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, Conservative Punk, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint, Vandalog, COMPANY and Art Fag City. Disclaimer: 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 have long had a Christmas tradition of watching several film adaptations of Charles Dickens's 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol. The story is classic -- Dickens's message is timeless and offers the perfect setting for self-reflection. It is a tradition I now share with my young daughter. The message of the story is as relevant today as it has ever been -- especially with what all has been happening with the economy and social movements like Occupy Wall Street. During this time of year, I often think about what we can learn from the story of Ebenezer Scrooge. That said, I recently thought about how the message of A Christmas Carol can apply to art -- more specifically, art marketing.
I realize some readers may be thinking, "How can he compare artists to Ebenezer Scrooge?" -- to that I say, specific aspects of any business can draw comparison to Charles Dickens's classic tale (not to mention that I've known a few art world Scrooges in my day). Point blank -- some artists are so focused on art marketing that they lose sight of the art that spurred them to market art in the first place... they lose sight of their own creative vision. In other words, some artists allow the business side of art to cloud over their original drive for creating art. Business is business -- but it does not have to be cold.
Art marketing is important to the artist who desires to reap the financial rewards of exploring creativity on a professional level -- we all know that. This very blog, FineArtViews, exists because of the information artists desire pertaining to art marketing in general. More power to the artist who strives to market his or her art successfully. That said, I think it is equally important for artists to take a step back -- ever so often -- from the role art marketing plays in their life.
Some of you may be asking, "Why would an artist want to take a step back from art marketing?" The reason is simple in my opinion. The 'down time' offers the opportunity to examine if the 'spirit' of art is still present -- to decide if that natural drive to create is still there. After all, you can create work that is successful for the purpose of art marketing -- but does that artwork have a 'soul'? Does it 'live' beyond the world of dollar signs and gallery deals? Does it still have that energy about it that separates it from mere wall décor? Is it more than just a financial investment for art collectors? If that 'spark of life' is missing, perhaps it is time to get that spark back.
In my opinion, a lifetime of creating art that does not touch the creator's soul -- as well as those who view and admire it -- is a waste of precious time. True, the bank statement might show solid high numbers -- but does all of that matter if the artwork you create no longer speaks to you... the creator? I would think that most artists desire to maintain the spark mentioned above rather than lose it to mere financial numbers.
There is nothing wrong with being ambitious with your art marketing efforts -- but do try to remain creatively ambitious as well. Remember that your art images are more than just images -- they are glimpses of who you are. Don't lose sight of that. If you feel that you need some time away from your art marketing goals in order to recapture the spark of creativity -- to find yourself once again in your art -- take the time to do just that. Don't be like Ebenezer Scrooge with your art.
In closing, if you are marketing images just to profit off of marketing images you'd likely be better off investing in a stock photo company. Hopefully, you will never find yourself feeling that the creation of art is only as important as the next bank statement. There is more to life than just money -- and the same can be said for art. Furthermore, any art collector worth his or her weight in art will be glad that you took the time to recapture your creative spark, if needed. In my opinion, discovering something new with your art -- your creative process -- is worth more to you than 100 sold paintings. Again, don't be like Ebenezer Scrooge with your art.
Take care, Stay true,