Thursday, February 15, 2018

“Fear And Loathing In The Galleries”

Almost twenty years ago I wrote an article entitled “Fear And Loathing In The Galleries”. I proposed that the time was nigh when art would be sold as digital files to be shown on digital frames. 

Well... the digital frames are only starting to become decent. (Lumlan just had an article on them.) And to be honest I’ve yet to hear of any artist who succesfully sells digital art. 

But... the art/photo print was there because it was the *only way* for people to enjoy pictures. Now there are screens everywhere. And more free art than anybody can consume. 
Some of the pictures will survive for the future, of course, like usual only a tiny percentage. 

But maybe the digital age is destroying the visual artist as a profession? 

I wrote this a comment to this article


Merle said...

Well, is it really free art? We think it's free because it's easy - easy to download, easy to "steal" in a way. Unless the artist protects his/her work somehow (which we then think is distasteful because the image is marked up), most people do not think twice about copying and sharing on their social media of choice. They are enamored with it at the moment and are often unconcerned about it being someone else's work. It's only important that it be shared.

My wife and I have been purchasing art for some years. It doesn't hurt that we both have a background in art, which gives us an appreciation, if nothing else. Most of what we've purchased has been from friends who are artists - watercolors, a handmade book (authored, woodcut images, typeset, handmade cover and hand bound), oils, blown glass, ceramics - but also from galleries. We don't spend a lot of money at it and we don't buy what we don't like. But we do enjoy paying the artists, hoping that it helps them continue to make art. Some of it gets hung, some we just take out and admire every now and then; some of it gets well used; some of it gets broken.

Funny, but except for a few photo books, none of it is photography. I don't even print my own except to share 4x6s with friends sometimes. (Yet. I'm slowly working on a small book. Shhh...) I printed a few back in the day of film, but nothing since. We both appreciate photography; we just don't buy individual images to hang or own. I'm not sure I can say why. Maybe the same reason we don't seem to purchase digital music, but tend to go hear live performances instead.

Who knows?

Eolake Stobblehouse said...


I haven’t seen any sites *selling* digital art files.

Personally I’d rather have people share my work than not, even if there’s no system in place for buying it.

Russ said...

This reminds me of the 22 foot long video wall that Bill Gates created in his home back in the 1990's where he could cycle through his favorite paintings, photography. He paid a lot of money for the rights to use those images.

But then there are very few rich and tech-centric people like Bill Gates willing to pay....

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Aha, interesting. Thanks for the link, Russ.