Most popular paintings?
People’s tastes in art (more specifically painting) is an interesting subject.
Interesting too, the many verbal responses that are made to a given piece of work.
The responses are of course diverse to say the least.
But most artists like to hear that their work is appreciated. We would be lying, if we said we didn’t.
There is the age-old discussion, of course, concerning whether an artist should be ‘true to himself’, and paint what he really wants to paint, uninfluenced by what has the most success -commercially.
This bench-mark, is even more applicable to fine art, rather than e.g. graphic design, where the customer is (almost) always right. The fulfilling of the customers brief is more important than the artists own preferences.
There is also the different categories the art buying public or art lovers fall into.
There is no doubt that many have a nodding acquaintance with art theory, and don’t wish to pursue any interest in it, further than ‘liking what they see’ (or not).
Some though, are engrossed in what makes the artist tick.
Others are more interested in whether the piece they are responding to in his collection, will suit the room they have in mind, for it’s display.
I suppose if the artist is also trying to earn a living, he should not feel guilty (in fine art), of painting to please.
And of course fine art was once also commercial art, to a large degree – i.e. painted to please the ‘patron’.
The suffering artist – poor and rejected – who paints his genius – ’til death us do part – selling little – but staying true to his own ‘vision’, is a kind of lingering concept or misconception, depending on who or what you apply it to.
I’m not sure that the idea/concept of a painter who fits the ‘scraping a living’ category carries the same weight as before.
This characterisation I think, perhaps, has been made obsolete because of how the world has moved on digitally and in other ways. (perhaps I should qualify this statement with – in the context of the West of course).
Somehow painting, though not dead, seems to no longer fit this set-apart highly esteemed ‘reserve of geniuses’ category.
Maybe we can’t quite define what has changed – but something has.
Amidst an image-glutted world, somehow the vision of a person standing in a freezing garret behind a canvas with paint brushes in his hand, covered in oil paint – is the relic of a bygone era (?).
And yet painting is still an extremely popular pursuit, the fact being established both by the number of people still painting, and the average ‘non-arty’ person who still thinks of PAINTING as art prima facie, or the raison d’être of artistic pursuit.
People still like to tell you that they ‘can’t draw a straight line’. Usually meaning that they still recognise art as something you are, or are not, gifted to do.
This of course (in my view) isn’t true – but they are of the opinion that it is.
Painting will survive – but it’s ranking, and how it is perceived is changing.
How it is considered, perceived, or judged, is also subject to the particular age group that is discussing it.
Some of the older generation, like to think that they are ‘cool’ and up-to-date and embracing of new ideas, but sometimes fail to realise that their references for what is important, (i.e. in censoring good or bad art) – is time warped. (By which I don’t mean – that their conclusions are necessarily wrong).
Then there is the moral side of things – where the banal in art has been exalted to a place, once reserved for so called high art. (I think of the title of a book by H. R. Rookmaaker: Modern Art and the Death of a Culture.)
People who appreciate a lot of the banal in conceptual art – don’t (forgive the generalisation) recognise any longer – good, bad or ugly categorisations. It’s all just – well, – conceptual.
‘Fads and fancies’ are built into our human personality – and sometimes this is all that changing taste is about.
Only it is deemed unsophisticated to admit this.
Those into surveys and statistics should try to find out by consensus – what the average person, art lover or not (all should be included in this survey) – finds most appealing when it comes to paintings.
Going by my own blog and the variety of the work I have posted – I think it is safe to say that the naturalistic renditions seem to have the edge, when it comes to acquiring the most ‘likes’. But factored into this conclusion must be the fact that I have a limited audience.
Will this inspire me then to paint more of the naturalistic kind of work? Hmmm? Not really.
I do like to please, and my friends have received as a gift, pieces of work they have admired.
When I was more into selling my work than I am now – my intuitive work and my naturalistic work were probably on a par, when it came to successful selling.
Although my primary purpose is not to sell, on this blog, I notice too that no one (in my limited audience) has inquired about possible purchases.
So all the more reason to continue to paint what I want to paint.
I am not dependent on my art for an income, which is nice.
Also with regard to this blog, as some will know, who visit here regularly, I’m quite preoccupied with being the ‘Preacher man’.
(I Corinthians 9/16)
I would be interested to hear what you think is still the most popular kind of art (painting), bearing in mind that the blogosphere is so culturally diverse.
By that I do not mean to ask about my own art on this blog, but art out there in today’s world. What your observations are concerning your own sphere/locality – when it comes to folks buying art, or offering opinion regarding preferences.
Meantime – Pleasant viewing.