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  #1  
Old 06-07-2012, 10:04 PM
cdjordjievski cdjordjievski is offline
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Art is the worse business to be in

Recently, I was exhibiting at an art festival and I got to talk to my neighbor who was a very interesting, educated and knowledgeable older gentlemen involved in art his entire life. He made a statement that “Art is the worse business to be in”. When I asked him to elaborate on what he meant he was very unambiguous with his statements. He stated that art education was inconsequential as far as being in the art business. Good example for that was that in this day and age art therapy is used extensively in rehab for alcoholism, depression and…. They learn how to hold e pencil, brush or how to cut wood and after a week of art therapy they are artists. If one of them “Artists” has a neighbor who has a friend whose sister sleeps with a guy who has a brother in-law who has a sister and her boyfriends aunt works in a gallery after a few phone calls you have to compete with that person for a spot in a gallery. He mentioned that he has seen somewhere someone stating that he had a commission to do a large portrait, never done one before, did not have a clue what to do and was soliciting information how to do it. Then he continued, “What would happen if I put an add in a medical magazine stating that I had a contract to do a brain surgery but I have never done one before and all information is welcome”.

Personally, I have seen good and bad in both. In Europe and here in US I have studied sculpture for eleven years and I have seen people who graduate with degrees in art that in my opinion had no business in art. On the other hand I knew people such as husband wife professional artists whose children are born and grew into an environment where art is a way of life. If these children decided to make art their career, even without going to art school they will know more about philosophy in art, processes and business in general that any graduate with a degree.

I am not sure if I remember correctly but I believe it was Camille Pissarro the French impressionist painter who stated that if he had a power he would dismantle all art schools. You can teach someone techniques, how to manipulate materials and tools but you cannot teach them how to think, how to get inspired by something, how to feel something about something. Those were the days, if as a young individual you were interested in art, find and artist you admire and ask to work in his studio. St. Francis if Assisi I believe in 12-13 century stated something like, “One who uses his hands is a laborer, one who uses his hands and his head is a craftsman, and one who uses his hands his head and his heart is an artist”. I believe th

at using your heart in art went out of the window while back. When they asked Andy Warhol what is art he stated, “Art is anything you can get away with”. I may be old-fashioned but I do believe that people like Damien Hurst, Jeff Koons are just incredible salesman and if they were involved in selling shoes they would be implausible successful as well. Willem de Kooning once mentioned about Leo Castelli “That son of a bitch, you could give him two beer cans and he could sell them”. Jasper Johns made a sculpture of two beer cans and Castelli immediately sold it.

In conclusion, the more I read about it, the more I learn about it, the more I realize how little I know and how relevant and at the same time irrelevant knowledge is.

Good night everyone
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:08 AM
KatyL KatyL is offline
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

I've agreed with most of this for a long time, and admit, I am a fool to keep trying, but it is the only thing I do well. My personality is not suited for any other job.

I went to art school, and was about a semester away from graduating with a BFA. At that time, I met a girl who had been given a slot in the MFA program. She showed me what she did. She made lithographs of finger painted "smiley" faces. I really questioned myself at that point. How could actual skill compete with a "bold concept." Even today, I would love to return to art school, but I know that I would not be accepted because I do not do academic, modern concept art.

I still dream of getting that degree. I believe my work would be viewed as "too mundane" or something.
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Old 06-09-2012, 06:05 AM
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

Don't get me started, I'm totally over it. I work in my studio, practice, study, try hard, but even the people who give out grants here are saying "you have to get out and collaborate, network, talk to people, be seen."
Collaborating? When did collaborating make great sculpture?
When did hanging out and chatting make anything at all?
Working away in the faint hope of achieving excellence is SO out of style. Just have the wanky Concept, talk the talk, and you can have a fine career getting arts grants and travelling the world on granted residencies that swell your resume so you can get more of them.

ARGH!
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Old 06-09-2012, 08:26 AM
cdjordjievski cdjordjievski is offline
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

"you have to get out and collaborate, network, talk to people, be seen."

