Popular Section: The Place of Art

The Value of Art – Individual vs Humanity

ariane of smartist_value of art and humanity

A fellow artist sent me the link to this post because she knew that I’ve been chewing on the question “What is the value of art?”

What fascinates me is how this post, and the comments, focus on value through the consumer lens of an individual, potential collector or buyer asking, Why should I buy this?

Yes, I can see how artists ponder what motivates someone to purchase art (or not) from either an emotional, status, or investment perspective (the only three values offered in the post).

Yet I can’t help wondering how

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How Many Hats?

how many hatsThe word “artist” is disarmingly deceptive as a singular noun. It gives the appearance of one thing, like “chair.” Or elephant. Or electrician.

And because we humans are hard wired to use language as our core form of communication, words have a pervasive psychological power on us consciously, subconsciously, and unconsciously.

Without being aware, we sleepwalk into language traps all the time.

Since the word “artist” is singular, we feel as if the artist must also be singular. A painter. A sculptor. A jeweler. Singular, in the same way an electrician sticks to working with electricity.

This sense that, as an artist, you are one thing morphs into another sense, that you should, by all rights, only be doing one thing (like an electrician).

Then, when the reality of “doing,” as an artist, flies in the face of this singular feeling (all I should be doing is making art), a sort of righteous indignation – or resentment – creeps in.

And so begins….

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Let there be light!

Years ago I became aware of how many times, upon meeting me for the first time, someone would ask, “Are you an artist?”

Now, let me be clear. I don’t flaunt orange hair and nose piercings. I don’t even wear flamboyant, artsy clothes. (Pretty, yes. Sometimes beautiful, yes. Just not what I would call “artsy,” which conjures up, in my mind, gorgeous handmade yummies.) And I certainly don’t turn up in torn jeans with paint all over them.

Nevertheless, that question – Are you an artist? – seems to travel everywhere I do. And it always makes me…

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What Makes Great Art Great? (Part 1)

Over the last six years, I’ve asked hundreds of artists how they define success through the unique Vision Questionnaire that the participants in my smARTist Telesummit fill out.

And as surprising as it was to me, an insignificant percentage defined success as producing great art. For the majority, it was an income number coming from their art – anywhere from $20,000 to $500,000 a year.

Maybe it’s because great art is associated with historical figures, museum retrospectives, and millions being thrown down on the auction block. Maybe great feels like shoes too big to fill.

Or it comes tagged with the age-old response that great is in the eye of the beholder, i.e., too subjective to pin down.

Or for women artists the persistent patriarchal overlay on great means it’s an exercise in futility, while for men great becomes a challenge that might best them even as they are doing their best.

What would change if great was not only definable, but also…

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