Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Grumpy Artists

Hey just want to say at this point - don't think I'm a grumpy artist just stirring pots of luchious paint. I have friends who are art dealers in various places around the globe and I have good relationships with dealers in general (just a few are on my wrong side but I am not particularly talking about them anyway!).

What about the poverty stricken artist fantasy? Is the post on 'Dealers and Prints' just a bigger part of the fantasy idea? What do I mean?

Well I have a theory that most people like a little mystery about the artist. They like the idea of some cold, poor manic artist beavering away in a large spacious studio producing master pieces amongst the greatest of mahem and poverty - and there by believeing that their single purchase of a painting has somehow redeemed the artist from the edge of starvation. Or have I got that wrong?

From what I see people LOVE the concept of an artist and they too would love to paint. They make all the 'right' comments (and lets face it guys and girls most of what they save is tiresome) but frankly they want us artists kept in poverty. Why do I say this? Well apart from comments try going to a bank and getting a mortgage with a totally honest display of accounts etc.... (I am in now way here saying go dishonestly!) but try it and you'll know exactly what I mean. The banks generally have a list of 'low risk, medium risk and high risk' jobs. Artists aren't even on the list in the U.K. when my wife and I went for a mortgage. So you don't get one. It's like ballet - some love to watch it and will pay a small fortune to watch it - yet do they think of the bleeding feet or the semi crippled dancers as they are older?

I had an interesting conversation with two bankers who were giving me grief because I had no money in the bank to pay my bills - I hasten to add I was over due payment (over a month overdue) of $25,000 from a dealer. I was at the time earning more money than the two bankers arguing with me that I couldn't have an overdraft until the cheque came in. What ended up was they forced me (literally) to have a loan which they then transferred onto my mortgage of $6000. They made off this little transaction a hefty amount in interest over 25 yrs as the mortgage was locked down for a few yrs and the fees to put money back in to pay off were not worth looking at. A few months later I had about $75,000 in the account and they were ringing me up asking to invest and calling me 'sir'. I politely told them where to go.

Why is it though 99.9% of people want to have artwork on their walls or want a gallery in their locality when they treat artist as they do? Is it because if we are truly 'successful' in art then it shatters their fantasy?

In all of these posts I am trying to let you 'new' artists know that your ride thru life as an artist is not easy. If you still want to be an artist at the end of reading all my posts you may make it relatively well - :)
You need to be somewhat 'pig headed' as I call it, 'determined' is another word. You also will need some tolerant friends, preferably rich enough to bail you out occasionaly. Whatever happens though.... don't stop painting!


  1. Your post makes me thing of two artists - Banksy and Warhol. I think people buy their art because they are so well known and owning an origonal piece is like a status symbol, it's trendy. The more famous an artist is, the more money they make, the more desirable their art becomes. So perhaps all I need to do is something highly controversial, get on the news, become famous (because any publicity is good publicity) and then more people will want the art I produce, because suddenly it's recognisable. Like Dick Frizzell and his four-square-moko-man. How about cycling naked from Christchurch to Wellington with me on a tandem bike wearing rubber George W Bush masks? That should make the news.

  2. Thanks for post - I think that sums it up - but not sure I'll join you on the cold bike ride - but it has been done! don't foget the guy on news recently who got fined for it. And yes the true 'art world' (i.e. not the one in NZ) is controlled by marketing teams etc as is the POP industry. That's perhaps another post :)

  3. Yes, an artist should have a 'little mystery'.

    Strangely, many people are surprised to find out that Darth Sidious (aka- the Emperor from Star Wars) was very competent in using water colors on a bantha skin canvas.

    A mysterious man if ever i saw one.