Studio West- a “bespoke online artist studio”


The Stanford/NovoEd course Practice Based Research in the Arts entered week five and launched a new function —Studio West described in the syllabus as our bespoke online artist studio space.”  I’ve spent the weekend moving into my online studio space and I am trying to understand this new platform/format/function/site. What exactly is Studio West?  I found a few limitations but hope you can help me see as potentials.  The issue at hand is what is compelling work in Studio West and how can it benefit my research/practice and is it simply a strong image that will drive traffic to the “studio?” `

IMAGE STREAM LIMITATION So far studio west seems to work mostly as an image stream–which is strange for a “performance” class.  This image stream seems to encourage the artist scholar to use images that communicate well in the feed stream if we are to direct “traffic” to our studio projects so people can discover more about the projects. Note: you can add video—but the basic format designed around an image stream—like pinterest or instagram.

CONTEXT LIMITATIONS The format for me is a blur of images with little context unless you click through to someone’s studio.  But even when you click through there is little to organize the images for context beyond a “folder” called a project (also called a collection by the platform) that can be named to create a theme for the images in this project.

Is there a way to stack or organize the items (which are also called “cards” in the platform)? So far, it is arranged in Chronological Order the oldest at the top and the newest at the bottom not the standard Reverse Chronological Order for most Blog Platforms.  This results in having to scroll all the way to the bottom to see anything fresh.

I have used Evernote in the past to gather digital information on projects (but have not used it not very well). I have thought about Evernote as I explore Studio West. I have found that with Evernote, there are limitations to context as well—but it functions well as a digital sketchbook. It uses “notebooks” or folders (similar to the projects) and “notes” (similar to the item).

TAG & LINK LIMITATIONS This is as much to do with creating a standard as actual limitations. I’m unfamiliar if there are standards for adding tags but I know if you constantly create brand new tags then they don’t exactly work right to link content together.  I would love to see a tag glossary so we had some parameters for what to link together through tags.

DIALOGUE & COMMUNITY LIMITATIONS I miss the Team or Discussion Group function from the Novoed course platform. The Team created a community to dialogue about what was going on –certainly the forums do this as well but you were able to (for a bit) organize by interest and desire to interact.  I wouldn’t mind if this site linked back to Novoed—which it currently does not do. It seems to be a stand-alone project by the professors, which I assume grew out of some perceived limitation with the NovoEd platform when working with the arts. Here is Ryan Tacata’s reply to questions regarding privacy on Studio West

“Studiowest is not affiliated nor protected by Stanford University. To what I understand, artists will retain the rights to the work they post. Also, you are responsible for managing what work you post and make public as we cannot be held responsible for use by other parties. We still need to post a concise privacy policy, and if you have concerns, I’d suggest posting what you feel comfortable posting at this time. Studiowest will be up for two years and you can delete your account at anytime.”

I’ve held discussions in the past about online critiques of art and it typically comes down to the fact that 2D work and digital work are the most effective in this online format–without it becoming more about your documentation than the work itself. I know that Behance is used sometimes to compensate for this limitation in online course platforms though still with the limitation on 3D and Live work.  Why reinvent the wheel?  I wonder what is the intention of Studio West.