Immediately upon seeing the subject line and that little paperclip icon in the upper right hand corner, you know you’re in for something … special.

Why did I pause before saying … special?  More on that in a moment.

With great anticipation, you click on the email, it opens and releases some of the most gorgeous images that begin floating and wafting around you, carrying you away to some heavenly place suitable for an Apple commercial.

I did that just moments ago with a gorgeous email I got from Montreal Artist Mathieu Laca.  Mathieu is a brilliant and daring dude who “goes there.”  His latest show is called, “Polyphony” at the Palais Montcalm in Quebec City.

Mathieu likes to create these poignant, classic, colorful and painterly images and portraits that show the subjects’ heads or bodies apparently exploding.  His work is very dynamic.  I’m looking it at in his gorgeous email right now.

Should I also say that Mathieu is a great marketer?  He really understands that in order to get people to go to his shows, he has to let them know that he’s actually HAVING A SHOW.  Email remains perhaps the best and most personal way to rally the troops.  I wish MORE artists had his drive.

Yet here’s the thing …

No one loves gorgeous email more than I do – especially when it comes from “my artists.”  But how “gorgeous” or “special” should an email be?  Oh, and let’s not get lost in the “How do you define ‘gorgeous’?” argument.  Everyone knows gorgeous when they see it, so let’s move on to the real point.

Should an email be so gorgeous that it makes you click on the image in an attempt to make it your personal computer screen wallpaper?  Should it entice you to actually go to the show … or does it make you think that the image pretty much tells the whole story of the exhibition, so there’s really no need to attend?

Let me add here that I’m fully aware that is far from being a Third World problem … so we can all relax and not take this too seriously.  However, these days, I’m absolutely – and happily – swamped with gorgeous email.  Not all of it comes from artists.  Much of it comes from people who’ve simply become email-marketing saavy.  Great.

Yet, here’s the real issue … How much email can you look at in one day?  Who has time?  In my work email file alone, I’ve got more than 12,000 email that need to be ditched.  This doesn’t count my ArtBookGuy email which is way more than that.  It would take a few days just to sort through it all.

Ultimately, plain and simple email – which is what I usually send as part of my ArtBookGuy brand identity – and gorgeous email both end up in the cyber trash bin.  I mean, as gorgeous as it is, how long are we supposed to hold onto it?  Also, how much time should we – not to mention artists – spend crafting gorgeous email that ends up in the trash pile with the rest of the email?

Email marketing companies are going to hate me for saying this, but let’s face it.  Email is the new paperwork.  It’s time consuming and never-ending.  While I LOVE email and email marketing, I do realize that the paperwork nature of it can be a pain in the ass … especially given the fact that at least half of all email is spam.  Some people even consider my email spam.  I don’t, but they do.  How can THAT be?  LOL.

Still, email remains the best and most personal way – apart from social media - of communicating with a large number of people at basically the same time.  Its primary purpose is to communicate, but why not zhuzz it up with some gorgeous images to illustrate your point?  If artists don’t do this, who will?

Still, I wouldn’t spend too much creative time and energy making email TOO gorgeous … unless some enterprising artist comes up with a way to make a cool installation out of it.

Short of that, we all know where it’s going to end up … in the trash bin ... with everything else.



The Inconvenience of Human Relations