May 12

Art and the Economy – Hit or Miss!

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Art and the Economy – Hit or Miss!

I’m neither steeped nor astute enough on the world art scene to dissemble what artists are attempting to tell us today. My guess it would be that as world citizens we need more than ever to find ways to live in harmony with each other and with our environment.

John Powell is a Jamaican artist who I met through my guest blogging on Absolute Arts. It is a wonderful by-product of being involved with the Internet that we get to meet people from just about anywhere. Though we have never met, I consider him a friend and appreciate the efforts he has put into not only creating a body of work, but prodigiously promoting it. He hasn't let living in a Caribbean island nation keep him from being in touch with collectors and others who can help him grow his stature as an artist.

John turned guest blogger himself on Absolute Arts in the April 25 slot. His topic was titled the same as the subject of this post. In his article, Art and the Economy – Hit or Miss!, he makes some very insightful and thought provoking comments about how art is an accurate predictor of the economy. To his mind, more so than Wall Street. I commend you to read it.

I had this to say about his comments:

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John,

You make an eloquent and erudite point about art and its importance on many levels. Art teaches us, it provokes us, it touches emotions and expresses them visually when words fail us.

I don't have a timeline on art and the economy through the ages. But, I sense your instincts and perceptions regarding it are valid, perhaps now more than ever. Whatever the case, I agree art is a leading factor and those who know how to interpret what it is saying stand to benefit from it.

In their day, the Impressionists were reviled for breaking tradition of realistic and allegorical paintings. Their work foretold the huge changes about to unravel in the early 20th Century. Their loose interpretation was a maverick style unacceptable to the art cognoscenti of the day. But, it was a response to the coming machine age of mass made products and marvelous inventions that transformed daily lives.

The Impressionists' lives and work straddled the period of horse and buggy to the introduction of motor cars, electricity in homes and assembly lines. I think it was a revolt against the past hidebound way of creating art and it was a statement against the uniformity that machines and mass production brought on.

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I'm neither steeped nor astute enough on the world art scene to dissemble what artists are attempting to tell us today. My guess it would be that as world citizens we need more than ever to find ways to live in harmony with each other and with our environment. Certainly, your country's most famous artist, Bob Marley, was an early adopter of such a philosophy. And, what a profound effect his work has made around the globe.

Thanks for writing such an insightful and thought provoking article!

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About the Author

I help artists and photographers find buyers, sell more art and operate profitably.

Barney Davey

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  1. You make some excellent points. I think it is always easier to “predict” both art and societal trends in retrospect. In my opinion, the work of the “Impressionists”–a title given them after a show, by a critic–was embraced and remembered because it resonated with later events. Many other art trends were, I am sure, current at the time, but have been forgotten. In any field, most “greats” of the time fall quickly into the compost heap of irrelevancy. Just look at all that abstract expressionism stored in NYC climate-controlled vaults. I like abstract expressionism, by the way, and create a great deal of it myself. I agree with the Remodernists. I believe the work of the Modernists was not resolved. In a time when some are longing for some kind of 21st century Middle Ages during which “Faith” overcomes logic and science, for me, painting is the great Middle Way. It melds mind, emotion, and spiritual experience. Painting, unlike sculpture or installation, is inherently abstract. It is a two-dimensional medium, which makes it like no other visual experience (save drawing and photography)in our physical world.

    Of course, there is now digital art, which I do, as well. It is amazing in a different way. In a very real sense its only dimension, like that of poetry, is time. As I write this, I am getting chills. I have been a poet since childhood–I know it’s dumb, but I can’t help it (winks)–and now I see something, out of the corner of my eye. I’ll have to get back to you…

  2. I’d just like to leave a comment about what concerns artists today. I took one of my paintings to the Florence Biennale in 2007. The work was a triptych called “This Sacred Place” and was about the drying up over time and the shifting patterns of rainfall in the western deserts of Australia near where I live. I noticed a lot of people stopped and looked and read the comments, then looked again more closely. Some came and spoke with me and it was amazing how many people are really concerned about this and don’t know how to express it so they appreciate that I’d painted on this theme and was trying to raise consciousness of the planet’s plight. I was awarded fifth primo which was an honour to not only myself, but an acknowledgement of the work itself.

    In 2007, a work I created with fellow artist, Ngari Reynolds, a collaborative work on land and water management was purchased by the Australia Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Water, Heritage and the Arts. The work sits at the entrance to the Climate Change Conference Rooms in Canberra and both Ngari and I hope that as people attend the conference that they take time to look at our works and understand what we are saying.

    There are many, many artists working on this theme as art is the consciousness of humanity, submerged at the moment by other issues I’m sure, but they still reflect the bigger issues and where we are headed.

    Thank you for your blog. I find it always very informative and interesting.

    Kind regards
    Joy from Australia.

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