“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?
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