Web Site Review:
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Art for the Web

As seen in the November/December 2001 issue of Link-UP magazine

By J.A. Hitchcock

Surfing the web, you tend to find that there are far too many web sites out there, many of which you may or may not want to visit. While visiting a friend's web site one day, I found a link that read "Eyestorm." Intrigued, I clicked on it and found myself at a web site I never would have thought to visit (www.eyestorm.com).

Featuring the work of over 100 artists and photographers, Eyestorm offers a different view of the art world. Not only easy on the eyes, the web site is very easy to navigate. Wanting to take full advantage of everything available, I immediately signed up as a member - it's free. With the membership, I get:

  1. A free monthly e-newsletter that promises to keep me up to date with what the artists are doing
  2. Invitations to exclusive openings and artists talks in the London and New York galleries.
  3. Members-only special discounts and offers that include purchasing artwork at pre-publication prices.
  4. Free screensaver downloads
  5. "My Space" - Collect my favorite artworks from the site and display them as a fullscreen slideshow.
  6. Plus the usual secure online purchasing, money-back guarantee and the nicest perk - FREE delivery anywhere in the world.
After registering, I clicked on the "Artists" link to see who was part of Eyestorm and what artwork they had available. The choices were to find an artist/photographer by name, read biographies, read two-minute interviews, or view special projects and events. I decided to check out the special projects and clicked on 360, which turned out to be a multimedia "journey" with a 360-degree view of four subjects: Americana, Desire, Making Faces and Nature. I selected Americana and was brought to a page with very small thumbnails of photographs. As I placed my mouse cursor over each one, a title appeared, and I had to click on each one. I was expecting more of a slideshow or something to that effect (which is what I usually think of when reading "multimedia"), but this was not the case, which was disappointing.

As I clicked through each photograph, a paragraph or two appeared about the photograph, with a link to the artist/photographer and information that sometimes included the purchase price. When I write sometimes, that means that some links are references to authors not featured on the site, but as a complement to the artwork appearing. For example, in the Americana series, I clicked on a link to Diners. This brought me to two graphics, one of the famous Dennis Hopper 1942 painting, "Nighthawks," of three people sitting at the diner counter, clearly visible through the plate glass window. The featured Eyestorm artist, David Levinthal, offers his take on the Hopper painting, with "Modern Romance #62," a print in an edition of 500 signed and dated by Levinthal, available for $500 from Eyestorm. This shows a man and woman sitting in a diner, visible through the plate glass window, although they are "fuzzy" and not entirely clear. But the colors and mood of the print are intriguing and nice to look at.

I read the two-minute interview with Levinthal and found that the "Modern Romance" series was done with a Polaroid camera, the SX-70 model. Talk about shock! I thought I was looking at a painting. He's also well-known for his photographs of the vintage Barbie doll, harking back to the classic 60s style of elegance. Although only a "two-minute" interview, there was a lot of information and enough curiosity that I took a look at the rest of Levinthal's works on the site.

I found myself spending more time on the Eyestorm web site than on any other site I'd visited recently. The artwork ranges from modern to class to very weird (at least to me) to warm and fuzzy. The artists and photographers are a melting pot of ideas and personalities and I enjoyed every minute I spent (actually, it turned out to be more than two hours). I actually found many photographs and artwork that I'd seen somewhere before, so finding out more about the artists was interesting and yes, fun!

In addition to the artwork for sale (ranging from $200 on up - the highest price I found at that time was $45,000, for a photographic print titled "Le Nouveau-ne" by Constantin Brancusi), you can purchase books, CDs and videos starting at just $12.50 - there's something to fit everyone's wallet, which is nice. There are also tips on collecting and caring for artwork, framing information, a glossary of terms for those new to the art world, and listings of exhibitions around the world with dates and previews of the artwork.

I found out that Eyestorm began as an Internet start-up in 1999 by two London art dealers who wanted to do something different from the usual in the contemporary and often elitist art world. An Artist Liasion team was soon formed, consisting of six members headed by co-founder David Grob. They approached artists all over the world and soon had an inventory and network of some of the most critically acclaimed artists and photographers of our time.

Is Eyestorm for you? If you love art and great photographs - yes! If you're not into this kind of thing, you may change your mind once you visit the site. Eyestorm is unpretentious, yet classy, and didn't make me cringe - even when I saw the prices of some of the artwork. That's the wonder of the Internet - you can be anyone from anywhere and view wonderful artwork and photography without having some snooty salesperson following you around.

But, if you do like to view art in person, Eyestorm has two galleries, in New York and London - and they're NOT snooty:

New York Gallery
60 Mercer Street @ Broome
New York, NY 10013
subway: N or R to Canal Street
Mon-Sat 11am-7pm
tel: +1 212 226 1000

London Gallery
18 Maddox Street
United Kingdom
tube: Oxford Circus
Mon-Sat 10am-6pm
tel: +44 (0)20 7629 5678

J.A. Hitchcock, awriter@jahitchcock.com, is the author of seven books and a freelance writer, as well as president of W.H.O.A. (Working to Halt Online Abuse)

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