The power of Chinese talent and labor even affects Western artists. I
accepted all along - when I first saw the quality of a portrait painting
done by my houseboy (officers quarters, US Army, DMZ, S. Korea, '73) - that
excellent craftsmanship was oversold in the West. Because of a name?
Because of notoriety? So I guess this one experience added to the direction
I wanted to take my art life and production. Artists like Genn worry about 'hacks' creating 'fakes' and 'knockoffs
of their works. But he claims, people buy the name. Sounds defensive to
me, sounds like the world is changing. So how does this relate to the works
now being painted for me in China - for my cash? My investment in my own
art and talents and perceptions of unexplored art bridges?
The digital art realm remains still something like an emperor with clothes.
Photons printed to ink on paper. Copies, editions, "prints", "printouts."
But I continue to USE affordable and quite frankly, masterful
craftsman/artists/painters to output my virtual images into paint on
canvases. These are NOT fakes but 'originals born through my eclectic
vision and procedural operations. They are also products of TODAY with its
global culture, communications, internet, and outsourcing of work. I don't
need to talk about tariffs and protectionism for my art, I embrace the new
resources as a digital artist. I design paintings - I am the brain, the
visionary, the guy having all the fun - they lay in concrete what I find
within the digital realm to show, tell and sell in the brick n' mortar
Hey, I love my elves!
Reaction to Letter from Robert Gen
Hi Rodney...You are the visionary and in time, the world will again accede to your "sight". Look at your Webism movement and the originator of Pixelism. You are ahead of the pack...I just wish the rest of the world will catch up to your talent. We will make it happen in 08'. 2008 was the year that I forecasted for the 'real' beginning of our business. Everything has been the groundwork but in just a few more days, it begins....Sue
> December 21, 2007
> Dear Rodney,
> Several artists have written to complain that offshore
> painters, mainly Chinese, are doing such excellent knock-offs
> that they present a real threat to our livelihood. The
> phenomenon, they point out, may eventually destroy hard-won
> lifestyles in the Western world. "Free trade be damned," they
> say. "We need tariffs."
> The Painter's Keys has been active in preventing offshore shops
> from cloning some of our works (e.g. in 2006 we removed the
> work of some 800 Western painters from Chinese clone sites and
> closed down two of them completely). Copyright laws and tariffs
> won't work on those guys. While cheap art in parking lots has
> always been with us, the Western artist who wants to stay the
> course has to realize that a name is also an asset. Art is not
> like shirts, for example, where buyers may not care about name
> or brand as much as quality and price. Art is not like
> accountancy either, which is now delivered over long distances
> by anonymous accountants in India. In art, the name is the name
> of the game.
> Artists and the art they make are personalities within
> communities. These communities may be the whole world, or The
> Trail Riders of Podunk County. It's a fact of life that one
> competently painted horse doesn't sell for the same amount as
> another competently painted horse. Reasonably decent prices are
> all about context and perception. Anonymous and "in the style
> of" work has little context and consequently low valuation.
> As an outsourcing candidate, art suffers from Baumol's Disease,
> named for the economist who first described the condition. Some
> goods and services, he found, resist outsourcing because of
> their individualistic nature. Further, works by personalities,
> when they meet certain criteria, are condemned to grow ever
> more expensive. No matter the idealism or the art maker's joy,
> investment is part of our game. Just as common stocks are no
> fun when they don't go up, art needs to at least pretend.
> Pitching art down to a price fills only college dorms.
> Professional artists who put their DNA into their work need not
> fear the offshore cloners. Even if the Chinese wizards succeed
> handily, a fake is still a fake. Art is not just art, it's a
> life, lived by an individualist with a personality, verve, and
> a deep respect for human relationships.
> Best regards,