Art for What it’s Worth.


5×7 acrylic painting of Old Hall’s Harbour NS  can be purchased HERE

“Notions, Goods, Accessories!” yelled one of the cartoon characters in the ship’s crows nest as he plummeted past the stunned, angry pirate below.

The  goofy cartoon character I’m referring to is one of two known as Heckle and Jeckel.  Perhaps not so known today but really popular years ago.

So what if they had said, “Notions,Goods, Accessories plus Fine Art?”

Does Art and especially fine art fall into that category?

Why does art have this *funny* association with money?

 This is something I’ve given a great deal of thought to but the answer seems to be still very open ended.

Then there is the question of worth. For a lot of people a painting that costs 400 -1000 dollars is hardly affordable.  So most people aren’t going to buy your originals. That leaves only  certain people or collectors that will purchase originals.

Just a footnote as a friend of mine has pointed out.  The real worth of art is not it’s market price. (save that for the next post)

Art, in my opinion  primarily falls into two categories:

1. ‘Art made for art’s sake.’

2. Art produced for the market.

I think ‘Art for Art’s Sake’ is quite self explanatory.  One creates art for their own soul to be shared -or not- with others; possibly even sold.

Art produced for the market is art that was intentionally created for the purpose of selling.  Once you step into this arena , in my opinion, you must have as much desire to make money as to make art!  Then again can we call art made for the market really the same kind of art? It all reminds me of the typical sci-fi stories of AI’s or advanced androids having human characteristics but wondering if they have souls.

Many disagree and say one should create their passion and then focus on selling afterward. On the other hand just creating one’s passion may or may not guarantee a sale.

The question is: Is there a middle ground?  Does there have to be an either /or?

How do you feel about making art for the market?

Since art is sold I’d like to explore these questions further.

“I say ole’ chap”, if you’re an artist then what do you think?



2 comments on “Art for What it’s Worth.

  1. Good points, Kevin. At first I thought you’d written,’Notions, goods and fine art’, which would mean fine art being equal to ‘accessories’. I think some people really do see art as an ‘accessory’- not really necessary to life, but a nice adornment.

    I think what I miss in art made exclusively for the market IS a soul, that’s a nice point you made there about the Sci fi.

    No, creating for the intrinsic worth or passion of creating does not guarantee sales. Are we as artists entitled to sales? I think worth has to be earned. To be meaningfully engaged, an artist needs to add something of worth to life, then( I’m really missing italics here) he or she can be rewarded for it.

    I am afraid the middle ground is a hard place to hold. I tried marketing only half heartedly, and like anything, to do it well, you have to be fully committed. As you said, making money has to be as important as making art. Granted some good art gets made this way. But in my experience, most of the stuff made to sell is pretty mediocre.

    In an interview, Keri Smith (super successful self made artists but not necessarily rich) said that she sees art and commerce as opposing forces. Her only way to work with it is to keep the art of creating separate from selling. So she creates according to the inner values of her art making, and if it sells, good, if not, good.

    • Thanks Sarah. I always respect your insightful opinion (s). This is definitely a discussion that needs to take place ( and is ) as the world economy shifts and droves of people are being told that all *art* is a means to financial survival or even affluence.
      I think you mean this Keri Smith so I’ll add a link address :
      I know that some of the best art ( not perfectly executed art) I’ve made had no connection to the market. Even *imperfect* as it was it communicated my emotions and other undefinable things of the heart.
      I’ve got more posts on Business and *Art* but will veer off topic for other art subjects.
      Thanks again Sarah !

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