Who benefits from art and artists

When you look at art for sale, it can sometimes seem the artist is probably under drugs and wants to extremely profit from their paintings, drawings or other type of art. It seems so.
I once asked a lady who was enquiring about my paintings: do you know anybody who would work for about two months, every day, about 6-8 hours a day and then receive for all this work 200 bucks minus materials? It isn’t that I tried to get her to pay more or whatever, it’s just the reality.
She was a nice lady, and she honestly said she didn’t know anybody who would work on such terms. I could add to this that I don’t know either, except fellow artists who for different reasons are in the same boat.
A brief list of these who benefit not only from  full-time artists, but anybody who creates art and tries to sell their art:
companies that make pencils, papers, tracing papers, graphite papers, drawing sketching, watercolor and all kinds of art papers,
companies that manufacture canvas, canvas panels, canvas boards, stretcher bars and canvas fabric,
companies that make paints, pigments, mediums for paints, solvents, vanishes, and all kinds of chemicals that are necessary for putting paint on canvas or paper at different stages or preserving the ready art,
companies that make easels, supports and all kinds of frame manufacturers, framing places and manufacturers of framing supplies, that includes mats, matting paper, glass, Plexiglas and similar materials;
every artists needs a website or blog, as well as social media presentation, so there are lots of platforms and hosting companies which sell everything from security certificates, to software for managing website, hosting, themes, plugins and many tools in order the website stayed functional;
companies that manufacture computers, tablets, ipads, cameras, video cameras and phones since we need to get the image somewhat captured and transferred to online space;
any landlord who leases studio or showroom space;
any utility provider who sells power, gas and water to the studio;
any show, gallery, exhibition, fair, including juried shows, online competitions and online shows which charge a fee for putting the artwork out there;
any online sales or art print sales provider which charges membership fee and commission;
money collecting and payment processing companies, i. e. Paypal, banks, etc.
That is not the entire list, and to some extent it is similar to expenses that are inevitable for any freelance or self-employed person, but the creation of art is definitely at the higher end of expenses, costs of materials and time consumption.
Artist obviously pays for paints, paper, canvasses, frames and framing, fees for shows and gallery representation and any utilities, as well as monthly payment for studio regardless of whether there is going to be some profit or not. Even when the art ends up in the waste basket, it still involves cost.
I know one would say: anybody who creates a product must create it first and there is never a guarantee of selling it. True, however, most products which are 100% unique, handmade and original sell for much more than the materials and labor that goes into them.
So, we have arrived at the most crucial question: who enables the artist to benefit? Who makes it possible for the artist to profit from their talent, work and efforts?
The artist can only profit from his or her clients who purchase the work whether as a product with art image on or in it, or as an original painting and drawing.
That is you. Somebody who loves and appreciates art. Somebody who has some money and is willing to spend it not on food, not on outfit, not on make-up or furniture, but art. Art is not a medication and it won’t cover you as a blanket, but it can feel that way, too. I know people who can stand for half an hour at some of my paintings and they feel exactly that: warmth and energy, and healing power.
I hope when you go to an art show next time and when you look at some painting, you will be aware that along with artist’s efforts, talent, time and soul there goes in a lot of other expense. That is an expense which is not covered quite frequently.
Being a freelance writer and artist is not easy by any means. There is a lot of insecurity: I do not know when some new work request arrives, I cannot ever guess with certainty when some painting will sell. I obviously cannot work when I’m not well, and that causes other problems. The domino effect.
Why to do this? At the present moment, this is the only option I have.
I am not sure if I will have to post something else before I fly to Latvia next Monday, yes, I unintentionally have chosen the full solar eclipse day, but whatever; I am presenting a few paintings which come as result of giving the flower painting class.

Lovely pinks

I compared also Arches 300 paper with Saunders Waterford 300.

Saturday rose

Sunday rose, Daily Paintworks, Sunday rose

Unfortunately, both papers were not bright white. If you have enough time to dry paper decently between layers, Arches is better. It is very easy to paint on it. However, I did not have time to dry paper, so Saunders Waterford was better because it does not keep flowing that much.


