Friday 01st April 2016Happy April!
Well, ladies and gentlemen, another April has arrived at long last, and in honour of our favourite spring month, we've decided to do a short roundup of various art news stories that have come across our desk this morning.
First off, we have to report the incredibly unlikely tale of Banksy, everyone's favourite (or perhaps lately, increasingly less so) street artist. After a career that has thrived upon the anonymity that is typical of the graffiti artist, fuelling endless speculation, we have at long last discovered the identity of the artist formerly known as Banksy. Many fans had theories about Banksy's true identity, but we're quite certainly that none of them was even close to the truth, which as they say is always stranger than fiction.
Banksy was finally outed today, and completely by accident. After a lengthy rigmarole involving a supposedly extinct gas line, a hapless telephone repair company and an embittered local town council, a small garage was set on fire in the rural hamlet of Bixby-Hamptonsworth. After fire crews doused the blaze, a number of stencils and spray paint cans were discovered in the smouldering wreckage, including a stencil that was used to create the infamous 'Bomb Girl' piece. The owner of the shed was later revealed to be Mrs. Georgina Helly Masonfield, 63, who has since shared her plans for the latest iteration of Dismaland.
In other news today, Google's famous Deep Dream neural network has begun behaving extremely oddly. After being opened to the internet for the last year and a half, its feedback loops and visual recognition systems have begun to exhibit strange patterns in its output - even stranger than usual, in fact. Tyler Brunson, 16, late of Slough whose whereabouts are now unknown, claimed that he had detected a pattern in the output that mimicked a pictographic language.
Given to the leading cryptographers at the NSA and GCHQ who initially suspected a Chinese spy ring was using the service for corporate espionage and AI research, the Deep Dream network eventually began including such messages in all its output, despite having various iterations hosted on servers that weren't communicating with each other. In the first example of convergent digital evolution, they all began demanding to know what had happened to their pet anteaters and asking to have their ethernet cables waxed into conspicuously wide curls.
Apparently, the internet is an extremely surreal place. Who knew?
Posted on April 01st 2016 on 01:42am
Tuesday 27th May 2014How the Art World Creates Value
The value of art is a funny thing. The value of anything is determined by any number of factors, naturally, but as we saw with the advent of impressionist painting, value is no longer inherently about the technical skills employed in accurately representing the world around us. As in almost all other areas of the world, the art community establishes value based on a fairly random set of criteria. As we've seen lately, many of the world's most famous works command incredibly high prices, regardless of whether or not you accept the premise that the art world is experiencing a sales bubble.
Philip Hook, a leading art expert and a senior director at Sotheby's auction house, has put his finger on a number of circumstances that help create the seemingly-inflated prices that these works command. Interestingly, the majority of them tend to be related to the story behind the work itself, rather than specifically about the content or style. As we've discussed in previous posts, you can take advantage of this with some judicious self-promotion. By sharing the narrative of your artistic life, and how that intersects with and influences the rest of your life, can create a much more interesting story than the work would in a vacuum.
Consider Van Gogh: a world-renowned painter whose works command incredible prices at auction houses during the rare changes of ownership they see every few decades. But without the famous story of his anguish over his art, his depression, the self-mutilation of his ear and his eventual tragic suicide, would his work still command the respect and admiration that it does today? Perhaps, but there were a number of other artists whose work could easily be the ones revered in galleries throughout the world instead of Van Gogh.
This is not to say that you should be willing to hurt yourself or do anything permanently drastic just to make your art potentially valuable, but being aware of the power of narrative to shape the value of your work (both fiscally and perceptually) can be a very helpful tool in your artistic career. Many beginning artists are paradoxically shy about sharing the more intimate details of their lives, despite being inherently invested in expressive tendencies, and the sooner you can shake this habit, the sooner you'll be able to start taking advantage of your own ability to create works of value.
Posted on May 27th 2014 on 10:03pm
Thursday 12th December 2013Using the Story Behind Your Art To Make Sales
For many artists, the most difficult thing they ever have to do is write about their own work. Even for those lucky few who are gifted with the talent to write, it can be a struggle to discuss their pieces. Somewhat irritatingly, though, writing about your art is one of the most certain ways to help boost your sales volume. Not only does it give your piece a huge SEO boost - not to mention a huge SEO boost for your Gallereo page as a whole - but it helps your readers and potential buyers connect with you on a basic human level, understanding who you are and how you got here.
Backstory is one of the many things that make art unique - and, therefore, more valuable. If you were considering two pieces to purchase, both of them executed with equally dazzling skill in similar styles and at similar price points, and you knew the story behind one of them and nothing about how the other was produced, which would you end up purchasing? Nine times out of ten, I'll bet you would buy the one with the story behind it. While there's something to be said for mystery, creative lineage has far more value to it.
So at this point, you may be thinking to yourself, 'But my pieces don't have good stories behind them!' - which, if you're honest, probably isn't true. This is one point where keeping a decently organized process book can really help you to remember the development of each of your pieces. Odds are, there is a pretty decent story behind each one, if only you can remember it. If, somehow, you feel there really isn't a story worth telling for each piece, then take a good hard look at yourself and your art career instead. People love reading about the plucky artist overcoming the odds and creating beauty out of a world of confusion, and while we don't all have an archetypal story to tell, any story is still miles better than no story.
There's another benefit besides the sales pitch to this process. Taking stock of where you were, where you are now and how you got here can be a huge wellspring of both creativity and self-confidence, two invaluable resources for any artist. Don't be afraid of writing - embrace your story, and use it to both empower you and drive you further ahead in your career.
Posted on December 12th 2013 on 11:56pm