Very funny
There used to be man living in my neighborhood (no background or experience in art) who was playing with some found objects and interested in possibly doing art shows. I showed him my display; he borrowed one of my panels and made very similar display. Also, he was interested in what was my work about and how do I approach it. I told him what it was that I was trying to do and showed him bunch of sketch books and how I develop an idea. Before long he started to do the same shows. Few people I have been doing shows with for many years start telling me that they noticed similar work. I visited his display and they were right. He even approached me with “What do you think of my new sculpture”. I went back and showed him the same image in three or four of my sketch books (that he has seen before) that I have been developing for few years now. Some people even told me that when they ask him what was his work about he gives them same explanation he heard from me. Most of the art shows have prize money and the interesting thing is that on the last few shows he got more prize money that I did using images from my sketch books.
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Old 06-09-2012, 03:59 PM
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Kilkenny Kilkenny is offline
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

But you do have to get out there and network and be seen. You have to do the management.

Have to say, I now have a lot more requests for my work for large shows, even in London now. This all comes down to making oneself visible (internet; galleries; going to private views; etc). I'm also doing much better since I got involved in more commercial galleries. I now do 'pop' stuff as well - It's still work that allows me to explore form and line in ways that interest me, and it is commercial work, but it gets me into the high street galleries, which IS helpful. This just is BUSINESS - do it.

Attached: jpgs of work I just wouldn't have done two years ago.

As regards not being able to teach people to think: firstly, I'm suspicious of the suggesting that art is about thinking (that might be a conceptual approach, and even then I have no doubt that thinking skills CAN be taught. The mind can be educated). Secondly, art is perhaps as much about sensibility and about SEEING. Don't tell me that this can't be developed by a good teacher, by a process of methodical study or by guided experimentation.
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Old 06-10-2012, 02:04 AM
KatyL KatyL is offline
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

"Getting out and being seen" is not my friend.

But here's the point of this reply--- does anyone think that personality types may be the problem between those who do and those who dont? We already know that the world of success leans toward the natural extrovert. I've known more introverts who were artists, and they have a heck of a time with all the glad-handing and pretense of gallery openings and so on.

I'm sorry to hear about your neighbor, cdjordjievski. I've pretty much given up "mentoring" sharing, helping fellow artists for similar reasons. (My blog is the only place I share, and I get only 35 hits a day). There's a quote that says something about teaching a man to fish. It sounds all well and good, but it is also called creating competition. Showing people how to do what you do is anti-survival.
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Old 06-10-2012, 10:49 AM
cdjordjievski cdjordjievski is offline
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

Teaching of thinking, this subject has pondered many scholars for many centuries. I was simply stating personal belief and I have neither time nor desire to engage in any lengthy debate about teaching of thinking. If we take for example your statement that “I have no doubt that thinking skills CAN be taught” to be the rule, does this imply that you could school room full of people to think and process information be cognitive like Einstein, or Plato or Aristotle? There is abundant number of sources such as perception, sensitivity, observance, compassion, awareness, consciousness, emotions and many more that thinking process is governed by. Thank God when it comes to those sources we are all wired differently and that is what makes us individual thinkers. For example when it comes to emotions wouldn’t you agree that they are fundamentally imperative and prominent in your thinking and decision making process? One may argue that it is logical to assume that when you teach someone how to think you unconsciously teach him or her to see the world trough your eyes. Nowadays, teaching of thinking, drawing conclusions, making decisions that are socially acceptable or close to the norm are even taught, programmed to machines. On that one we just have to wait and see.
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Old 06-10-2012, 01:01 PM
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

Yes, too often teaching amounts to "conditioning". And too much it wishes to impose tradition. And too much it rewards following, mimicking, aligning and supporting some continuance. The individual is easily lost in institutional learning environments. BUT!!! There are PLENTY of teachers who prioritize critical thinking and the building of self-confidence. Who know full well that "education" is about exposure and dialogue. MANY teachers are adept and excited by identifying and supporting the strengths of an individual. Plus, a "student" is not a hapless victim. You feel the palce/person your at is not good for you, No whining, get another teacher, and dont expect a mentor. No grasshoppers. Its not their job to get you a job, or tell you how to run a business. A teacher's job, if they care, is to send you away improved...thats all.
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Old 06-10-2012, 03:27 PM
KatyL KatyL is offline
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

Believing that the average human thinks deeply about philosophy, or that sort of thing is a little idealistic. Mankind thinks of sex, swag, food and shelter. Those of us who end up being artists are swimming against the current, and among artists there are various levels of "deep thinking" individuals-- I personally do not think that deep thinking is necessary to do art. I favor observation and technique.

