Sunday, April 3, 2011

Can We Talk Tech?

I'm finding out about some exciting new tech- y things for artists...and I'm thinking about how to use technology to assist collectors in being able to easily see my work.
For instance, here is a painting that I like and now have for sale -but only recently have I exhibited it in any gallery. This photo shows it here in my studio where I painted it. It's now the front of my website.

Golden Shore 30c40 ,Oil -©Dot Courson

I put it on the front my website over a year ago when I painted it. Since I have now decided to sell it, I need as many people as possible to see it:That is the first image of my work you see when you go to www.dotcourson.com .  I have had this website for 4 years, and this blog for awhile now. Two years ago I joined Facebook. Recently I added a "Page" on Facebook called, "Dot Courson Fine Art and Workshops".... Now I'm on Twitter @DotCoursonArt. I'm trying to be "out there"...

Smartphones and APPs- What I'm Learning
Websites are fine, but now people are using smartphones more than PCs. Fine Art Studios Online, my web host knows this. They already have "smart phone friendly" versions of all the sites they host. This makes the experience better for the small screens.

I'm learning phone tech possibilities and apps slowly. (I gotta paint sometime!)  One of my favorite apps is GeoCoupons where I get updated coupons that the stores can scan directly from my phone... and a Scanner that scans ANY bar codes as easily as a seasoned Wal Mart clerk about to go on her lunch break. It gives a price comparison form many websites and lists "storefront" places to buy it.  It's handy to pull out your phone at checkout rather than have clipped coupons, etc. They are always there!

When I first got my bar code scanner, I went around the house like a kid- scanning objects like Kleenex boxes, nail polish, and lotion bottles. BTW: Who knew that Amazon actually sells all that stuff? You've probably seen the app on the TV commercial of this guy using his phone to scan a bar code ...and showing the cute girl that she can get the same goofy looking knit hat "cheaper - just down the street!"  She says- "Where'd you get that app??" Right? ...Well, those apps are EVERYWHERE and they all work on smartphones...They ASSIST shoppers. 

BTW- This is a bit off topic, but I had the MOST fun using Shazam - an app that allows me to turn my phone on- punch Shazam- and it "listens" to about 10 seconds of music - anywhere in the air that music is playing clearly---and POOF- it tells me: #1 -the artist, #2-the lyrics, #3-shows the album cover and #4-tells me where to buy it- (iTunes of course!) Amazing world we live in, huh? My grandchildren were impressed to the point that they were almost speechless! he-he. That doesn't happen often!... Yep- Nana's still with it- got cool factor,etc.etc...

Finally, drum roll please - QR Codes!
I have discovered apps that read  things that are NOT bar codes. It one is an app that reads QR, or Quick Response Codes- which is like a 3-d bar code... I heard about them through Twitter.  Macy's and Target are already using them. Some are on billboards in NYC and on sides of buses, etc.  But for me- I want my QR Code for the backs of my business cards and to set up by my exhibits. That way, the public is more likely to actually GO to my website (listed on my card). Right then and there- BEFORE they go home and never actually get around to viewing my website. 
Here is my very own QR code that takes a smartphone reader two seconds to connect to my website:
Dot Courson Fine Art
The Effectiveness Test
This weekend, at an exhibit in Memphis, I put it to the test and put up the above QR Code image - printed on the front of a  blank greeting card, and stood it between my painting exhibition area, and was delighted to see that some attendees actually knew what it was and scanned it. Others were very interested in seeing how it worked as I scanned it with my phone which connected right to my website and while they were there on my website they were introduced to my other paintings! Artists who saw it were interested in using it for their own art. 

Here is what CNN Tech news said about QR Codes: 32% of people have scanned them and 82% say that they REMEMBER the website better if they scanned it to find it!

I've read articles on the internet about several uses - real estate- political campaign ads, etc, - I plan to get some peel and stick QR codes for the backs of my business cards and the backs of my paintings.... 
BTW - these codes are FREE at www.stickerscan.com. and they have reasonable priced items for sale using the codes.

Stickerscan.com says that more than half of smartphone owners are using phones to shop.  I'm not surprised.  Other sites say that smartphones are already used MORE than PCs! There are lots of ways to use the codes- you can order yard signs, magnets, key chains, even  (removable) tattoos!!!  One can use the codes to download information onto the scan like videos --or links to websites like I did mine. Tonight one person told me they put a scan clipped onto their cat's collar that contained her contact information! 

I like all the product ideas.  I'm wanting a T-shirt! (*No tattoos for me!)

(Note: I do not work for - or even know -StickerScan.com but they should GIVE me a T- shirt for writing this! Right?)


  1. OMG Dot - I love my smart phone and now I'm going to love it even more. Can't wait to check out all the valuable info you wrote about in this blog post.

  2. I'm still a dinosaur, wondering if I should get a Facebook account! But that's another site to have to load painting images, update etc.
    Do you find Facebook helpful for getting your paintings out to the public?
    Thanks for all the 21st century info!

  3. Carol- Thank you for your comment! There is a lot of technology dedicated to business and I'm just now learning about some of it. Smart phones make using some of this technology fun.

  4. Judy- You're not a dinosaur for not using Facebook. It's mostly social, but yes, Facebook is another gallery of sorts. Most of my friends are artists and its so inspiring to see the work that they post and to read their blogs,etc. They share all kinds of helpful painting tips too. I've met and made some great friends through Facebook. As far as sales, yes, I have sold a few paintings that were seen and bought due them being on Facebook. One was an international sale. A couple to collectors who already had some of my work and wanted more. But I would not use Facebook for marketing my work, however. That just takes the fun out of it. Its a virtual meeting place for artists to socialize/share for me.
    Loading images: I'm self taught on all this stuff, and this can be learned pretty easily if you have digital images already stored in files on your computer and organized so that you can find them.
    Google searches assist me in answering "how to" questions that I have... Also, one can do a You Tube search for educational videos on how to do most anything!