Website Review: Art of JA Tan. A story of Art and Autism

I am glad to be reviewing this website. For one, we made it so we're proud of it as a unique website. The review I'll give you about it will mix a few of the features and also some commentary on the content. The content is undeniably the main focus here and the story of how this content came to be is very heartwarming.

Really, I think this story is good and it is a story of hope and perseverance and all that comes with pursuing what you want to do. You see the artist behind the art at Art of J.A. Tan, J.A. Tan is the name of the artist is very interesting because J.A. Tan suffers from autism. I first met him at an event to raise awareness for Autism and I was impressed with his art. Totally unique and interesting.

The website is of course, WordPress based and it uses mostly off the shelves parts with customization in design and functionality. The website allows the artist or any member of J.A. Tan's team to make updates to the content. One thing to mention is that when we build a website (and you'll know that this review is a bit biased of course...) we bring the best ideas forward and come up with a vision that hopefully captures the imagination and interest of the client.

corrections screenshots WordPress
The first few changes I would make.

Such was the case when we built Art of J.A. Tan. We wanted to display the images in a nice browsable manner so we went with a photo driven theme. Specifically geared towards photographers or artists. This allows us to give the visitors a couple of customized views of the images.

The front page is clean cut, mostly dark and this makes the images of the art stand out. Ultimately the colors are nice, although sometimes I think that we may be way past the really dark background. The rest of the site is easy to navigate with the top menu and you can find the most important sections of the website. The Portfolio, information about the artist, Information about Awards J.A. Tan has received and of course a Blog as well.

The Blog itself is active and has become more active in recent months and definitely has some interesting posts and the posts use a great variety of media. Art of J.A. Tan's blog offers interesting and useful information about events, interesting videos, announcements for speaking engagements and other information about the art and J.A. Tan in general. I also think that the blog should be updated more often. perhaps 2 to three times per week.

Here is where the real part of the review comes in. I would spruce up the Blog section a little bit, giving people some other items to interact with on the sidebar. I would also invite other artists to write and contribute to the blog. I think the combination of art and autism is a great way to celebrate life and also bring awareness to autism. Another way to expand the blog and reach more people would be to institute a mailing list on the side bar and implement a plan to establish a personal relationship with those that subscribe.

Improvement suggestions screenshot
Shows how we would have this page. Testimonials Bio, then message.

For art or for medical reasons, the people that subscribe to a mailing list like this are very targeted. They're interested in very specific art in this case, or they're interested in knowing more about autism. Both of those groups can really bring some nice traffic and opportunities to build community, sell art, bring people together and gaining more notoriety. Ultimately all of these could be individual goals for this website and J.A. Tan's team can certainly tackle them one at a time while improving the overall quantity of content.

Another thing we see with this website. And this was presented as an option (again... insider's information, hehe.), that is to have the art that is official be sold in the eCommerce section. Well, you wonder, what eCommerce section? Did you see one while browsing through J.A. Tan's website? I don't think you did. That's because there isn't one. If you ask me. 9 out of 10 times I will suggest you have a shopping cart selling your own products. It doesn't make sense not to. However, people have their reasons not to sell online and I respect them.

I like to do complete reviews and so that's why I brought attention to this. Perhaps if you comment on this post we can show Marcie, J.A. Tan and their team that it would be a good idea to setup a webstore in their site. I'm starting to work with a lot of artists, and I think for the first time in history, Any artist can make money of their art.

[pq]We can erradicate the term "starving artist."[/pq]

It is inexpensive to list your art on a website. There are many services that will take care of the whole thing for you and all you have to do is upload the images. They take care of prints, framing, shipping & handling, you can even make merchandise.

Autistic Artist J.A. Tan's Gallery online
Clean layout showcasing the art on the homepage.

Many artists (and I'm not saying this is the reason in this case) believe that by selling their art online, they become less desirable. As if they were sell outs or somehow had cheapened their brand. Fact of the matter is that despite this tremendous growth in social media activity, we still lack content. We want new stuff, fresh art. I would always say that you should let the market decide if the market is interested, but never dismiss such an opportunity because you feel it will damage your brand or lessen the value of your art. Any artist can make a decent living if their work is good, which it is in this case. Remember folks, we have over 2 BILLION people online and that number is growing. Chances are somewhere there is somebody that is looking exactly for what you are making. Sell it to them!

I once asked John Chow, so if I had to do one thing to become rich in the internet. What would you tell people to do? Without hesitation and almost as a reflex, his answer: "build and sell your own product"

That applies now as much as it did 10, 50, 200 years ago. If you sell the product that everybody needs to solve one problem then you'll be rich. Plain, simple. So to monetize, this website has everything it needs except the shopping cart. (Shhh, it's already in there for them, they just have to turn it on).

Other ideas that could apply to this website or your own if you're in a similar spot is to develop special sections in the website to help you build community. Build a resource guide for other people with the same interests, in this case, a guide that focuses on topics someone with Autism faces everyday. Explain this from the artist's point of view. Build a directory of vendors, manufacturers, institutions, and other resource centers that specialize in the topic.

All in all, the website is good, of course, I'm going to say that. We built it, but we really enjoyed working on this. You should go to it and enjoy the art. Maybe even send J.A. a message and say hello. Encourage him to sell his art. Or not, but encourage him to go on and to keep at it. I think he should continue in this path he is in, and soon you may just see his art at a Sotheby's auction. I know many people that buy unique and special art to decorate their homes and offices and even their own galleries. which reminds me, I just watched "Exit through the Gift Shop" great documentary about street artists.

All in all, even though we built the site, I think it is a pretty cool site. Showcases the art work and lets you learn more about J.A. Tan, you can see the different art he has created, and you can easily contact him if you wish.

[box type="info"]This is the first review I do in Notagrouch.com -- All views expressed in here are completely my own and I don't intend this to be any kind of legal, business or financial advice. If you'd like to have your website reviewed, please contact me.[/box]