I think that organization skills can be taught. Thinking is a matter of organizing thought inside a brain that is a few million years old. You can see on an MRI what constitutes "thought."

I became interested in art by looking at pictures, not listening to words. In fact, I did not really read anything about art until I was in college. to me there is a mysterious dialogue between the artist and the materials which no one can learn anything from anyway.
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Old 06-10-2012, 04:18 PM
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

KatyL - I so agree with you about 'looking at pictures, not listening to words'. But I think you may be a little hard on gallery/show openings. Almost everybody there is in love with art (artists themselves; gallery people; buyers, etc). It can be a little precious, and there's a lot of ego, but that's because these people regard art as the highest and finest of activities. It's PRECIOUS! And you will meet people who can help you. At a recent event I met an artist who needs someone to do some carving for her as part of a larger project. Fun!

cd - As a former teacher: my experience is that teachng institutions tend to give pretty equal weight to cognitive and emotional development.

Evaldart. I so agree with your statement from 'BUT!!!' on. I'm puzzled by your statement, though, that 'too often teaching amounts to conditioning'. I think you ascribe too much influence to the teaching profession. Most of what individuals become can be ascribed to the family and social conditions students belong to. We teachers cannot reshape the influence of the outer world. As for conditioning - my parents did more of that to me than any teachers I had. They (teachers), in fact, were part of my liberation. They helped me to see alternatives to my ugly Protestant Irish background. They only helped to open avenues. No conditioning; no imposing. There's more sheer love in teaching than is perhaps recognised, and it often comes with NO price tag, unlike home life, your job and the expectations of your friends.
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:57 PM
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

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Believing that the average human thinks deeply about philosophy, or that sort of thing is a little idealistic. Mankind thinks of sex, swag, food and shelter. Those of us who end up being artists are swimming against the current, and among artists there are various levels of "deep thinking" individuals-- I personally do not think that deep thinking is necessary to do art. I favor observation and technique.

I think that organization skills can be taught. Thinking is a matter of organizing thought inside a brain that is a few million years old. You can see on an MRI what constitutes "thought."

I became interested in art by looking at pictures, not listening to words. In fact, I did not really read anything about art until I was in college. to me there is a mysterious dialogue between the artist and the materials which no one can learn anything from anyway.
Katy, so you would be so presumptive to know what is going on in the mind of an "average human" I dont think such a thing exists, anything "average" in an existence where flux is so overriding.
Those animalistic things that EVERYONE thinks about all happen seperate from any creative things. Humans are complex, dual, multiple and plural. It is a trait of EVERYONE'S consciousness.
And what is "deep thinking"? You mean difficult thinking, strained thinking, challenging thinking? If so, then yes, it is a daunt and a chore that one can quite survive without bothering with.
Observation and technique are only place to BEGIN art...and both of those should be long gone in the rear view mirror as the creative episode improves and gains momentum.
MRI's are know nothing about a thought. Nothing knows anything about a thought. And that is the entire significance OF a thought.

Of course we visual artists became interested in art by looking at pictures. I never went to a museum til I was 20...but I made things (drawings, paintings sculptures and crafties) almost everyday of my life.

The "mysterious dialogue" that you speak of is indeed all that matters, and whether or not anyone ever "learns" anything from that thing left over (the sculpture) absolutely doesnt matter. But inevitably someONE will - or someTWO will and so on. It is not our problem that they do, though.
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Old 06-11-2012, 06:05 AM
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

Art is the worst business to be in.

There are all the one-project-wonders who want to quit their job because they see your job as easy. They undercut your price, steal your audience, & try to move into your skin. Been there.

There are all the teachers that wanted to help you but could not because of their own problems. These teachers could not or would not show you how to get your start in galleries. There was jealousy, from the teachers, since you were out there trying to make art work as a definable business for you. Been on that blunt, bleeding edge also.

