Should artwork match the couch? At what point does art cross over from being decorative to becoming “fine”? As an artist, should one try to attract art collectors, art dealers, interior decorators, or mass markets?
My experience so far has been that decorative, relatively inexpensive, reproducible, and generally useful stuff sells okay here in Stone Mountain Village and online: “I need a gift for my mom’s birthday;” “I want to take home a souvenir;” “I like these earrings.” But anything experimental or laden with secondary meaning gathers dust on the wall; it may receive a nod of the head and/or a second glance but people don’t want it displayed at home. They might see it as cleverly creative, but they don’t want to pay for that ingenuity nor become identified with its originality.
Is this a matter of economics, philosophy, or sensibilities?
I probably won’t be successful selling my artwork until I figure out the answer to these questions. Some of my collages have unintended secondary meanings, some of them are just pretty, and most all of them display a unique technique. But, in my opinion, none are GREAT ART, the kind collectors and dealers are willing to pay high prices for. I can sell notecards with reproductions of my art or tissue-papered Christmas ornaments because they have a certain usefulness and cost under $10, but a matted and framed collage containing hand-cut symbols of modern life just isn’t for the masses.
Maybe there’s another way to make some money: We Stone Mountain Village Artists have been approached by a business in Atlanta that rents props, furniture, and artwork to the film industry. They are trying to rebuild their inventory of artwork after changes in copyright laws have rendered their existing stash unusable. What would my collages look like in the background of an episode of The Walking Dead or Resurrection? Does renting out my artwork make more sense than displaying it in art shows and online or trying to sell it on Main Street in Stone Mountain Village?
In the meantime, however unsatisfying it is, I’ve been working on a line of decorative holiday items that just MIGHT sell here in the gallery. To heck with being cleverly creative and trying to communicate anything!