Archive for March, 2012

Concert Photography, Pt. I

I have been trying my hand at shooting pictures at shows as of late, using my trusty iPhone 4, and have come up with a couple of gems. Enjoy.

SEO for Today’s Websites

As web-builders, designers, hosts and marketers are aware, Search Engine Optimization is one tricky little bastard to figure out. Countless hours of keywords, campaigns, meta-tag-this, meta-tag-that, robots, algorithms and adding your site to the search engines can be taxing, both on your fingers and on your brain. The most frustrating thing is that your SEO job is never fully complete. There are sites, books and blogs dedicated strictly to SEO, and while all of them may be useful to you in some way or another, there are so many different approaches to SEO that none can truly be considered 100% correct.

A quote I saw on SEO Articles sums it up nicely: “Tools are only as effective as the expertise of the person using them.” In order to productively use SEO to your advantage, you must seek out the best ways to use SEO for your particular business or company, then pick and choose the right ways to get your information out on the web, through links, searches, blogs and more. Hours and hours of research are required to achieve this, and anyone who thinks throwing a couple of keywords onto their site will garner them a #1 ranking on Google is absolutely out of their mind.

This especially applies to businesses that may not know exactly how SEO works, or do not have someone within their staff who can show them the way. It takes months, and sometimes years, for your SEO work to pay off. If you sell jewelry online, you are not going to get top placement on a Google search by putting “Jewelry” as one of your keywords, as your company is potentially competing with thousands and thousands of jewelry shops around the globe.

“Search Engine Optimization (SEO): An Hour A Day” gives great insight to the ins-and-outs of the virtual search world, using How-To techniques, examples of what you DO NOT want to do, how the search engines actually gather information, and the amount of time and (more importantly) patience it takes to build a solid SEO campaign. Search Engine Optimization is like the web itself: constantly growing, evolving and creating anew. If you are ever truly convinced your the campaign for your site if finished, you have not followed the rules of SEO very closely.

In saying that, not all super-intense SEO applies to every website out there. You may have found a perfect niche for your business, or are selling such unique products that you have no other competition in your field. While that is all well and good, you still want to push yourself to attract more customers, and get your name and innovative thinking out there, right? That’s where all the different levels and varying degrees of SEO are so specific for your particular type of business model. Some things that work great for one company may have the exact opposite effect on another’s SEO strategy. In the end, it all comes down to what you need for what you do.

If the need for SEO for your business concerns you, High Ranking’s SEO articles are a great resource for getting you moving in the right direction, or try for some great insights, as well how to promote yourself and analyze your competition. The books and links mentioned here may get you started on your way to a successful SEO campaign and strategy, but in the long run, it is up to you how much effort you want to apply to SEO, and how much you can make it work for you.


Take-Out or Dine-In?

I first time I saw a Jim Dine drawing was at the Milwaukee Art Museum in the early 1990’s, and I was floored by the his technique and seemingly natural skill. There were only a few of his pieces on display, but they really had a profound effect on the way I thought about art, and the way that I approached it from then on. In the years since then, I have grown to appreciate and admire all of his works, as he has produced so many fantastic pieces of art, using a multitude of different ideas and media to showcase his thoughts and talents.

While you may know him as “the guy that draws the hearts”, Jim Dine (b.1935) was actually a prominent figure in the “Pop Art” movement in the 1960’s, along with Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, and the Neo-Dada movement as well.

Over the years, he has changed his style and his tools numerous times, gathering inspiration and new techniques along the way. He has created the now-famous series of heart paintings, as well as self-portraitures, sculptures, paintings and drawings formed from a life-long obsession with tools. Other famous works include his many takes on the Venus De Milo, using clay, charcoal, bronze, and other media, along with his fascination with the character of Pinocchio, as he explains:

“Thanks to Carlo Collodi, the real creator of Pinocchio, I have for many years been able to live thru the wooden boy. His ability to hold the metaphor in limitless ways has made my drawings, paintings and sculpture of him richer by far. His poor burned feet, his misguided judgment, his vanity about his large nose, his temporary donkey ears all add up to the real sum of his parts. In the end it is his great heart that holds me. I have carried him on my back like landscape since I was six years old. Sixty-four years is a long time to get to know someone, yet his depth and secrets are endless.” (from his book Pinocchio)

He uses different ideas and media to create abstraction in his work, yet when viewed as a whole in a collection, it creates an illusion of uniformity and an almost structured chaos. The melding of colors can be expressive and subtle at the same time, whether in a painting or sculpture, while the black-and-white drawings can seem so simple and still jump right off the page. The line work in the drawings he has produced is fantastic, not overtly focused but precisely where they should be, and fitting perfectly within each piece. Truly an inspiration to many artists, after 50 years and over 3500 pieces, Jim Dine continues to enthrall and innovate the art world.

“I’ve never had an easy relationship with critics. I hold a lot of homicide in my heart. If this was another time, I’d be packing a piece.” -Jim Dine

(images courtesy of j.treadwell, printeresting, and farticulate)

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