WeLikeArtists.com began life as an idea back in 2008. It was a ‘slow burn’!
Founding editor, Andrew Pepper, had been giving lectures, seminars and workshops on professional practice to art students at university courses in the UK. He realised then that there was really no central location to get up-to-date advice which would help artists save money and promote themselves successfully.
The near collapse of the global banking system and subsequent recession meant that any way to maximise the cost associated with producing creative work would be a real help. This, combined with professional advice, to assist emerging and established artists (of all flavours) would be a really useful thing to set up.
As Andy pointed out, “As a fine artist my practice has given me the opportunity to exhibit, and work with, some brilliant people all over the world. Sometime you just have to put something back into the system and WeLikeArtists.com is an attempt to do just that.”
Much of the practical advice Andy delivered in his seminars was based on tips he used himself and, as he tended to talk to relatively small groups, it seems a useful idea to set up a site which would form a central location for practical advice and tips.
During 2008-9 the project was placed on various back-burners due to Andy’s visiting lecturing commitments but, by mid 2009 a name had been chosen, web address registered and some of the basic framework put together.
ALL IN THE NAME
During the summer of 2009 one of those casual conversations put the breaks on the project. During lunch with friends in LA Andy’s fledgling project was mentioned to one of the guests. “Oh, what’s it called then”, was the first question. Andy told them the original name which prompted the response, “Sorry, what”, Andy repeated the name, “How do you spell that?”. The fact that this brilliant, original name, was too difficult for people to ‘hear’ let along spell, meant that there was a very rapid ‘back to the drawing board’. This isn’t to say that unfamiliar names don’t work. Only the maths community had really heard of “google’ before the search giant used the term for its new site, and look what happened to that!
No need to mention what the original name for WeLikeArtists.com was here (one day - it will be revealed), but there clearly needed to be a rethink. The sub heading for the original name was “We Like Artists” and the more often it appeared on the development website the more it seemed like a much more precise reflection of what the new project should be about.
So back from LA and the old domain name was discarded and the new one registered. An international group of advisers were invited to be part of the project and response was spectacular with people ‘signing up’ by return of email. During the autumn of 2009 the new site was built, filled with content and in April 2010, it was initially tested by the advisers and then opened up to the world as a public beta test.
We think it works, we hope it helps artists and, judging by the feedback we have received, we seem to be doing something right.
With the global recession the business world changed. Traditional trading models no longer worked and many online companies realised that giving things away for free was not only altruistic but could actually make economic sense in the long run.
So, WeLikeArtists.com is free and has been put together (also for free) using generously donated web technology, free, open source software, free image editing software and a great deal of experience from its global group of advisers.