The Squarespace Experience (Making the Site Part Two)

Image Time (or Three Days of Photoshop)

Now that I felt confident moving around Squarespace it was time to do the fun stuff. Actually, nope, it wasn't! In my learning, I found out that Squarespace has a preferred image size. (1500 pixels wide btw). This is important because Squarespace can do the work of making your site look good on a computer, a tablet, or a mobile phone. This is one of the reasons you are limited to their templates, I'm guessing.

ALL my jpgs I had worked on for the first attempt were wrong. In an effort to reduce file size, I made them too small. Also, I didn't realize Squarespace resizes images on its own, so I had made useless versions of each (thumbnail, overview, large). For a site heavy on images, Squarespace recommends prepping everything first. Between setting up a new naming system and resizing all the images (or editing them for the first time, in too many cases!), prepping took three to four days. In hindsight, it was one of the best decisions I made.

It's easier in Squarespace to perform one task repeatedly than to do a bunch of steps and repeat. Two examples for clarity:

When adding an image to a gallery, you can immediately define many options for the image. I found it easier to define only the basic options when adding an image. Thus, I ensured I kept the basic info consistent and accurate. I came back later and defined other options en masse, such as setting the click-thru link for each image.

Another area I did this was when setting the images' descriptions. These would not appear on my page, but are beneficial for search engine optimization (SEO). Correct, consistent keywords are better than random words riddled with typos.

I learned the hard way by trying to do too many things off the bat that you either make small mistakes, or you don't think through an option and wind up having to redo your work later.

Butter, the Rest Was Butter

Or gravy. Whichever. Squarespace is "insert and resize" (as easy as drag and drop). It was simple to design the pages because there are consistent info and design on the majority of the pages.

The biggest negative I faced with Squarespace: the cache. It was deadly. Perhaps because I quickly created many pages, and frequently visited them, my cache grew. This killed performance. Clearing it via the browser's tools worked sometimes, but a few times Squarespace zapped the cache from their end. Annoying, but not a dealbreaker.

One of the bigger positives was their Tech Support. Should all support be this nice. Three times I needed their help, three times they delivered, each tech friendly and interested in helping.

The Site is Finished

Well, of course, not. It's a website, so I already have plans to alter it as soon as I post this. But I'm glad it's up, and I look forward to making it active.

Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions, drop them below!

Website Launch and Interpolation

Website Launch

It's exciting that The Failure Store is finally happening. The goal is to make the site both a repository for documentation of my various art endeavors, and an online store for my own art and the art of my friends.

At the launch, it is 97% my own art, but the store will expand soon. The name came from from a product David Ryan, a frequent collaborator, and I conceived. We wanted to make differenty-colored racquetballs. For the simple fun, and for the challenge of actually playing with them. We figured Shark Tank or Big 5 weren't going to be fighting for our business. Who would? Well, The Failure Store, if it existed. I registered the domain five minutes later.

The store sells artworks, prints, fun things. But it will also be a place to buy beige racquetballs, LEAD paint (the Leader in Artists Paints), and other would-be homeless products.

The biggest of credit and thanks goes to James Hough, another frequent collaborator. He designed the rough draft of this site, and much of what you see here is due to his work.

Any ideas? Hit me up via Contact.

Interpolation

One of my dreams for the future is that computer scientists push interpolation capabilities to its maximum capability: creating a large resolution image from a low-res file that matches an original (theoretical) hi-res image.

With physical artworks there is no substitute (generally) for physically visiting the artwork. But it is impossible to see every worthwhile artwork, and the digital spaces do a great job getting work seen that would otherwise disappear from quick exhibitions or unvisited studios.

My hatred for the time it takes to properly document work has led to entire bodies of work going to the bins without bothering to document them. Yes, my laziness longs for a day when a quick snapshot will suffice and interpolation will return an almost-perfect reproduction of the work.

I don't see every canvas thread when viewing masterpieces in the Louvre. We shouldn't require that level of precision to say that a digital reproduction of an object isn't good enough. When interpolation allows us to create accurate, dense images that look as good as a catalog reproduction, life will be easier for artists.

This desire that stems from my least favorite part of making art touches on more important issues that the digital world is forcing us to confront more than ever and with new ideas. What is a reproduction in relation to what it reproduces? Is a repro intrinsically lesser? What do repros of digital works do to the original's value and standing? I look forward to using this platform to work out my thoughts.

(This is a vaguely disguised way to apologize for some of the cruddy snapshots that pass for documentation on this site. But I don't see my bad habit changing till I can afford a camera from post-2007.

 Sean Slattery & David Ryan  2015  Racquetball  acrylic paint on racquetball  Size: the almost exact size of an unpainted racquetball

Sean Slattery & David Ryan

2015

Racquetball

acrylic paint on racquetball

Size: the almost exact size of an unpainted racquetball