Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Big Box Stores

I'll be the first one to admit I don't know crap about the painter's art.  I wouldn't know a good painting from a bad one but I find it all interesting.  I was in my local "Box Store" the other day and there they were!  On display and lined up row after row were "real paintings', about 3' X 4', on real canvass, imported "Art" from China!  Mostly modern abstracts too with brush strokes from wire brushes, blobs from pallet knives so thick they hadn't cured yet.  All on sale for $79.
   They have the colors right, earth shades, colors from the sun, stuff to match my couch, something for everyone!  This must be discouraging for artists, those of you who paint one painting at a time and agonize over each inch of your work.  These are "factory pieces", done in a warehouse, where one gessos, another does the background, someone else the splotches, and on down the line.
   Truly I cannot tell the difference.  I have friends who paint and sell their work in the four thousand dollar range and I can't distinguish their work from these $79 pieces!  One is purchased from a big box store and another from a gallery.
   I think there is something special about owning a piece you paid four thousand dollars for.  It becomes something to talk about and people like that.  Art buyers are a bit of  a gamblers too and like the stock market there is a chance for a good return on the investment.  A four thousand dollar painting is treated with more respect than its seventy nine dollar counterpart.
   It is no different in the metal arts.  All sorts of things are imported in the famous brown cardboard boxes.
It seems that every backyard in American has the same Costco $79 trellis.  I couldn't make one for $79 if I did it for free.  My materials cost more than that.  The powder coating costs more than that.
   I think that is one reason that some artists are producing really big pieces, say four feet by eight feet!  It narrows the playing field and is not in competition with the imported factory pieces.


Barbra Joan said...

Oh Jerry, you have touched a nerve today... Yes, sofa art ... and I worked for an American artist in Deerfield Beach Fl. Walcutt Studio around 1982-83?
He did the first original,I guess, I never saw that.. a big warehouse, huge canvas. About 5 people put their touch to .. sky blue background, some sand , grasses and maybe a seashell or two. then he signed it..
Paint everywhere!!floors, ceilings, walls and me.
I stood for 7 hours just like an assembly line ... I was the 'finisher' because I couldn't get the hang of those big house paint brushes...
They were packed up, shipped out to hotels, hospitals, offices, etc. Yeah, here in America too.!!! And all the time, I was painting my small oils, ( I was in my 'oil period' LOL! Yes, I sold now and then but I couldn't feed myself on it. Hey, maybe I could go back there and get a job... BJ

Constance Stanza Extravaganza Extraordinaire said...

Jerry they do even worse than that! Beijing hit one of my paintings on FAA, every day, several times a day for a about 6 weeks doing just that. Apparently they put the artwork on a huge screen and there are dozens of people who copy the painting, churning out huge quantities of "original art" to be shipped and sold to buyers like Walmart for next to nothing. Even if I had the means and resources to employ a copyright lawyer, it would cost a fortune and take many years with no satisfactory result at the end. So a lot of us have to make the decision of either not having our work on the Internet or accepting that these are "only cheap copies" of what took a lot of time and soul! There is no way the artists can win here.

How about "Dying is easy it's living that scares me to death"?

AutumnLeaves said...

Quite interesting discussion here, Jer. I'm like you and wouldn't know the difference either, especially if it is abstract art. Heck. I can't even tell the difference between an original painting and a print on canvas! And I try to think of myself as an artist! And yet, I am rather an art snob despite it all. The $79 Costco trellis isn't nearly as beautiful as what you create, Jerry. You have a personal touch and lovely artistic achievements in your pieces.

Dan Kent said...