Blog: The Value of Art Has Changed

Christine Alfery

Posted on November 30 2019

Blog: The Value of Art Has Changed

Featured image: Connections III

No wonder the value of art has changed.  No wonder there have been art industries popping up all over.  

How can anyone be sure what they are buying is a “real work of art?”  First, you need to ask the question, “What is a real work of art?” If you can’t answer that question, or if you answer it with the very common,  “Art is anything and everything,” then, you are in trouble. You would be safer buying one of the 1000’s of color field paintings currently flooding the wall décor market than trying to buy a real work of art.  Better to be safe and match your sofa, then toss your money away on something that you love because you’ve gotten to know the artist. The artist says, “Yes, I have done this. No, there is not another one like it.  No, I won’t reproduce it. And yes, it is unique and I am represented in the work.”

All of this has made me continue to question whether I should market my work online? Was it the right way to go for me?  There are many positives to selling my work online. 

  1. It is a different way to expose others to my work. 
  2. It breaks the traditional channels of galleries, museums and critic cycles which seem to be extremely corrupt and ideological. It is a closed system afraid to allow anything new to enter unless it follows a particular ideological pattern.  
  3. It breaks the idea that one must follow the traditional way of doing things in order to become visible.  I like the very notion of breaking with the old way of doing things and establishing a new way of thinking about marketing art work.  So, perhaps, selling my work online will suit me.

I ask myself, “Is it the actual marketing my work online that bothers me or is it the marketing of my work online that destroys the connection between me, the artist, and the possible patron of the arts and my work?”  I think it is the loss of the connection between the patron of the arts and the artist. So, I encourage all patrons of the arts interested in my work to connect with me, please. Ask me about the work. Ask me about the stories behind the work.  Ask me why I chose to make a series of works that follow a particular concept. Ask me anything, but connect with me.

So, I have chosen to market my work online. Will my work, or me as an artist, be compromised?  I sincerely hope not. I’m hoping I can link to others who value “real art” as much as I do. Does that mean that I will fall into the trap of reproducing something multiple times because it sells?  No. All I can say is, “Been there, done that.” I learned how to paint in that market and it has given me a lot. It taught me not to fear stepping out and making a change. It also taught me that marketing art that way steals your soul, your very spirit within your whole being. There is and was no essence in the work.  Oh, there is the thrill of knowing you are getting tons of work out there. But, now that I look back, I can’t see me in the work. I lost my way. I lost my purpose. It became very mechanical.

Now, I continually remind myself that the value of art does not come from how popular it is.  In fact, it is very likely that art loses its value when popularized. The color field example above is an excellent example.  As an artist, I want my work to be valued not because I am using the current trendy color that matches the throw pillows on the sofa, but because it is independent, unique, and different. Arts value comes from this uniqueness and one-of-a-kindness. It will never fit in.  That is why I recommend, as I illustrated in the Wall Street Journal article I shared with you over a week ago, to decorate your room around a work of art you love not the other way around. 

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