Kirby Stephens Design

Just Show the Art

Just show the art. That's what it finally boiled down to when trying to define a structure for artist Dan Dutton's new website. Although a lot of techy stuff is going on behind the screen, the result is a simple, easy to access, visual display of the art of Dan Dutton.

Dan has worked with KSD on a variety of projects over the last 25 years (both as contributor and client), but only recently have we undertaken the task of creating a web presence to showcase his remarkable talent, and expansive scope of work. That scope is far too wide to present in it's entirety, so the site is built to display as much, or as little, as Dan wants to show, at any given time.

Visitors browse the collection by viewing small thumbnail images, each linking to higher resolution images and information about individual works. Filters allow narrowing the collection by categories, such as "Paintings" and "Performance," as well as key words such as "man," "death," and "yellow." A timeline section provides a year by year look at how Dan's art has evolved and developed over his career.

The website is a responsive design, meaning it will reflow content to optimum layouts depending upon the size of the computer screen or mobile device. Built on a content management system, Dan can update his website with any standard web browser, without special software.

The site also features a blog for sharing a look at works in progress and behind the scenes activities at "Dandyland Studios." 

Although Dan has had a home-built website for many years, his recent employment by Rookwood Pottery, the world-renowned Cincinnati ceramics company as artist-in-residence prompted him to focus and consolidate his website into a more effective tool to tell his story.

Rookwood has brought Dan into a different area of commercial art, and a new audience is starting to discover his fine art though his work there. "Much of my work is narrative, a convergence of music, narrative and visual design. I’ve worked with ceramics, in one form or another, throughout my life — working with Rookwood is the deepest exploration into clay forms, process and collaboration so far, and a very pleasurable experience."

Some of Dan's Rookwood pieces are featured on the website. The site launched is a little around 60 works of art featured, but Dan plans to expand the collection as time allows. 

Accurate photography of the art is an important step in building a site like Dan's. A second challenge is getting access to works that are in private collections. Earlier this year, Dan put out a call on social media for information on the whereabouts of some of his earliest work. The response was better than expected, but the quality of digital images for many of the pieces were not sufficient for the website. 

A large number of works were photographed by KSD, many repurposed from earlier projects, like the Ballads of the Barefoot Mind catalog produced for 21C Museum in 2006.

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