I have to say in all my years of marketing for various product types and industries, art is the most challenging.
In traditional marketing and valuation you hear terms such as “perceived value” and “total cost”. It is (or was) intended to show an intrinsic value based upon quality. We see so many artists of supreme quality struggle to get their works sold for the value that should be easily perceived and yet we see some “art” (some of it we stumble on calling it art) sell for millions of dollars and it is very hard to see any “quality or value” for that matter.
I personally feel that this hurts the art market to some degree. The general buying public is confused and has a hard time taking the art market seriously. I like to call the buyers of this type of “expression” elitist collectors. In many cases the actual work of “art” can be created or recreated by the average grade school child. However, the elitist collector becomes enamored with the story behind the work or maybe the artist and/or the “expression” the artist is trying to convey. That coupled with having bajillions of dollars to spend creates a small but focused group of buyers competing for that “out of the box” work and spending way too much money for it.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am someone who believes that you should not create a boundary around what art is. I wonder however if the bajillionaires supported the truly talented we might hear the term “starving artist” less than we do. If anything is to be learned from this I think the proof that you can even make “bad” art and make a lot of money doing it if you have the right marketing plan and are good at execution to the right group of fans.
On Flootie TV, we poke a little fun at this “elitist collector” genre. Pinkies in the air, they attend gatherings and discuss how the work has moved them to tears while we look at it and say “huh”? I laughed when I heard the story of a painting from Matisse called “La Bateau” (The Boat) that hung upside down in the Museum of Modern Art in New York for 47 days before the mistake was caught. I dare not guess at what the value of this “major” work of art might cost! Oh the horror the curator must have felt from the embarrassment and the elitist collectors saying “I thought something was wrong” in their “highbrow” fashion.
So take heart all of you who appreciate quality work from talented artists and can perceive the value of their creations. And artists, be diligent as we reach out to the general public and educate them to the stories and excitement of who you are and why you create what you do. Truth, integrity, knowledge and hard work eventually always wins.