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What is getting lost in the art marketing discussion

May 6, 2012

Friends at decor-artuk recently posted a helpful entry on marketing for artists. A short exchange between us followed, and I’d like to continue my  bit here – everyone is welcome to join in, of course.

As my oil paintings mount up here (and they are the first work in several years which I feel are worthy of exhibiting), I will soon be re-entering the marketing fray in some way or another.

So just a reminder that my ‘anti-marketing’ posts aren’t about not selling one’s work, they are about the other sides of art which are getting lost in the marketing discussion. These facets of art/the arts are essential to human spiritual and cultural life, I feel. So I’ll continute to write about them here, perhaps reminding us why we chose to be artists in the first place.

When a work of art, piece of music, phrase of literature, etc  connects straight to my soul I get launched out of my small life with its everyday cares. I get reconnected to the best in myself, and reminded of why I am here- even if I can’t express it in words. It is just a profound reassurance that life is fine as it is, warts and all, the larger wheel is turning in a beauty and order which is unfathomable to a human mind, and my small life is somehow held and counted in it. Those mysteries are what art touches.
A past post, Art’s worth, explores the issue further, with Rob Riemen, a Dutch publisher and writer who spoke eloquently of how art was a solace to him after a series of devastating personal losses.

In Kristina’s (decor-artuk) reply to me she says, ‘… it does seem that art has lost a lot of it’s true characteristics; it has become like everything around us – you can sell it and you can buy it, it’s that simple’. (See the full comment here. )

Yes, Kristina I think , you are perfectly right. This made me feel my age, because being part of an earlier generation than most of the avidly marketing 30 somethings, I feel that loss keenly.

For one instant I even wondered whether in advocating a more ethical, and connected art I was becoming dated, an art veteran holding on to a disappearing age. But actually I think what we see emerging in all kinds of wonderful quirky forms outside the established art world -this is the future of art.

I think that I belong to a small but growing group of artists of all ages who are consciously choosing to work in the context of art’s ‘true characteristics’, rather than totally selling out to the reigning marketing mentality.  By following our own muse rather than succombing to outside pressure to become The Most Successful (read ‘Rich and Popular’) Art Entrepreneur on the planet, we are exploring and creating new ways for art and artists to manifest.  See the writings of Suzi Gablik and this post.

Art has an intrinsic worth beyond the marketplace. Thousands of young and old artists are using it to reconcile conflicting groups, heal rifts between individuals and nations, spark people’s imagination, offer a positive  vision, create sustainability, promote creativity, renew systems, ensoul living spaces, encourage hope, offer solace, grapple with large difficult questions, create alternatives, etc.

And yes, I think you can sell your art and do these things.

Ideally the society would recognize the value of art and make sure that ideals and financial security for artists would go hand in hand.

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3 Responses to “What is getting lost in the art marketing discussion”

  1. decorartuk Says:

    I like your illustration, Sarah. Just one question – how many years ago did you move to Europe? It’s just that you’re still “attached” to dollars 😉

    P.S. Did you get my comment on your previous post? I don’t understand why it’s not there…

    • szoutewelle Says:

      I moved to Europe ages ago! Dollars just worked graphically better than Euros! 🙂

      The last comment I had from you was on the tips for Acrylics. And a Like on Journey in paint. Did one get lost?


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