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Success as an artist

I originally posted this in a thread on WetCanvas, but I think it has wider applicability.

It has always seemed to me that in the art world of galleries and auction houses, ‘success’ is defined as fetching astronomical prices and generating lots of publicity. I don’t think I’m being cynical in seeing that as a direct consequence of the fact that this is the route to more money for them. If they can sell a painting for $5m or better $50m, and get their 40-60% commission, that’s a lot easier than selling hundreds of much more inexpensive works to people in the world outside the super rich. The world of the highly successful artist is not the world of art. It’s a world that includes not just the super rich, but drug dealers, Russian oligarchs and a range of other undesirables looking for a way to launder their money. The property market and the art market are probably the easiest routes.

From my angle I ask myself if, in the highly unlikely event of my being catapulted into that world, do I want my work stuck in a vault as an investment or used to clean up the proceeds from some drug deal?

I’m never going to have to answer that question fortunately, but to the extent that we accept that world’s definition of success as an artist, we are colluding in the conditions that create it.


From this thread which in turn was triggered by this article on the Hyperallergenic site

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Group Show – Salisbury, Wiltshire

The printmaker’s group I am a member of, Wiltshire Print Creatives, has another group show running at the moment. The venue this time is the wonderful Fisherton Mill, in Salisbury. We have almost 50 works available framed, plus about the same again in browsers and lots of cards, which given the wide range of styles in which we work and the varied subjects, means lots of choice for buyers.

Every Saturday between 11am and 3pm, some of the group will be in the gallery to talk about their work and about printmaking in general. You will also be able to see examples of printing plates, tools etc used to make some of the works in the show.

From Westport to Ocean Park