Friday, July 25, 2008

Art - The Good, the Bad and the Marketing

Cygnets Day Out, Oil on Canvas 16"x20"

Competition in the art world to stand out from the crowd is intense. In fact, we are living in an age where it is estimated that more people are alive today than have ever died. With the increase in spare time and availability of artists materials at reasonable cost, there are more people trying their hand at producing art than ever before. Most people experience a lot of personal enjoyment from being creative. Art is a great way of expressing yourself and can be relaxing. But not everything that is created for sale is necessarily worthy of it's asking price.

I am talking here mostly about non-representational work. Where non-representational work is selling for a high price - the blob on a canvas type of work, many elements come into play: contacts, good business sense, clever marketing, luck and "schmooze factor". I guess there is a place for non-representational type of work if it's not overpriced, but I much prefer to see representational work, in any style, from ultra-realism to semi-abstract, executed well.

More often than not, average talent results in average results, getting you recognised in a small circle, among your family and friends. You may even sell the occasional painting. To move beyond this circle, you have to find a niche and stick with it until you reach an adequate level. It may be possible to succeed to an extent with questionable work, by becoming business savvy, using marketing skills and learning "Artspeak". However, if you are true to the task of becoming a respected artist, it's infinitely better to strive to improve to that level where your talent begins to speak for itself. Of course, you'll still need the marketing but it will be easier.

Detailed View

I agree with the opinion of Robert Bateman Canadian wildlife artist when he talks about striving to avoid the easy route of producing what he would call average work. It's much more rewarding to be as talented an artist as you can be. The work will better sell itself and if it doesn't, you have the satisfaction that you are being true to your artistic dream and striving to do your best at that moment in time. Good work will be appreciated for it's own merits and not because people think it must be worth a lot, because someone put a big sticker on it. Genuinely good original art will stand the test of time. So for that reason, I believe it is important to learn technique as much as possible and always try to improve, both technically and creatively.

For another take on this topic with reference to the fabulous work of an accomplished artist like Robert Bateman take a look at the following article by A Crazy Canadian. which I stumbled across.

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