Anyway, Sunday rose is for sale on Daily Paintworks, and everything is always available from me and on this website.

16 Replies to “Who benefits from art and artists”

  1. Inese you have really “hit the nail on the head”. It makes you wonder why any of us do it. It is easy to think that when your paintings don’t sell it is because you are not a good artist, but I have since realised that people may love them but not want to buy. I don’t know how you get round that!

    1. Thanks Christa!
      Even when having some sales, these sales rarely cover everything that goes into painting.
      It is the global cheap and cheaper strategy which puts an artist literally in a box: if you want the art to be good, you need good quality materials which are very expensive.
      Most people do not know the difference between a print and an original. So, the price of original might seem absurd.
      I also believe art sales, especially direct sales depend very much on location.
      When there is no educated traffic walking around, who are you going to sell?
      I can tell you what sells: small to medium size very inexpensive paintings sell here where I am, I also noticed the same is true for Daily Paintworks.

      1. Yes in this part of the world too it is the smaller, cheaper paintings that sell. In this climate of image overload on the internet (which is not a bad thing in itself), it is hard to comprehend the amount of hours involved in creating anything. This applies to anything handmade.

        1. I was just thinking: hand-made versus China-made or similar. Appreciation has gone wrong ways.
          Nevertheless, selling or not selling isn’t actually the crucial or main part of creating art, it is just so that we are confronted with this part time to time. Also the assumption that somebody with large financials is going to stop by and purchase the art is dumb because multi-millionaires and multi-billionaires do not search through the internet for anything. Everything goes by trend which is absurd in case of art because it decreases the purpose of creation.
          When some artists’s works are suddenly promoted to an insane extent there is way more behind the scenes.
          Virtually, anybody could be made a sensation. All it takes is a lot of money and frequent reminding how outstanding this work is. People believe everything that is repeated frequently enough. We are seeing this on a daily basis: it is possible to feed the crowd any idea or any impulse to action by massive advertising and by persistent pushing.

  2. This is a wonderful summary of what it is like to be an artist and the challenges of the world that we live in. I have a house full of art made by people I know. I love this, and the fact that they are people I know. I will always support the artist that has poured their heart into something – and I will always save for that if necessary.

    1. Thanks Mary! It is so wonderful that there are many people like you who understand the importance of support.
      I do experience rarely such support, and I probably need to be more pro-active once my health returns.

  3. The roses are beautiful. This post would also apply to crafters. We work hard on our projects, spending much time sewing, selecting the materials we need carefully and trying to finish the items in a professional way. But people just don’t want to pay the price.

    1. I know. I do a lot of sewing, too. I am recently doing it only for myself because the cost of supplies and additional materials is high. I believe the cheap products which are made everywhere else outside of Canada or the USA (like in China, India, Sri Lanka, etc.) really have cheapened everything. People who craft and create things are aware that there is absolutely no comparison between the hand-made and one-of-a-kind unique things which are always made of good quality materials and the cheap, mass-produced stuff which arrives from abroad. We cannot explain this to absolutely everybody, we simply hope that this typ of activity will be appreciated and also bought. It doesn’t happen often, but we have to try and try again to convince the buyers that by purchasing the original and real things they are not overpaying, but getting a goo quality product.

  4. I think you might be very interested in a ted talk I recently watched – it’s linked in my recent post, August Edit. It’s all about the transformating of how artists live and work in our current age … touching on money etc.

    As someone who dreams of becoming an artist, this resonates deeply with me. Loved this article, and so glad I came across your blog x

    Abby – http://www.seafoaming.com

    1. Thanks Abby! I do a lot of things, but one big part is being an artist. Everything was quite acceptable until my health started to give me hard times. This is a moment when money becomes an issue because I normally do not make any financial assumptions part of a painting process. Art business isn’t something which is directly involved in painting. Lots of people please market and customers or both, and there are also these who would love to make some income, but they are too much of artists as compared to marketers and business people.

    1. Thanks Sue! Mentally, there is a huge improvement, physically, well, I had some problems. I am going home soon to apply all the new and good knowledge and inspiration. I have plenty of that.

Your comment is greatly appreciated