A few years ago, there was a Dutch YouTube video that showed two guys playing a prank on a bunch of unsuspecting art lovers. They placed an inexpensive IKEA print in their Museum for Modern Art and fooled many art lovers into believing it was the real deal. The fact that they were fooled was surprising, and it makes one wonder how businesses like Ikea and Hobby Lobby are killing the art market.
Commercial art used to be reserved for print advertising and the media, but today, it is an industry that is included in many business ventures. There are artists who specialize in mass-produced hotel art, or there are artists who make collections for big box stores. The idea is different from fine art in that the purpose of this art is to sell it, which cheapens the artistic process.
Speaking of cheap, commercial art is affordable when compared to fine art. A painting of a woman at a bistro with a bouquet of flowers seems to be fine art when hung on a wall, but it’s really a $14.99 Hobby Lobby “masterpiece.” The price point of commercial art allows everyone the financial ability to enjoy art in their homes. This makes many people opt for mass-produced options because they glean the same enjoyment from these pieces.
Fine art, on the other hand, is not created to be sold. It is created for the sake of the art. The artist may have a successful career in painting, but his or her artwork is not simply a job. Fine art may be appreciated in a similar fashion to commercial art, which is why the Ikea hoax worked so well. Both are visually enjoyable, but the intent behind fine art is completely different.
As a result, you won’t see commercial art hanging in a museum because it does not encompass art’s intended purpose of expression. Fine art is more valuable than commercial art because it expresses deep emotion or meaning, and it is unique. That purpose may be expressed in terms of brush stroke, color, or many other art methods that highlight technique and passion for the field. You may see some of these techniques in mass-produced art but only because someone has determined that it would be more marketable.
Is Commercial Art Killing the Art Market?
One may consider commercial art a forgery of the artistic process, but that would be like calling someone who writes books with the intent of publishing them a fraud. Instead, it is a reality that changes the face of the art market but does not eliminate the value of fine art. Fine art belongs to the artist, and their art is a piece of them on canvas. Commercial art instead belongs to the consumer. It is beautiful, but its mass-production makes it ordinary. True art lovers will always opt for fine art as an appreciation of the artistic process.
Have an awesome day.
dei gratia, Milessa