Back in the days of 35 mm slides, I conscientiously submitted my work to slide files like Artists' Space and The Drawing Center. Exactly one show came out of it: an artist-curated exhibition at a not-for-profit gallery in Tribeca at the moment when Tribeca was poised to become the next SoHo but never did..
Not long after that, most organizations made the switch to digital. By the time I got around to making the switch myself, I had a website and found that I could get pretty decent traction on my own with a judicious postcard campaign and good online images. I never looked back.
When Google arrived, the art world cracked open a whole lot wider. We discovered one another--and dealers and curators discovered us--in ways that hadn't been possible before.
So when Donna Dodson, the Boston-based sculptor, asked me recently if I'd ever done a MM post on contemporary "slide" files--cyber venues such as Saatchi Online (its slogan: Discover art. Get discovered), as well as digital files at the same venues where I once had slides--I had to say No.
Well, that's not a post. So I asked several dealer friends if they had used institutional image files recently.
"Why should I? I have Google," responded one dealer, clarifying that if his interest in an artist's work was piqued at an art fair or in other looking, he'd do an Internet search on the artist and then, possibly, contact the artist. Said another, building on the first remark: " Why should I use Google? I have my gallery artists' referrals, which lead me to artists' websites." Well, OK, then.
A few dealers mentioned having initially seen artists' work in New American Paintings, and I can tell you from personal experience that I have responded to dealers who found my work via a thematic Google search.
In looking over some MM posts, I was reminded of a dealer who quietly follows artists on Facebook, a strategy which, it turns out, is not all that unusual. And in a visit with a curator recently, I saw her personal files firsthand; there were postcards, articles and even printouts from online sources, organized by theme and artist.
Anecdotally, then, "slide" files seem to be going the way of actual slides.
So now I turn the topic over to you:
. Do you still have your work in image files?
. If so, which ones?
. How often do you update? And how easy is it to do so?
. Have you ever used one for a project you were working on?
. And here's the big question: Has your inclusion in a file led to an opportunity of any consequence?