Artfinder: initial impressions

Here are my initial impressions of Artfinder – currently being billed as “the Last.fm for art”. (FYI co-founder and CEO Spencer Hyman was formerly COO of Last.fm)

These are very quick and dirty and obviously the site is in beta so a lot may change but here you go:

I’m really excited about the project and the idea of encouraging so many more people to discover new art and artists. I say this both as an art enthusiast AND as someone who would like to see “owning a teatowel with any of Monet’s waterlilies on” become a prosecutable offence.

Currently my main worry is that any art not designed for a screen automatically loses a lot of essential info –
* the impact of size, shape and position are lost (what about site specific frescoes and altarpieces, what about tiny intimate works, what about vast mega-canvases? They will all occupy the same space)
* it eliminates or reduces visibility of brushstrokes (okay for work where hiding the artist’s touch was key to their skill but rubbish for Van Gogh etc)
* the issue of reproducing colours faithfully (some colours simply don’t have an RGB equivalent)…
Something I hope is a beta/not-enough-content-yet issue is that when I took the ‘Magic Tour’ – a quick way of discovering how the site works by selecting or skipping from groups of four artworks – I clicked through so many that I didn’t like that it started to show repeats and then generated an error message! (I’m assuming the works currently on the site have been chosen because they are generally popular in style, recognisable, and old enough to be out of copyright)
I would also like to flag the following up from the T&Cs:
1. Where you have the opportunity to upload your own original work to the site you grant Artfinder an irrevocable, unconditional and unrestricted right to use and sublicence your content, royalty free in any way they see fit. It’s like an even worse version of the Plixi/WENN T&Cs

2. The user agrees not to “upload or submit User Material that is or may be interpreted as defamatory, obscene, pornographic, sexually explicit, abusive, harassing, threatening or offensive, racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable…”  – as you can probably imagine, a fair amount of art sits smack dab in the middle of these categories. In fact one of the introductiory ‘Magic Tour’ images it showed me was from the Kama Sutra ;)
Have you had a play with the service? What did you think?
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