Further art discussions and notifications for the artwork of Sam Thorp

Friday, June 17, 2011


Artistic Integrity

Shepard Fairey's is in question yet again.

You may have seen the recent hubaloo broke by ...of all things.... TMZ.
The question was asked if Shepard still goes out in the middle of the night to put up his posters. This sort of thing is important to street art.
It's about being on the street, part of the culture. The underdog risking life and limb to display art.

Fairey's "street cred" has always been been suspect.
Many at the street level have accused Fairey of being a rich kid playing at graffiti.

He's been taken to court more than once for copyright infringement. First with the image of Andre the Giant, by Andre's surviving family.
And secondly, by the Associated press for the photo of Obama that became the big- deal HOPE poster.

Fairey settled these lawsuits mostly unscathed and claimed the right to "fair- use" and "appropriation" of certain images. But then turned around and sued someone else for appropriating him.

And my favorite is the accusation as to whether or not Shepard Fairy can draw.
"What initially disturbed me about the art of Shepard Fairey is that it displays none of the line, modeling and other idiosyncrasies that reveal an artist’s unique personal style. His imagery appears as though it’s xeroxed or run through some computer graphics program; that is to say, it is machine art that any second-rate art student could produce.

In fact, I’ve never seen any evidence indicating Fairey can draw at all. Even the art of Andy Warhol, reliant as it was upon photography and mass commercial imagery, displayed passages of gestural drawing and flamboyant brushstrokes. "
~ Mark Vallen

But getting back to the original matter:
Does Shepard Fiarey still pound the pavement and risk arrest and injury to display his work?
Does he have to? At this point he's invited to display his art on walls inside and out.
He COULD have just been honest and said something like, "Look guys I used to do that, and it was an invaluable experience, but now things have changed. I've evolved. I've moved on to bigger and better challenges. I still have the utmost respect for the street artists still out there."

He could have explained that his work is in such great demand that he has to resort to a workshop operation, similar to Bernini, Ruebens and the like.

Why not just be honest? Point out the positives, and suggest that most criticism comes from people jealous of his success.
Sure some would have called him a sell out... but they do anyway.
See, I don' t see selling out as the big crime here. Artist's "sell out" all the time. Hip-hop (Street art's musical cousin) sells out constantly, they write songs about. People don't give them a hard time, because they know that is the point of most hip-hop. They are honest about it.

When you lie or deceive you constantly worry about getting caught. that someone will out you. And then you look 10x worse cause you got caught lying. And then people get to make fun of you for it.
I think it's way better to just be honest. Cause they ARE striking images. If he wants the respect of his colleagues and critics.. start with honesty.

If YOU want respect of your colleagues, i suggest you start with honesty which leads to integrity.
If you're doing something you don't want anyone to find out about... maybe you shouldn't do it.
If you have nothing to hide then "they" have nothing to use against you.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Do Reproductions Devalue Original Artwork?

Solution: Make more art.

You are only competing with yourself. Why should anyone pay full price for an original painting when they can get the cheaper version?
No really. How DO you justify charging such a high price for an original?
I'm serious. Think about that.
What exactly IS the valuable part in your art?
Is it the skill that went into making it?
The materials used?
The uniqueness of it?
What IS IT?
People will spend money on all sorts of things: BBQ grills, large screen TV's, they will spend $75 to fill up their gas tank. Why SHOULD they spend the money for your original work?
Once you know this and can articulate it; it may help you in actually selling the original. (Yes art must be SOLD. Like anything else. )

Secondly, Why is your "high price" that high?
Consider the basic concept of supply and demand when it comes to your art?
What is the demand for it? And how are you supplying it?
Is there a way you can increase the demand?
Many artists don't really know how to price their art, so the cheap prints are a way of covering their arse, their safety net.
Maybe realistic pricing and selling skills are needed. Not prints.
I witnessed an artist try to sell a charcoal drawing that was un-matted and unframed and thumbtacked to a wall. Why would I pay thousands of dollars for something you poked holes in to and couldn't bother to frame properly? Really, if you are asking for $5,000 you could have at least framed it.
I don't offer prints, but I will offer the prep sketches that went into the work. So maybe someone who can't afford the a painting (or if the painting has already sold) they can still get something original, and done personally by me. I make a variety of art, small things that can be sold for under $100. I offer a selection.

If people buy the copies and not the original you have to be on guard that you are not relying on the prints and neglecting the sale of the originals.
Or the production of originals. I've met artists kept selling the same prints over and didn't bother to make new work because if it.
Don't let this happen to you.

If you really want to sell multiples and bring your art to the masses; consider making actual prints from the start.
Intaglio, Lithographs, serigraphs, woodcuts and so many other options to make an legitimate print. Look into this. A legitimate prints beats a glorified color copy any day.

The only case where I recommended prints was with an artist whose work was so meticulous and time consuming that she could only put out a few pieces per year. And demand for her work is high and getting higher.* She could have cheapened the production of the art to speed things up, but I recommended a few prints to satisfy patrons. A FEW. Limited editions.
Again the fact that there are only 50 (or whatever) of these made and each are signed & numbered by the artist makes them valuable.

And one final thought on this: if you become so ...accustomed... running your art through a color copier; how would you stop someone else from doing the same thing? What if a print buyer makes some copies for his/her friends? Scanners and copies could make a copy of a copy with little degradation. How would you keep track of these prints?


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