It is 2012 and the art world of the past is a conceptual failure.
Thankfully there are more artists that are innovative thinkers in this era than ever before (don’t believe me…just look at the overwhelming amount of good artists out there these days and there is the proof).
As artist evolves and adapts to the changing times. We see the formal art world stuck in a perpetual loop from the 1960’s. Academic historians turned modern curators are slowly being kicked out of the game of art sales as their methods of selecting artists and selling said artists’ work continues like a broken audio cassette stuck playing the songs you do not want to hear. I say audio cassette because the formal art world has not even caught up to the technology of the CD.
So, what is wrong with the art world and what are some solutions for artists today? First and foremost, we must leave the formal art world behind as they are stuck in a business module from the past anyway. Many of us have already left, and we are proving to be the leaders in both sales and conceptual quality of our work.
Let us first list the biggest wastes of time and money that the formal art world demands.
1. A masters degree in studio arts. Seriously, if you need to spend $200,000 or more and 8 years of college to become an artist, you are not an artist. Save your money and go buy some art supplies, go travel, buy books about world history and figure out who you are, what you want to say, and what is important to you that is important to others. A masters degree in studio arts is a foolish waste of money. If you are going to do that, so be it, as it’s your choice; more waiters, Walmart greeters and less competition for me to deal with. Have fun paying off those loans while I make art.
2. Charity Auctions. How did this rib-tickler become so popular? It seems that every week someone needs assistance with doctor bills, rent, or just punk rock instability. Seriously, if the only way you can get your art work into the hands of a collector is to donate it to some “help john doe” charity auction, then you should probably just stop creating art. You are wasting your time and money. First off, it does you no good; except maybe the cool points only awarded that night by the hip kids (points redeemable one night only). If you don’t end up with the girl or a commission in the future as a result of your “donation,” then the joke is on you. If you are a trust fund child or just independently wealthy then I guess it is of no significance. Learn how to sell your work or make it a hobby. Charity auctions take from you.
3. Rules. I am not even going to go there. If you follow some mythical rules when works of art are involved then again, you are probably in the wrong line of work. I bet you are very clever too.
4. 50% commission.
Most upper tier galleries take 50% of the sale. So if you sell a work of art for lets say $1,000, and the gallery takes half, then out of your $500.00 you pay tax which is about a third of your take. You are left with approximately $335. Seriously, it sold for a grand and you get to pocket $335? My work takes time, as I am sure yours does too. So let us figure out what your hourly wage here is. Let’s just say your work took 10 hours to complete; in that case you just earned about $33 an hour, not bad. Let’s say you are like me and your work took you 50 hours in total to complete. Wow rich man, that is almost $7 an hour. In the case that your hourly wage for creating your work of art is low, go work at Starbucks
, they pay more and they have a good health care plan. Honest commission prices between a gallery and an artist should look more like 30% (maybe 35%) to the gallery and 70% to the artist. You as an artist are worth more than minimum wage, and it is okay to recognize that you should be paid fairly for your hard work.
5. Pay to play galleries. Many galleries these days have taken on the archetype of landlord. Going month to month as they rent their space out to artist after artist (or tenant after tenant). If a professional gallery must subsidize their costs by charging artists rental fees and not surviving financially off the sales from works of art; then they should close their doors as their business model is a failure. It will never produce a consistent profit. Artists beware, stay away from galleries that charge you to have an exhibit.
6. The self marketing advice givers. Create like this, like that, blah blah blah. You must do this to be this bull crap advice from half successes that think they know whats going to make you a success when really they are just flaunting a shiny toy you don’t have in your face. Everyone else doesn’t know what they are talking about, only you know what you want to and are willing to do when your works of art are concerned.
7. Trends. Just don’t.
8. Consignments. That is a thing of the past, so do not leave your art work at a gallery with the hopes of making a buck through consignment unless you are paid a leasing fee. I know what you are going to say here; “but exposure is good” sure that argument is worthless. Get paid man, even if its a small fee, get paid.
9. Network. Indiscriminately networking with anyone you can find that is slightly involved in your field is a cheap, disingenuous trick. Fortunately you must know people in this world for anyone to even see what you do; but not because you want to use them or their connections to get somewhere. Know people you like and networking will work out just fine. Nobody likes the guy with 5000 friends on Facebook.
10. Spending money and not expecting to make a profit. That needs no explanation.
There you have it, and honestly that’s not all that is wrong with the established status quo. But its all I care to talk about, so lets talk about some things that are good for the artist of 2012 to take part in.
1. Be honest with yourself everyday.
2. Work as hard or as little as you want to. You get back what you put in.
3. Stop creating works of art that look like the popular trend. What is hip is inevitably a death sentence for an artist. If you do not believe me just refer back to #1, be honest with yourself. If you are honest your work will look nothing like the other guy.
4. Do whatever you want, whenever you want to.
Just don’t be a jerk and interfere with others lives; leave them alone and enjoy yourself.
5. Never stop seeking that which seams unobtainable. Believe completely in what you do. Never waver, never doubt, never feel that your work is a hobby. Believe with everything you have that what you do is great. If you are proficiently challenging yourself and believe in your work, you will be happy, thus successful.
So now is the time to break all the silly rules the formal art world has set up for the entertainment of themselves.
I break those failed traditions over my knee…
…thanks for checking in, more to come soon.