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Latest in art… or the fate of starving artist

The market for art reflects the relationship between art and society. Typically, markets is a demand driven entity and it does exist  as a creation a society and for societies, since the early ages of art.

The art market has developed with the constantly changing relationship between art and society. An fundamental part of this relationship is, in turn, the relationship between artist and society.

Comparing the Renaissance and Baroque artist to the Abstract Expressionist, it seems valid to suggest that artists today are confronted by more difficult marketing and business decisions than their counterparts. 

In earlier times the notion of art as business and marketing was more apparent that it is today, we are intrinsically addressing the transformation in the role of the artist from artist as craftsman to artist as icon. This shift, over the last four centuries, has played an important role in the way artists are seen by society today.

Take Renaissance and Baroque.  During the Renaissance and Baroque periods, artists had begun to move towards a more iconic identity. However, they were still deeply entwined in a relationship to society that had been developed centuries before.

The artist of that period was regarded as a craftsman, being on the same societal level as carpenters, goldsmiths and guilders. Patronage to a single patron or church was common and subject matter was restricted.

Back in a day art served more of a defined purpose - either strictly religious or plainly decorative. Hence the artist regarded himself as inclined to the side of trade and commerce, with realistic goals and ability to be able to earn money.   In the past the artist ran his workshop in much the same way a administrator or shop keeper would run his business.

The artist’s contemplation of art marketing was vital to its creation, as were sensible business practices and efficient production to make possible to meet the demand. 

Nowdays the term ”starving artist” is no longer a cruel joke but a reality.  It is rare for an artist to make it and kids are often discouraged from pursuing art as a university degree, or generally a career.  It is only a very small percentage that ”makes” it in the art world but the lucky few that do remain inspiration for the ones that try.