There will always be the hucksters who can sell anything, while not knowing anything about it. This is called the illusion of fame. A huge swath of humanity thinks that if J-Lo or Tupac made your sculpture it is worth many multiples more than if you made it. In fact if you made it, it is worth nothing unless it has a famous brand slapped on it. Had that pleasure also.

But, art is the worst business to be in because you care about what you do for a living, care about communicating your vision to a certain subset of humanity, & enjoy more aspects of the job of creating than any other job you have held.

The way I cope is not to spend any time with these life suckers. I drop these time suckers in the nearest trash can along with the used gum wrapper. Give these people as much time & thought as they gave you. It is not your job to educate the wannabes, wait for the crumbs from teachers who don't want/can't teach the skills that you came to college for, nor lose any sleep over convincing people that you are a professional artist not the latest flash in the pan.

You have a mission, that is to communicate thoughts & deeds into tangible, meaningful objects that inspire people. Ed Magorium had it right - "Your life is an occasion. Rise to it."


Carl
"Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave, live like tomorrow is your last day on earth." shared credit - Constantin Brancusi & redited by CLW
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:37 AM
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

I'd like to know under what circumstances Brancusi made this statement. Like, was he seriously restrained at the time? I figure your wife and your kids might want you to do otherwise.....
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Old 06-11-2012, 09:14 AM
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

Well its damned handy that there is such a thing as an art "business" since I have all this space, tools, materials and excess energy to burn-up. And those sculptures and paintings and drawings and combines and mixed mediated masses...where would they go? were they simply piled on the lawn I'd certainly be banished. Civilization would send me out into the netherhills where I would stack boulders, hack at trees and draw in the dirt; which wouldnt be so terrible except for the fact that there would be no Burger Kings or used book stores to whittle away my rest time.
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:18 PM
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

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Originally Posted by cdjordjievski View Post
He stated that art education was inconsequential as far as being in the art business.

It seems to me that this thread has little to do with the “business of art” but rather the many ways we qualify success. It is laughable to think that skill and desire alone should (or can) lead to the often lauded “successes” of Warhol, Hirst and the like. Networking, writing and talking intelligently about your work, being well read and current in your field, and being linked to an urban center IS the business of art IF you want to see your work being collected for big bucks from slick contemporary galleries. If you dismiss those “job requirements” in favor of dated notions whereby quality art is directly related to craftsmanship or purity of desire or originality – then you are not likely to operate in THAT particular business arena. What is sad is that there seems to be a misinformed perception where showing and selling craft-based works (not Crafts per se) at local galleries catering to decorative art or regional art fairs is somehow less successful than having your work next to a Warhol in a museum? Get a pair people and love what you do. Enough of the bashing and blaming of the culture, education or marketing of art. If you want a piece of the pie, make the sacrifices – or don’t. Research and make the RIGHT kind of work for the place where you want to engage the art world – or don’t, but please don’t whine about how tough the art business is when you are trying to do the equivalent of selling pies to Saks 5th Avenue.


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... wait for the crumbs from teachers who don't want/can't teach the skills that you came to college for...
Gotta love the “students” who presume to already know what they came to college to learn. Ha. Good one.
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Old 06-11-2012, 03:29 PM
CroftonGraphics CroftonGraphics is offline
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

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and being linked to an urban center
Could someone please let me know if it is possible to be linked to an urban centre without living in it when selling artwork?
I know to an extent that this is possible with digital design work.
I.e, getting known and shown in some galleries and building getting contacts etc in London when not actually living there. I love cities but I don't like living in them, especially in Europe where they are not conducive to my lifestyle choices or do I have to sacrifice this.
Best regards,
James.
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:01 PM
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Kilkenny Kilkenny is offline
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

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Originally Posted by cdjordjievski View Post
When they asked Andy Warhol what is art he stated, “Art is anything you can get away with”.
Another piece of dodgy advice by an artist who, having 'got away with it', turns it into a point of principle.

