“Why Does Art Cost So Much?” (Part one – Intro)

Monk piggy bank

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“Why does [art] cost so much?”  This is a question that I have heard more times than you can imagine over the last 10 years.   So often, I am choosing to  address this query here, where I can reach a larger audience.

This conversation cannot start without discussing the most prevalent myth about artists – that all (or most) artists starve and live as paupers, mooching off those around them.  The perception of the starving artist is a cultural conversation, most prevalent in the United States.

Professional artists are just that, professionals.   Many of us are educated with degrees in our field*.  We pursue continuing education in business development and the expansion of our technical knowledge.  We not only manufacture the product (the art), we also handle the marketing, managing, finance and every other aspect of our business.   We work hard to produce excellent quality art and position ourselves in our own unique niche in an expansive marketplace.

Artists in the United States often have one or more jobs to support ourselves while we develop our business.   (I cannot speak for artists in other countries, which is why I am working hard to get “Ask an Artist” going.)  It takes a tremendous amount of courage, dedication, wherewithall and a strong work ethic to achieve our goals.

Now that we have established professional artists as business people, we can move on to discuss the details of why art costs what it does.  Stay tuned!

Continued in Part Two – Materials.

* Did you know:  a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (the type many professional artists have) takes five years to complete and includes a thesis year?

© 2010 Amy Buchheit All Rights Reserved

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About Amy Buchheit

I am a Signature Member of the International Society of Acrylic Painters and an Ambassador for Artist Trust. I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Marylhurst University and have exhibited on regional, national and international levels since 2000. I am committed to connecting with the viewer through my work - stirring buried emotions to the surface for further inspection and introspection. The inspiration for my art comes from direct observations, research of subjects I am passionate about and personal experiences. For more information about my art, workshops and exhibitions, visit my website at http://www.amybuchheit.com. My blog "Fantastic Voyage" can be found at http://www.amybuchheit.wordpress.com, and I can be found on Facebook under Amy Buchheit Art and on Twitter as @AmyBuchheit.
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10 Responses to “Why Does Art Cost So Much?” (Part one – Intro)

  1. Patrick Ross says:

    Thanks for this post, Amy. It’s critical to dispel the romantic myth of the starving artist. If we buy that myth, then we assume creatives create solely for the experience, and we don’t have to reward them for their creations. Yes, very few creatives are in the stratosphere of financial success, and nearly every creative I know has some other source of income they pursue that may be creative but may not be their core creative passion, but they all deserve to have value applied to their work.

    In a way, a creative work is almost impossible to undervalue. Even if your physical possession is a copy (a digital copy of one of your paintings or photos, a musical recording, an e-book), what that is a copy of never existed before the creator brought it into existence. It is unique. How do you undervalue something unique?

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  9. Carroll says:

    Hi, all is going well here and ofcourse every one is sharing facts, that’s actually excellent, keep up writing.

  10. Beryl says:

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