alt attribute, and the title attribute of your images.

have a tissue handy as you cry at the results

If you have been blogging for a while, try a search of Google Images with the search query as your name, or as the name of your blog. Have a tissue handy as you either laugh or cry at the results. But, copy is still king on the Internet, since the default page on Google is text based.

Anyway, my vote for the best spare but extremely effective style is Robert Chunn's Alla Prima. Cunning and colorful still lifes posted on a consistent basis are his fare, but he has a program far more thoughtful than art only. Robert posts an art-related quote with every post, and try that sometimes if you think it is easy! Additionally, his spare motif includes his sidebar design. Precious few widgets, text all lined up and justified, and links. That's it. Think that's all? Have a closer look at his links - very exhaustive and organized. The outcome is a blog that very much matches Chunn's art, and tells the story he's after.

And you thought daily painting was the only format for art blogging! What is your art blog style? Next time: more tips, and types of art blogs.

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jafabrit said...

tracy ullman with a paintbrush, that is just hilarious and what an absolute compliment as I think she is what cool woman.
Casey thank you, it really is interesting and helpful to read how your blog is perceived.
I have to agree with your view of alla prima, very nice blog and I enjoyed visiting Tracy Helgeson.

all the best

jafabrit said...

ps. thanks for the great info too about seo etc. I am still learning.

Casey Klahn said...

You are the cool one!

I happened on some vids of TU, and will get a chuckle from them later when I have some time.

I actually have a very dim handle on this image identification thing, but these links have gotten me a little closer.

jafabrit said...

I haven't quite figured out the image thing. People ask me advice about blogging and I am bumbling along and somehow things happen but dang if I know how I did it LOL!

Anonymous said...

As a newbie to the world of blogging, coming across posts like this make me very happy.

From visiting different blogs I noticed there were different forms of blogging but the one that kind of appeals to me most is the Tracy Helgeson type...........one where art and a story are mingled together.

Thanks a lot for this post. It'll go a long way to helping me find my footing in the world of "art blogging"

r. chunn said...

Thanks for the nod, Casey. Cheers.

Casey Klahn said...

Authenticity, Jafabrit. You have it.

Stay tuned for more, Nkolika. I want to get into a series of basic things on art blogging.

Thanks for reading, Robert, and for your generous blog.

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