Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Interesting but not fulfilling

Well the four day show and sale (see last post) proved to be an interesting little tidbit, but not exactly filling or satisfying in any way!

Here is a couple of photographs that demonstrate this:














Notice the vast amount of interest being given to the quilts by these customers!!  One is looking at t-shirts and the other at jewelry.  The overall impression I got from the public was that while they loved the quilts, what they really wanted to buy was  either stuff with which they could adorn themselves rather than their walls, or, “safe” useful items to give as gifts.  I really think you have to be in the art world in some way to want to own some art and also to feel that art is a worthwhile expenditure.   I did sell some items: the two quilts I had discounted heavily, a couple of watercolors and one of the shadow boxes which is great.  But every piece went to an artist or an art teacher. 

Is this a reflection of art no longer being taught in our schools? If you’ve never made art you don’t realise its worth both in monetary terms and in how much it can add to your life?  I think this is probably so.  I know there are things of which I have no appreciation (sports for example) because I grew up in a totally sport-free environment.  Also I am “eat-to-live” rather than “live-to-eat” having had a father for a cook who thought that the way to fry rice was to empty a box of it into a frying pan.  “What’s for tea, Dad?” we would ask when we came home from school.  “It’s a mistake” he would reply!  We learned a lot from all those “mistakes” we ate!

I also think the lack of awareness of the value of art is a result of television.  We are bombarded from birth with advertisements many of which suggest that improving how we look (by virtue of the products being advertised) will bring us sex, money, fame and success.  Have you ever seen real paintings, or beautiful artifacts or art quilts being advertised on television??   Have you ever seen a well endowed young woman (or man for that matter, though endowed somewhat differently!) draped over an art quilt?

Furthermore, now that the financial crisis is upon us I notice that communities (ours included) are saying oh one place we can easily save money is the one percent for art idiocy that we used to do.  So there will be even less awareness of art in our futures, and, more importantly, in our children’s futures. 

And are those one-percenters buying art?  Or are they buying more and more houses in exotic places, so many that they don’t know how many they actually own?

However, I am most grateful that there are few artists and art lovers around who do still appreciate art!! Thank you so much for your encouragement!  And now, back to the sewing machine….if you have been, thanks for reading!  And do write in with your comments, the cogitations of others are much more interesting than my own!  Elizabeth

PS C&T just brought out a nice little postcard book: 30 “architectural quilt” postcards of which 7 were ones I made I’m happy to say – though I couldn’t stretch them to include any of the industrial architecture!



Anonymous said...

My personal theory is that it's Ikea and the like: all those "arty" prints you can buy for £5.99, framed and ready to hang on the wall. Why pay more?

Elsie Montgomery said...

I once had an agent who sold my paintings. Occasionally I didn't like a piece and didn't want to put it out there and he quipped, "The people who know the least about art always buy the worst paintings."

Karen said...

I also think that it is hard to keep that awareness of art alive in the general community. During difficult financial times the tendency is to think that scarce funds can only be used for things of 'necessity', and for some reason art is not included in that. But then the same people who think that are also ones that still buy those bigger houses, or have 2 or 3 cars per household and so on. The increasing materialism seems to lead to less deep appreciation of beauty.

Kit Lang said...

To Cally's point - when my spouse and I travel, we like to buy a small piece of original art from a local artist to commemorate our visit there. We just got back yesterday from five days in Savannah, GA and three days in Charleston (note: if you ever have the opportunity - please do so in reverse!)

We purchased a lovely small water colour from a local artist in Savannah, and were looking for something simliar in Charleston, only from one of the Gulla Geech artist/sans as we were very interested in their culture.

We were pleased to find a shop that sold only the work of Gulla Geech artists, and HORRIFED to find that along with the usual offerings of original work and signed & numbered prints both framed and unfraed, they offered HUNDREDS of prints for $5.00 each.

We bought a large, framed original piece that we both fell in love with and had shipped home (and, at a kiosk in their market, a small original watercolour direct from the artist); but while we were in the store having everything arranged, perhaps 15 people came through, and of the sales that were made all but one were of these $5.00 prints.

If art is offered at such disposable prices - I mean less than a coffee and muffin - why would anyone appreciate the value or wonder of the real thing, offered beside it for a couple of thousand dollars?

It was really shocking to us.

Anonymous said...

Can't speak for people that have a decent amount of disposable income, but for those of us firmly in the 'middle class' that used to have some disposable income that we'd spend on art and other non-necessities - we can no longer afford it. The salary for my field hasn't increased in over 10 years. I no longer even quilt as much as I'd like because I simply can't afford to.

As for art not being taught or respected as important for social development and well-being - that's a whole different issue.

PJ said...

I read all your posts and love the very thought provoking issues you bring up. I don't find to many writings that really make me ponder. Thanks so much for your art and your posts. Hope to join you class again at Quilt University.

Pam J from Oregon