Wednesday 24 March 2021

The art market “knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”

There’s been a fair bit of coverage recently in the press about digital art and non-fungible tokens. With NFTs digital alchemists have reinvented the south sea bubble. It truly is all artifice. 

The problem here is how artists see the 'art market' in general terms. The 'art market' and the whole cryptoart thing are no different to the Emperor's New Clothes. It's all made up bollocks that has nothing to do with art whatsoever. People need to understand that. 

For as long as I can remember I’ve despised the art market. I decided early on, when I first started to take my art seriously, that I didn’t want to make my living as an artist and that I didn’t want to get on to the treadmill that is the art market. 

As I’ve never sought to make a living from my art that puts me in a privileged position. One of being able to treat the art market with the disdain it deserves. I feel for those poor souls who struggle to make a living from their art. They often become slaves to an uncaring system. a system that sees money making and competition as virtues. I decided never to sell my soul to the devil. 

The value of art cannot be measured in monetary terms. The only values that art has is in the feelings that reside with the artist and the feelings of any beholder/s. No ‘expert’ can value art. There are no experts; art experts are charlatans. Art investors don’t give a shit about art. Their only interest is in making money. They worship a fool’s gold. The artwork is incidental. 

I’ve never wanted to sell my original works of art. In my earlier days I experimented with producing simple black and white pictures so that they could be photocopied. I’ve always liked the idea as art being ephemeral. Then when digital art came along I realised that it was what I had been waiting for all my life. I could create art without actually producing an original. The great thing about a digital file is that it can be copied over and over and each file is exactly the same. This really upsets the art market. They can’t cope with an art that they can’t exploit. Enter blockchain technology; it creates a unique non-copyable ‘thing’. That ‘thing’ is then sold as a provenance with a piece of digital art supposedly making the artwork ‘original’. Of course it’s not, as you can still create identical copies of the actual artwork, so it is very much a shame. But, hey ho, I’m not going to be able to stop it. So why does it bother me? 

What does it bother me?
Well it bothers me because it gives people a false impression about what art is. They think art is something elite, something they could never understand and so they never go there. They never explore. They never get to dip their toe in the rich, warm, stimulatingly efficacious waters of the arts. And that’s sad. That’s why!

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