I feel this year is going to be a critical one for myself and the many other professional artists whose work needs to address the dual imperatives of painting what personally speaks to them along with with the realities of the current art market - the most depressed in recent decades. I have heard some artists say recently that only large size canvases are selling. In contradiction, one of my galleries has started a strategic push to enroll a younger generation of art collectors by offering more smaller sized oil paintings at lower price points. Additionally, there are many artists who are convinced that selling their work through their own art websites, Etsy or Daily Paintworks (rather than brick-and-mortar galleries) is the more efficient and profitable path. Then there is the topic of subject matter - landscape, cityscape, still life, figurative - what is currently selling and what is "dead."
I believe these issues and comments are not much different from the challenges professional artists have been facing for a long time. The demise of physical art galleries by internet art sellers has been predicted for many years, along with the threat of computer graphics replacing brushes and oil paint. The fact is that hand crafted original fine art is timeless, irreplaceable and has maintained its value to society throughout history.
These are my predictions (for what it is worth):
- The art market will slowly recover this year and become more robust in 2015
- Brick and mortar galleries will NOT become obsolete because of internet selling competition. Rather, "legitimate" galleries that focus on high quality professional artwork will be the ones left standing.
- More artists, both amateur and professional, will be augmenting their sales with special (budget) priced art - studies and sketches - sold on the internet via their personal web sites as well as other art selling web services. Artists will continue to place their more significant and higher priced works with galleries.
- Smaller, lower priced artwork will lead the art market's recovery as a new generation of younger collectors emerges. New trends towards urban living in smaller apartments with limited wall space will additionally reduce the sales of large sized paintings in favor of smaller ones.
- Unconventional subject matter, such as cityscapes and modern figurative art, will be more popular with young collectors than conventional pastoral landscapes. Landscape paintings will still remain popular with the overall public, but will represent a smaller percentage of total art sales.
|terminus 6x8 o/p (Confederate Museum, Charleston)|