Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

A Techno-Artistic Diversion: Why I’ve Been Out of the Studio Too Long.

Like most artists, I like being in my studio. If I’m not out scouting scenes for paintings, or working, or with my family at the kids’ countless sports events, I’m in my studio.

What I don’t like so much is the management side of the artist/gallery business…tracking inventory, managing site images, keeping track of when what painting sold, and from what gallery, and making sure site visitors to my site and my gallery’s sites, are actually seeing work that is A) in that gallery and B) truly available for sale.

Frustrated with the lack of simple tools out there to simplify this effort, I decided to build one.

Though no programmer am I, I did manage to find two incredibly bright and talented developers who not only understood the project, believed in its value, and did excellent work, they tolerated months of persistence, curve balls, and occasional fits of frustration, resulting in a piece of functionality that does what I intended it to do, and will do even more over time.

The result: GallerySprout (named for the principle that a single artwork is the start of the lifecycle for the Artist/Gallery/Collector relationship) has satisfied my personal needs for managing inventory and is nearing readiness to be offered to others, both artists and galleries.

The screenshots below provide a few glimpses into the features of GallerySprout, which I have begun using as my own inventory management software. And if any of my gallery’s are members of the site, I can share any image and all it’s data with them.

Below are some key features:

Artist and Gallery Inventory

My inventory is uploaded into the system and is easily accessible for editing. Key to the management of images within GallerySprout is the ability to create Collections (screenshot below), that can be classified any way an artist or gallery wishes to divide artwork. In my case, a logical division will be by what art gallery that work is in. If I designate that a piece is in Dragonfly Gallery (click here to view Dragonfly’s GallerySprout-built web presence) and then move that painting to another gallery, I simply uncheck  (see image below) the Dragonfly checkbox and check the new gallery’s collection checkbox, and the piece moves from one collection to the other. Within the inventory fields, I change the gallery location from Dragonfly to the new gallery, and Dragonfly automatically gets recorded as part of the painting’s placement history.

Common Inventory Fields

I tried to keep the inventory fields to a minimum. The basic artwork information (size, medium, price, etc), but I also needed to keep track of buyers of my work, so we added the ability to add customers to the system manually or via spreadsheet import. Once added, those customers are dynamically available in the “sold to” field.

Collections Management

Key to any organizational tool is the ability to sort things into categories. In my case, I like to keep work separated by collections, where each collection is (in the most comment case) the galleries who represent me, as well as work I have prepared for preview for one of these galleries. When I show 8 paintings to a gallery, and they select 4, I want to show those other 4 pieces to someone else. Rather than doing so through a clumsy series of emails and attachments, I now deselect a piece from one “preview” collection and designate it to another gallery’s preview collection, then fire off the link to that collection.

“MySite” Branded Presence

Each premium account comes with the MySite brand presence features, which allows your artist or gallery artwork to be presented in a manner that reflects your current’s site look and feel.

 MySite Sample Gallery

This initial version of GallerySprout allows some basic css style modifications to be made to each account’s (artist or gallery) MySite page, along with the ability to change the banner to include the artist or gallery logo, page, text, and navigation styles. Future versions will include more features, and the ability to map your current domain to the GallerySprout MySite page, providing a seamless integration between a gallery or artist site, and the inventory they share.

Want to try it out?

We’d love your feedback. Click here to create a free ARTIST account (choose Artist Premium level…we’re inviting artists and galleries to check in out as Beta users. No charge). And click here for free Gallery Account.

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