Art in The Valley of Mismatch


    This post is by Clint Watson, former art gallery owner and founder of BoldBrush, known for FASO Artist Websites, the leading provider of professional artist websites, the $38,000+ BoldBrush Painting Competition and the free daily art marketing newsletter, FineArtViews. As a self-proclaimed "art fanatic", Clint delights that BoldBrush's San Antonio, Texas office is full of original art, as is his home office. You can connect with Clint on TwitterFacebook or his personal blog at


    As we all adjust to the new normal after having been sequestered in our homes, we're all finding alternate ways to make the most of our time.  So let's ask ourselves:  How can we use this time to get better? How can we be of service and use?   I know, without a doubt that great art is being created around the world at this very moment.  Perhaps by you!  Our entire team is focused 100% on whatever we can do to help you market and sell more art.  With that in mind, we're focusing FineArtViews on sales and marketing ideas more than ever before.  The following article was selected from our archives as it seems quite timely in the current situation and provides ideas we think you can use to improve your own art marketing.


    The first automobiles were called "horseless carriages."  And indeed, many early automobiles were even designed to look like carriages.


    Whenever a new technology is introduced, people don't really know how to use it properly, so they try to use it like a similar, older technology.  This is a natural tendency, but these early attempts usually utilize the new technology in a clunky, sub-optimal way.

     This phenomenon has been dubbed the "Valley of Mismatch" by Florent Crivello, though I learned about it through Gary Basin.


    Here are some other "Valley of Mismatch" examples:


     The first television ads where just radio ads played on TV with a static image.

     The first email newsletters were just print newsletters by email.

     The first social media video ads were just TV spots shown on social media.

    With each new technology, someone eventually changes the game by learning to use the new technology in a different, better way.  That better way is to use the new technology natively

    The best email newsletters, for example, aren't just copies of print newsletters.  The best email newsletters use email technology natively.  They play to email's strengths and minimize its weaknesses.  



    As art sales move online, we're seeing a misguided attempt to replicate the physical properties of art galleries:   From virtual galleries that allow one to "walk around and look at art" to online "viewing rooms" - people are trying to use online technologies to recreate the strengths of a physical art viewing space.


    But online isn't the same as offline.  The experiences described above are strengths when viewing art in the real world.  But online, those experiences are time consuming and unnecessary.  And that makes them weaknesses.


    When I'm visiting a gallery in real life, I want to walk around and browse. When I'm looking at art online, I don't. At least not in the same way.

    Attempts to make my online experience "match" my offline experience may seem like a good idea.  But, in reality, they are just clever uses of technology that simply gets in the way.  These attempts to recreated 3D "rooms" to view art online fall squarely into the "Valley of Mismatch."


     Arranging art on walls in rooms is the best way to organize art in the real world.  But it's a poor way to organize art on a website.  

    When I'm viewing art online, I just want to get to the artworks I wish to view as quickly as possible. And we have better ways to do that than trying to create "virtual rooms".


    Until next time, please remember that Fortune Favors the Bold Brush.





    Clint Watson

    BoldBrush/FASO Founder & Art Fanatic


    PS - Building an art marketing platform that avoids the Valley of Mismatch and uses online technology natively is a big part of what we do at FASO and BoldBrush.  If that interests you, we invite you to join us.


    Related Posts:

    What Collectors Want

    Artist Website Do's and Don'ts - My Interview with American Artist Magazine

    Why Artists Need an Artist Website