The BristolCon Art Show

What with the impending trip to Canada and being stuck behind my dealer table most of the time, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to what was going on elsewhere in BristolCon. That proved to be a mistake, because what they did with the art show is very interesting.

I should note that BristolCon was not the first convention to use this system. This year’s Eastercon also used it, but I wasn’t there and missed finding out about it then.

So, what’s so special? Well, although BristolCon did take place in person, they knew a lot of people would be reluctant to attend, so much of the art show was put online using a system called Kunstmatrix. This is a virtual environment that allows you to “hang” art in a virtual space, and to have people walk around that space to view the art. As Kunstmatrix is a professional tool developed specifically for artists, it is rather better than the VR art show put together for CoNZealand.

If you are very quick you can access the BristolCon art show here. However, I understand that it is closing on December 1st. You may have better luck here, which is Jim Burns’ personal galley, originally created for Eastercon and still available as now. If it has vanished, here’s a screen shot.

The things that impressed me about Kunstmatrix include the ease of navigation, and the clear display quality. Crucially it is affordable. And the galleries can include a link to a catalogue from which the artists can sell prints, and even original works.

Obviously I’m not an artist, or an art show person, but to me this system does show a lot of promise. Setting up your own gallery seems quite easy, and conventions could charge a small fee for including a link to an artist’s personal galley in their art show, on the assumption that this would lead to extra sales. Of course you won’t know how much they sell. Meatspace art shows are financed through a levy on sales at the event, whereas here you have to guess how much a place in your show is worth to people. But hopefully this is a workable solution to the virtual art show problem.

The main problem I foresee is international sales. The VAT nightmare will doubtless raise its ugly head again. But maybe the Kunstmatrix folks will be able to do something about it.