Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thoughts on the plight of the modern artist by Vic Mastis

Recipe: How to Make Artists Extinct
  1. Take competent artists and have them enter an art fair.
  2. Ask artists to donate their paintings.
  3. Ask artists to hang their artwork in restaurants and businesses without compensation.
  4. Make artists pay to have their artwork judged, hang art in a booth, and pay an entry fee.
  5. Promote anything but the art at the fair.

It's enough to make any artist lose interest. Artists work long and hard, but are expected to give their art away and pay extravagant fees to show their artwork and have it “judged”. Even art fairs ignore the basic needs of the artist.

Here's an example of a recent art fair I entered. Promoters paid musicians $6,000 to play during this one day event. Meanwhile, the artists only had a $25 first prize to fight over. Not to mention, artists had to pay for their own booth. When very few people showed up to the event, it was the artists who were short changed. The bands got paid no matter what. Talk about being on the bottom of the food chain!

One senator came into a St. Louis gallery and selected two paintings to “borrow” for her personal Washington D.C. office for a year. Yes, it looks great on an artist’s resume. But consider this: Senators get stipends to decorate their offices. Why is art work less of a value than the rug on the floor?

Restaurants and businesses are some of the worst. They talk about how they are letting artists display art on their walls. What is it really? Free decorating. Why won't these businesses buy or just rent artwork? Why must they decorate at artists expense?

Yet artists-- including myself-- continue to fall into this trap. The few times I've hung my art in restaurants, it's come back greasy. Not to mention, ignored by the patrons. Artists simply lose the ability to show that artwork or sell it during the duration.

We all like to help causes. We want to help non-profits, but there is a problem with donating a painting to some organizations for an auction. Auctions usually bring in only pennies on the dollar for what artists have worked on for months. One of the medium sized pieces I donated would have sold for $450 dollars. It sold for only $30. I would have rather donated cash.

Do people understand what original art is? Do they know how many years we've practiced? How many classes we've completed? The workshops we've took? The time we spend alone in our studios, pouring ourselves into our passion? Why aren't we respected as our own business?

For the rest of the post go to http://www.fineartbyvic.com/articles.html

1 comment:

Serena Potter said...

I agree whole heartedly. I have donated paintings to charitable causes, only to learn later that the event was canceled and my painting never returned. I do have work on display at the Arrowhead Library. I don't expect anyone to purchase the work there, but my space is so limited, that it provides good clean storage!