You need to be very suspicious of statements by radical and successful artists, like Brancusi and Warhol. It's not good career advice. Their extreme positions worked out for them, but YOU might be better getting good at something and 'get a life'. Warhol could have been a drug-crazed 60s street bum as easily as a successful artist. Brancusi? For such a radical he spent too much time polishing.....
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:01 PM
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

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Could someone please let me know if it is possible to be linked to an urban centre without living in it when selling artwork?
Absolutely! The point is to visit often -especially galleries you are interested in having represent you. It is good to have a finger on the pulse of what's going on - doesn't mean you have to live there. Being in Scotland I'd of thought you were well poised. London can't be more than a day's drive and Glasgow has a good art scene from what I've heard. Access is relative - as are distances.

Milk those social networks to help close the gap.

Graphic design skills coupled with your sculpting is a great one-two approach!

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When they asked Andy Warhol what is art he stated, “Art is anything you can get away with”.
Not Andy's words originally, but those of Marshall McLuhan. Andy borrowed them well after he had achieve global success - so I'm not sure if I'd quote the same advice to a newbie (although, I probably would).
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:57 PM
CroftonGraphics CroftonGraphics is offline
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

Hi thanks for the good tips!
I should change my location as I am in Santander in Spain at the moment.
Going to see Alta Mira this weekend, it is a replica but I saw Puente Viesgo caves earlier, 40,000 year old cave paintings, amazing. Puts things into perspective in a way.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:21 PM
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

When they asked Andy Warhol what is art he stated, “Art is anything you can get away with”.

from cheespepaws:
"Not Andy's words originally, but those of Marshall McLuhan. Andy borrowed them well after he had achieve global success - so I'm not sure if I'd quote the same advice to a newbie (although, I probably would)"

If you want to quote or emulate a villan, fine, if you understand the karma you would bear for so seriously misleading someone. That is a quote from someone who has no respect for themself, for art, or for others. If truthful, the quote would read, "Behaving like a selfish adolescent means doing whatever you can get away with, and pretending it is art".

"global success"? I prefer a life well-lived, using one's talent to do what in your heart you know is right, than to seek fame by selling one's soul to the "getting away with it" approach. If the globe we operate in has such low standards as it does in bestowing temporal rewards to the villanous, that does not mean we artists need sink to that level. Our role in human evolution is to raise the standard, not lower it further.
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:35 AM
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Kilkenny Kilkenny is offline
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

I entirely agree with Glenn. Regardless of who said it, art being 'what you can get away with' is pure cynicism. No good craftsman could (or need) ever commit to this principle. Without knowing the context, I can see how Warhol could say this, as an artist/entrepeuneur, and someone formed, and intent on exploiting, the modern environment he belonged to. But in the mileau that Warhol committed to, I wouldn't expect to come across mainstream opinion or good sense. And such a commitment today may lead to the odd success, such as Hirst, but also to a lot of unemployed, poorly skilled failures.
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:38 AM
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

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Originally Posted by cheesepaws View Post
It seems to me that this thread has little to do with the “business of art” but rather the many ways we qualify success. It is laughable to think that skill and desire alone should (or can) lead to the often lauded “successes” of Warhol, Hirst and the like.

What is sad is that there seems to be a misinformed perception where showing and selling craft-based works (not Crafts per se) at local galleries catering to decorative art or regional art fairs is somehow less successful than having your work next to a Warhol in a museum? Get a pair people and love what you do.
No truer words Cheese...
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Old 06-12-2012, 04:57 AM
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

Cheesepaws is right. I'm a member of a local co-operative of 9 artists and craftspeople. We run a successful gallery that supports the work of these, and other artists. It's work that is all based on advanced skills and imagination. It works.
Anyone who has ever gone to college will know all about career routes. Visit a local college and ask for help. The UK is all service industries now. Supply a service; make money.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:04 AM
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

It would seem to me that what we are talking about here is the price of the 'success' we desire , and our unwillingness to pay the full amount. we ( well, most of us artists ) cant have it both ways!
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:16 PM
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Re: Art is the worse business to be in

Scrapartoz - I don't see why you think that this is about what you have to 'pay'. Art is about adding something to our lives. And the business side adds more - a living, if you get it together. Anyone who thinks 'art is what you can get away with' misses the whole point of art. That statement is about 'making it', which is a modern, hollowed out kind of activity for people who don't get it. The price of success? There is no price if you are intelligent about it. Of course, if you want to 'make it' like Warhol or Hirst, take a lot of risks but only if you are young enough to follow through or survive the damage.
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