Friday, September 6, 2019

Art vs. Mass Production

Wonderful People,

I do my best to refrain from comments that I am going to make here, but sometimes these things just need to be said.  Here we go.

How many of you would like to own a seriously beautiful piece of original art?  How many hours might it have taken the artist to create it? Fifty?  Sixty?  This is not uncommon.

All right, let's see... what is a living wage?  $10.00/hour? Not really, but let's use it.  Ten dollars times sixty = $600.00.  Would you be willing to pay $600.00 for a beautiful piece of art?  My guess is that many of you would not.

Now it gets personal. And honestly, I think this is the first time I've ever spoken about this among non-artists.  Artists understand.  Believe me.

When people look at my art, they enjoy it, take photos of it and use it that way, which is not legal, and is actually stealing from me.  They also frequently comment to me that they wish it wasn't so expensive.

I'm really proud of my work, and careful to use only the best materials. I want it to last, not to fade as so many do, and be preserved archivally into the next generations. Just curious, have any of you looked at the price of art materials lately?  I drop twenty bucks on a tube of paint without the blink of an eye.  Lots of the art you DO buy was made by a machine with cheap paint that will fade to tan in about ten years.

So, what you are asking, in essence, is for me to invest thirty or forty hours on a piece, invest a great deal in materials, and sell it to you for a low, low price.  That makes my living wage about $1.28 per hour.

I am a professional artist.  I'm very proud of my work.  But it can be discouraging when the work doesn't sell.  People love to support me by telling me how much they love my work, but that does not compensate for the hours I spend alone creating art when I need to be, say, taking care of my family and home or enjoying free time.

If you want to support an artist, support an artist by buying his or her work!  Now THAT'S what I call encouragement!  Please don't say, 'Oh, I love this - you should do a whole series on that!'   The deal is, if I've created one piece that you really like, it means I really like it too, and would LOVE to do an entire series on it.  But what goes unsaid is that I can't continue to create without the financial support of others.

Something else that goes unsaid is that when you see a painting of mine that you like, there has been untold cerebral work, sketching, and research before I put brush to canvas, not to mention a lifetime of study, work and practice. And it may possibly mean that there are a number of paintings behind that one that failed as I struggled to bring it forth.

There have been so many times I have been discouraged and wanted to quit. Trust me, being an artist is often a difficult thing. Did you know that a successful artist's goal is supposed to be 'Paint for three months of the year, sell for nine months of the year.'  I can't even IMAGINE what it would be like to have people buy my paintings at a pace where I could spend more time painting.  Wow.

So please, don't balk when you see an artist's high price.  See the work of art for what it is.  Art.  Something beautiful that was lovingly and thoughtfully created and is perfectly unique.  Buy it.  And appreciate it for what it is, for the rest of your life and the lives of your children and grandchildren to come.

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