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Fallout from the Art4Love scandal: Does the scandal change the way you view art prints that are sold on commercial art sites?

by Brian Sherwin on 8/29/2011 8:07:58 AM

This article is by Brian Sherwin, regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Brian Sherwin is an art critic, blogger, curator, artist and writer based near Chicago, Illinois. He has been published in Hi Fructose Magazine, Illinois Times, and other publications, and linked to by publications such as The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Juxtapoz Magazine, Deutsche Bank ArtMag, ARTLURKER, Myartspace, Blabbermouth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint, Vandalog and Art Fag City.  This author's views are entirely his/her own and may not reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.  You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.

I've been following -- and covering -- the Art4Love scandal very closely in the last few days. I'm curious to know what kind of impact the scandal will have on how the average person views art prints online -- specifically art prints that are sold on commercial art sites, such as art websites like deviantart, that focus on a social networking platform. Will the fallout from the Art4Love scandal harm the business model of commercial art sites in general? Will it be a burden for commercial websites (Think Redbubble, Imagekind, and so on.) that focus on selling prints online? Will it make it harder for artists who sell art prints online? Only time will tell I suppose. That said, in the meantime I want to know what YOU think.


My experience dictates that serious art collectors are not apt to purchase giclee art prints or art prints on canvas (Which was the focus of Art4Love's business model) on commercial art sites -- they instead purchase them directly from a gallery representing the artist OR directly from the artist via his or her personal artist website. However, there is obviously a market for prints that are sold on commercial / social art sites. After all, it is the bread & butter for the majority of these sites -- some take as much as 80% commission every time a print is sold. The fact that some of them have thrived for over a decade shows that business is booming. That said, I'm interested in knowing how that market may -- or may not -- be damaged by the Art4Love scandal.


Since the credibility of Art4Love, a commercial art site that also had a physical presence in the Chelsea art district of NYC, has been called into question it could very well leave a stigma that marks commercial art sites in general. As in -- how people view the credibility of commercial art sites and the prints they offer. If that is the case -- what will the impact be? In order to have some grasp on the impact I need to know the opinions of art collectors and artists in regard to this situation. Do you trust commercial art sites that offer art prints? Has that trust decreased because of this scandal? Tell me about it.


Artists -- do any of you have doubts about commercial art sites, specifically those that have a social networking foundation -- due to the Art4Love scandal? If so, does the doubt come in the form of wondering how much of the art on sites of that nature is legitimate in regard to ownership? Or does it come in the form of wanting to know who is behind specific commercial art sites -- as in information about the owners... so that you know what you are getting into before listing prints for sell?


Collectors -- does the Art4Love scandal make you wary to purchase prints on commercial art sites in general? True, these sites may not have owners that 'steal' images online like Art4Love allegedly did... but infringement from members is common on the majority of commercial / social art sites. Has the Art4Love scandal made you think more about that problem? How do you know that the print you are buying is a legitimate work of art... and not just something the 'artist' has 'ripped' from another artist? Or is that the gamble of buying art prints on these sites? Is it "safer" to buy art prints directly from the artists website instead of a print by a random artist you discover on a commercial / social art site?


Feel free to offer your thoughts on this issue -- consider this a Think Tank about how the fallout from the Art4Love scandal may harm the marketability of prints sold on commercial art sites in general -- and thus, the business model that the majority of these commercial websites have.


Take care, Stay true,


Brian Sherwin


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Related Posts:

What Artists should Learn from the Art4Love Scandal: Busting the myths of copyright infringement Part 1 - Profit

What Artists should Learn from the Art4Love Scandal: Busting the myths of copyright infringement Part 2 -- Copyright Registration

Art4Love Scandal Update: The strange tale of Art4Love, Chad Love-Lieberman and Craig Pravda

Copyright Registration: Protecting Yourself as Well as Your Collectors

Art4Love Copyright Infringement Scandal: Chad Love-Lieberman - Art Scam King?

What Artists should learn from the Art4Love Scandal: Busting the myths of copyright infringement Part 3 -- Public Domain

Topics: art collectors | art marketing | art websites | Brian Sherwin | copyright | FineArtViews | originality | selling art online | Think Tank | websites for artists 

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Chuck Angeline
You raise a lot of good questions Brain. Personally, since there are only a few artists that I would consider collecting prints by, I would purchase prints from the artists directly. I think the best venue for selling you original work to a serious art collector is still the gallery. Furthermore, if anyone was on the fence about commercial sites I think this scandal will definitely change their mind. We shall have to wait and see.

thanks for the great article, and keep up the good work Brain.

the DeadGuy

Brian Sherwin
Chuck -- good point, and thanks. Not to mention that most of these sites take a huge percent of the profit when prints are sold. An artist would be much better off forming an arrangement directly with a printing company -- or at least finding a better deal with an art site that allows the artist to sell his or her prints directly on his or her website instead of relying on the commercial art site itself.

Jan Law
Hi Brian, I have been reading your posts concerning the Art4Love scandal - thank you for your diligence. I am an artist and am now concerned about commercial, art prints online. Are any reputable?


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