Web Design as Visionary Art

Thursday morning, I set out through the foggiest day I recall seeing in this area, down Interstate 95 through Delaware and into Maryland to meet with Earlpearl, who occasionally comments here, and posts frequently at SEO Refugee, often on topics that deal with local search.

We had decided to meet in Baltimore, at the American Visionary Art Museum. I had heard of the Museum from friends, but had never been there before. It appears to have been an inspired and fortunate choice.

American Visionary Art Museum American Museum of Visionary Arts American Visionary Art Museum Mural Outside the American Visionary Art Museum

I couldn’t take pictures inside the museum buildings themselves, but the exhibitions were pretty wild, with works from from artists like Ted Gordon, Vollis Simpson, and many others.

Perhaps my favorite part of the Museum was the Jim Rouse Center for Visionary Thought, where I learned about the Baltimore folk art of screen painting, and a little about Jim Rouse, whose work on developing the Harbor Place in Baltimore is probably responsible for a good portion of the vision behind the renovation and development that could be seen across the water from where the Museum is located.

Baltimore Waterfront Policecraft On the Baltimore Inner Harbor Reflections on the Harbor Relections of a Pier on the Baltimore harbor

Earlpearl and I had a great discussion about local search, the development of cities, Jim Rouse, and the visionary art from the Museum. The mission statement of the American Visionary Art Museum is:

Visionary art as defined for the purposes of the American Visionary Art Museum refers to art produced by self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself.

In many ways, that reminded me so much of my early forays on the web, attempting to build and create some personal and commercial sites. I still have no formal training in the arts, and I don’t consider myself a designer, but I’m not afraid to spend a few hours with image creation software trying to make something that will convey information and emotions in a meaningful manner.

The web has given many people that opportunity, which is one of the things that I like most about working online, with people who want to create and share their visions with others.

5 thoughts on “Web Design as Visionary Art”

  1. Bill:

    It was good to meet you and it was fun. Your suggestion of the museum was excellent and I also enjoyed the pieces in the Rouse building. They were neat, funky, and very creative. Glad to see that your pictures turned out well for the web.

    Besides those conversations I got a great appreciation of the depth of value in the various patents and your take on some recent SE issues based on your understanding of patents. I’d repeat these are valuable readings, both from my perspective–to see what the engines are actually implementing, but more deeply, from your perspective to see what the SE’s are thinking and see what directions they are moving in.

    Now I gotta read through a number of extra patents to follow through on what you were describing.

    BTW…glad to see that your pictures came out great. When we first looked across the harbour the fog was too thick to see across…and its only got to be 2-3 football fields wide. But the fog lifted and its good to see that your pics showed well with the building reflections in the water.


  2. It was fun meeting you Dave, and a pleasure to get a chance to talk about some of the stuff going on with local search with someone who pays a great deal of attention to what is happening in that area.

    The camera I brought is better suited for snapshots than landscapes, so I was really happy with the way that many of those images turned out, too.

  3. The web has given me the opportunity to be a designer without any formal training. I’ve taken watercolor and pottery classes after work, but I never envisioned myself sitting in front of a canvas to paint for a living. However, web design is an awesome expression of creativity and functionality, with lots of depth, variation, and meaning. With minimal, yet crucial, direction from a client, I can create very different “canvases.” With web design, there is so much more than what initially meets the eye, because web design must take into account usability, content, navigation architecture, and SEO friendly code. I think web design is a great visionary art form because it is so multi-faceted.

  4. There are so many elements that we don’t necessarily see on the surface, Risa. Great points.

    Creating on the web also provides an accessibility to your works that many other medium don’t, which means that more people can, and are likely to see it than if it were on display in a museum somewhere.

  5. Web creation (not just web designing) is liberating and breathtaking. Not only do I have no limits to the media, canvases and accessibility, it bears more freedom than any other form of art. It was indeed a nice treat reading your post, Bill.

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