I am going to tell you something many don’t know… the art world is a pox on artists and creativity, made up more so of personalities than it is actual art. Most recently people have been selling “invisible art,” quite literally nothing for millions of dollars, while artists put their blood, sweat, and pour their soul into their craft. Try to get into an exhibit at a fine art gallery… they will ask to see a portfolio of your best pieces and if they don’t like them… you’re gone. I wonder what the invisible art portfolio looked like?
Another example is the banana duct-taped to a wall, which fetched millions once again… how original and creative. Before I was called a superstar artist, I sold original pieces for around $50-$100 and after shipping was lucky to make $20-$45 per irreplaceable piece. I was one of the lucky ones, I ended up selling hundreds of pieces around the world, yet for all of the love and pain I put into that work, I have nothing to show for it today.
Going independent paid off for me in the long run, but it was a genuine struggle just to provide for my family while honing my craft and creating pieces of art that people wanted to buy. I have since stopped selling my originals, trying for gallery exhibitions etcetera, my originals will be left for my family after I’m blind and cannot create another, and galleries are shallow and more interested in personalities, and less in fine art.
Other absolutely incredible artists aren’t as lucky as I was, they create amazing works that are seldom seen, let alone sold for what they are worth. Many don’t know how to price their work and instead rely on trying the old method of galleries and managers, seldom getting the recognition they deserve. I personally know a handful of artists who blow me out of the water on canvas, yet I have sold so many and they have sold a couple of pieces.
As the art world grows more and more pedantic, shallow, devoid, and altogether pretentious, the world of art suffers and incredible art falls to the wayside. So, what can we artists do about it?
Leave the art world and go fully independent, giving those who would sell nothing and bananas, nothing and bananas. The art world is silly and cliche today, our work, our craft, and our passions are not silly or cliche; their value is not based upon the whims of personality, nor hack critics. This is why the world of NFTs has grown so exponentially, this is why sites like Etsy and Fine Art America have flourished.
The necessity of the gallery and art critics is long gone, now we can exhibit our works via social media and reach thousands of people in an instant. The necessity of spending thousands to have prints made of our art is gone, we can now do it on-demand and free via websites like Fine Art America. We can make videos on YouTube of us painting and talking to potential fans and buyers to promote ourselves. The world of art independence is open to each of us and limited only by our already proven to be vast, imaginations.
Today, technology has made going independent far easier and more lucrative for many artists and leaves how far you go with it, in your own hands. I have been independent for almost four years now and am becoming fairly well known internationally for my art, no galleries, no managers, nothing but me, my wife, and the internet. The website I have, I got from Fine Art America check it out by clicking here, they cover prints, give you a website and handle shipping (internationally via 14 printing facilities around the world).
(P.S. I got nothing from plugging FAA here)
I use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to plug my art and garner publicity, reaching thousands of people with posts featuring pictures, live events, etc… There are also a plethora of paid publicity and promotional opportunities both online and off. If you’re an artist, I strongly recommend doing it as independently as possible, it’s a bit more work, but the reward is controlling your artistic destiny and vision.