Have you as an artist ever been told by people that you need to adjust your art to what the audience wants? That the reason you’re not selling ‘enough’ is because you’re not thinking commercially enough? Yes?
Most artists know how hard it is to sell their work. In a world packed with free images online and cheap artworks in the Zara Home shop, we struggle with huge competition of businesses that are a hundred times bigger than we are. But if there is the choice to buy a cheap print at Ikea, then why do some people choose to buy a much more expensive original artwork after all? Because an original artwork adds personal value to your life. You feel connected to that one little painting you could barely afford, and that was made by that person whom you like and trust. You know that it took the artist years to develop his skills and talents. So spending your money on that particular person feels a lot better than on a replaceable print from a chain store. Knowing that that artwork is unique and that your neighbour doesn’t have the same image on his wall, makes it even better.
So the job of us artists is not so much to reach that big audience that is out there and devalue our work by adapting to the mainstream mass. Because that would defeat the purpose: it would lose its authenticity. And we are not craftsmen. We are artists. We are autonomous. We decide our own work. Because without freedom there is no creativity.
I believe that as long as we stay close to who we are and to the story we want to tell visually, we will touch the heart of that one customer, who feels connected us and our artwork. Also, as long as we do what is important to us, we will be able to create our best works possible. That takes courage and patience, but so be it!
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