Born in Vermillion, South Dakota, Shawn Colvin is an A-list artist. Discovering the guitar at the age of 10, she performed for the first time on stage five years later on the campus of the University of Illinois. Her influences are deeply rooted in country music. The musical identity of the young performer gradually formed when she was touring in Texas where she played in a Western swing band. Eventually, she moved to New York where she met someone who would prove to be very important for her future career, producer John Leventhal.
The North Coast Repertory Theatre was undeniably the place to be last night, for the « Four Songs, Four Musicians Evening », produced by Bionic Sisters Productions in collaboration with NCRT. The evening was held in support of the Arts for Healing Program at Sharp McDonald Center, which treats addiction and alcoholism, a family disease. This special program was described by Liz MacKenzie who welcomed questions at a display about the Center and program after the show. Each performance was introduced by co-emcees BSP President Bridget Brigitte and Theatre Producer Tracy McDowell.
Far from contenting themselves with playing for a very enthusiastic public, the four performing artists played their pieces energetically and swamped the cozy space of the Solana Beach theater with sensitivity and emotion.
Beginning with a precise soundcheck, the tone was set: Studio West’s team from the TRAC Recording Arts Center was on site under the direction of Mark Kirchner for the occasion and offered sound mixing worthy of the biggest concerts. The special intimate acoustics of the room brought out the best sounds of the instruments including a baby grand piano, various guitars, and an ancient Chinese Gu Zheng; the atmosphere captivated the audience. Professionalism prevailed, and the rehearsals for each musician occurred without a hitch.
It was 7:30 pm when the theater opened its doors, and the public was on time. The evening began with Mira Parfitt, an acoustic songstress who mixes folk and pop. She brought us into her acoustic universe with a lively beat and very personal lyrics. The natural shyness of the young artist strengthened the charm of her songs, and last night she easily won over the public’s heart.
Having or owning a personal website is like having a home base and gives someone the ability to promote their work and art. An artist is able to promote their artistic talents by using the internet to reach many people. Facebook is a social networking site that connects many people and since the boom of social networking sites, artists have been showcasing their art on these types of third party sites for just that purpose. Doing only this, however, can drastically limit a person’s full potential to promote themselves, since Facebook is in control of the layout of the webpage and is constantly changing its appearance. The ability of an artist, musician, or creator to incorporate a personalized feel into their product, which creates a sense of artistic uniqueness, is limited when using sites like Facebook. Even though Facebook is good for networking and getting your art seen by a large number of people, it should only be used for what it is intended, because using it to showcase an artist’s work will ultimately control the artist, because the webpage will be limited to the Facebook interface.
Being a web designer is like being an artist in a digital universe. The web pages you create are your art and since millions of people go on the internet, your art reaches more people than ever. People are constantly being exposed to creative ideas and the art of web design via the World Wide Web. The artistic layout displayed in the design of a website is going to play a large role in how often a site is used. There is a difference between designing a poster and a designing a website. All design has certain rules such as Gestalt (hierarchy of text), size contrast and activating edges. These rules however are not set in stone and may be broken. Web design is flexible and can use these artistic rules as well, but most, if not all, websites have one factor that sets them apart from standard design: interactivity.
Interactivity involves the actions or input of a user. This must be taken into consideration when artistically designing a web page layout. A user has to click on whichever link is of interest to the user and whichever page comes up next is a direct result of the user’s orders. So a designer needs to create a page that is attractive enough to the user to create a desire to interface with it. A website with interaction is like a store using attractive offers and displays. The store next to it, which is selling the same items but doesn’t have these artistic displays, may receive less business.
Websites have changed drastically from the early 1990’s until now. Websites used to be less visually appealing. They used to have plain centered pictures and text. Most websites had a mundane feel to them mainly due to the technology used at the time for development. Today, we have many different programs that we use to create a web-page with a sophisticated feel. This sophistication can eventually lead to showcase a company or business and often companies consider their websites as online business cards. While attempting to create better websites that are appealing to people, as a web designer myself, I have noticed how certain websites are being showcased for certain types of companies or groups. Sometimes there is a pristine clear, white, simple page for a corporate business, or a colorful animated picture heavy page for non-profits or kids. When someone is browsing through a magazine and they see a page that stands out, that person will usually view that page for about 1-3 seconds before they turn to the next one. With a web-page, according to Canadian Researchers, it can take only 50 milliseconds (1/20th of a second) to judge a webpage. Within the blink of an eye, someone browsing the web can judge a site’s “visual appeal.” There are a few more dynamics that come into play, such as asking oneself: Is it text heavy? Is the content relevant to what I am searching for? Most people do not want to spend a long time searching though a page to find what they are looking for. A successful website should be user friendly and get the information to the user as quickly as possible. Many people look for sleek menu bars and simple, yet interesting content space. When designing a website, these are the concepts I use to create my layouts.
When I was younger, I started a video-game clan with a bunch of my friends and thought that it would be fun to create a website for our group. I wanted to have a website of my own that I owned and maintained for my clan, because I was curious how web designing worked. I taught myself how to create something on the web and found it to be an amazing and relatively simple way to creatively connect with others and bring people from all over the world together who have similar interests and views. It connected me virtually with people that I had never met before and we were able to share new experiences and ideas, despite living in areas far from one another. To get these new online acquaintances to choose my site over others, I had to make the best and informed choices in artistic layout. When it comes to building an effective website, design is everything.