There was a time when art was something that was only for the very rich. Throughout history, there have been movements to make art available to the commonfolk, but the ones that were of any value were inevitably hijacked by rich folk. The remaining movements would be relegated to the world of kitsch. This is a mark of a very inefficient market: When there’s plenty of supply, the price should go down. But then, why has there been such exclusivity with art? Is it true that only very very talented people can produce good art? Something tells me, no.
Rather, I tend to believe that art is and always has been, for the most part at least, all about marketing – about perception. Look at Jackson Pollack. Is he good? Without question. Did he invest something remarkable? Of course. But is he all that unique? Not at all. Some would counter, yes, but he did it first. No, he was just the first to be discovered. He was the first that got legitimacy from the art world. That’s the only difference.
But we are evolving. Our civilization is changing. In some ways it is for the bad, but at least for art’s sake, it is mostly for the good. In our evolving information civilization, artists, like musicians, might not have the same opportunity to become incredibly famous. But certainly there are more opportunity for a wider number of artists than there ever have been.
Etsy, believe it or not, is on the vanguard of this movement. We might think of Etsy as a place to buy overpriced scented candles made my a homemaker in Utah or something. But it has been serving as a place for artists who actually want to make money to sell their goods. These artists are less concerned with showing their work in a gallery and more concerned with getting their work in the homes of consumers. Isn’t this the definition of kitsch you may ask. Yes, at least it used to be. But like I said, we are on the edge of a cultural revolution.
Take a look at Valdas Misevičius, an artist from Lithuania. His art is incredible. He makes unique original etchings using copper plate, german etching paper, and carbone black etching ink. His figures are haunting, simple, and yet impossible to look away from. Here is what one reviewer said, “I bought this piece for a friend who has nurtured me through a lot of tension and anxiety. This will remind him of his loving embrace and caring nature. The artist expresses it so well here.”
Linda Monfort is an artist who works in her studio on Burnsworth, North Carolina. Her work is in abstract expressionism and she paints with acrylic paints on canvas. Her work may not have the recognition of an icon of abstract expressionism, but it is as beautiful without a doubt.
My favorite photographer on etsy (and there are a great many) is currently Andrew Kaiser. His work is mostly described as “fine art nudes and landscapes” but mostly they are nudes (in a landscape). He believes firmly in the “art-for-all” ideology. While it is certain he would be welcome in the world’s finest galleries, he sticks to creating and selling art to us masses. He puts it best, “I am a big believer that art should not be something only wealthy patrons can afford. I try to keep my prices low so everyone out there can enjoy and collect original pieces of art.”
He works with Black and White Film, Ilford HP5, Mamiya C330 TLR, Camera, Ilford Photo Paper, and his pieces typically run you about $20.