Fine Art Pricing, and What a Messed up World That is
I’m trying to figure out this fine art pricing thing, and it’s driving me UP THE WALL. Near as I can tell, there are two possibly contradictory worlds where fine art gets bought and sold. I care about art being bought because it presents the potential for me to get paid for doing art, and maybe make a living at it. I’m trying to figure this thing out, and here’s what the state of the Art worlds looks like to me:
In world A, Art is hung on walls in galleries and sold to collectors for large sums of money by dealers. If an artist is deemed sufficiently noteworthy, their work ends up in museums, further increasing its value and price. Since I’d love to see some of my art sold for large sums of money, I’m not against this in principle.*
In world B, thanks to digital media, it’s possible to make digital copies of an image that are practically indistinguishable from the original. These are then sold for rather less money to rather more people. Since I would really like my art to be owned and enjoyed by people, I find this prospect exciting.**
There are incompatibilities between the two. In their view of art: in world A, you're potentially handing control of your art over to other people. In world A, you're in the position of having to figure out how to sell your art on top of making it.
I don’t have much else to say on this topic right now, other than that it’s giving me massive headaches in figuring out what to do with my art next.
*World A sounds snotty, but it deserves a lot of credit. If not for the efforts of art dealers and collectors, Jasper Johns might have spent his life illustrating advertising copy, and a guy like me might never have the chance to look at a real Picasso. I would like to be represented by a good gallery, and have the freedom to execute some of the kickass ideas I have in my head. On the other hand, this world creates a distasteful façade of exclusivity and obfuscation around how art is really made and what it’s really about.
**World B sounds pretty awesome! Especially if you’re already and indie publisher like me. But then again, the pressures of trying to be publisher or a retailer are a direct drain on the time and energy that could be invested in art; and you can be a great artist but be really crappy at merchandising. I do want to make cool stuff out of my art, but I’m really bad at (for example) running an Etsy shop.