My photo “Mall of America Parking Lot” is currently in a show at 119 North Weatherly The gallery is conceptually located in Minneapolis, but visible from anywhere – because it’s virtual, it exists only online. Photographers take note: this could be a thing. It was new to me.
I’m in the current exhibit, “Nocturne”. Go to the web site, click on View Exhibition, and you enter the gallery.
The actual 3D walkthrough is produced by ArtPlacer.com. I was mostly impressed: the room looks great, the rendering is fast and smooth, the art really stands out. There’s a feeling of being in a place and looking at real things, not just another cookie cutter artist site. Moving around the room is a bit tweaky; the navigation didn’t quite mesh with my mousing expectations, and I had better luck with the arrow keys. It isn’t immediately obvious how to “select” a piece and find out more about it. All this could be improved, and ArtPlacer.com is open to feedback. But you’ll figure it out in a minute or two.
Of course, you’re alone in that beautiful gallery. I think it should include a few imaginary visitors that change on every visit. Maybe a celebrity now and then.
One downside: you can’t get right up close to the art, and I looked in vain for a way to display a piece at a larger size. So my photo looks pretty small, especially on a phone, and fails to impress as a panoramic; next time I’ll submit something that works better at a small size. To be fair, the art is shown at relative sizes corresponding to the physical dimensions of the pieces and an actual wall. You give dimensions when you submit. So if you tell the site that your painting is 10″ high, it’s going to be correspondingly small on that virtual wall; but if it’s 4 feet on a side, hey, you own the show. This will be a bit harsh for some, but it does contribute to a realistic feeling of a gallery. So, photographers: think about the dimensions you specify, but resist the temptation to game the system by entering an unrealistically large size.
But you can at least click on a piece and get a popup with information on contacting the artist, a link to their web site, and more. So there’s that.
ArtPlacement also has an “augmented reality” app for phones. Click on “VIEW IN AR” in that popup, and the app can show you the piece on your wall at home, actual size. I tried it and while it’s a bit tweaky, it works. This is valuable, because to sell a print, the key is getting people to visualize how cool it would be on their wall.
Oh and here’s my photo. I talk about it in this post.
I’ve seen 3D art walkthroughs before. What’s different here is that 119 North Weatherly is a public art gallery, with a curator, an identity, and promotion, and the shows are juried (with a modest charge for submission).
The gallery is run by local artist and musician Amanda Wirig. From the site:
“119 North Weatherly is a contemporary online art gallery based in the heart of Minneapolis. Founded and curated by artist and musician Amanda Wirig, the gallery is named for the fictional address of the Kenwood Parkway house made famous in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”…“
“119 North Weatherly was created in order to level the playing field for visual artists by charging only nominal fees for submission and making sure that 100% of each sale goes directly to the artist.”
Gotta love the concept, especially because I remember the MTM show when it was new, and how it made Minneapolis seemed like, wow, the big city. Now I have a photo there, in a gallery named after her place – how cool is that? I try to imagine Mary explaining “virtual gallery” to Ted…
Photographers are burning out on social media as it becomes flooded with junk and goes 100% pay-to-play; we’re looking for new outlets. 119 North Weatherly combines the ‘gallery’ concept with online presence and lets buyers connect with artists right on the spot. It’s already gotten some mentions in local media. Like I said, the way ArtPlacer shows photographs needs to be improved – maybe I’ll give them some feedback on that. So will online galleries take off? Who knows? But it’s a cool idea, and 119 North Weatherly seems to be doing all the right things.