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4.1.06

The Flyover

When flying over large metropolitan areas I often think of art: art sales, that is. Especially at night, when all the lights are on. You just know families are gathered in the living room gazing at and being moved by the artwork on their walls. OK, they’re looking at the TV screen.

On one flight, I sat next to a television manufacturer’s rep (I don’t know what that is either). As we looked out the window, chugging the last of our beer before the final trash walk, we noticed the miles and miles of suburban homes. “Every one of those lights represents a customer,” my new friend informed me. I was jealous.

I want just 0.1% of them as customers, or less. What is on all those walls? Never mind, I really don’t want to know that. It can’t be pretty.

How many homes out there in America have an original piece of art on their walls? I’ve been in many artists’ homes, and more often than not the walls and bookcases are full of cherished art. That’s not my experience over the years in non-artist abodes. Many walls are barren or have a mirror or sconce or two. For that matter, how many are reading books or listening to classical music? The hypnotic television. The competition is ruthless.

21 comments:

Ariadne said...

Speaking of which, I have seriously been thinking I might commission you for a specific artwork or two for my home. No lie!

(Hope you're not too expensive, but I really like your work and have an idea that be kinda cool.)

Anonymous said...

D: Earth to Ionarts Quality Control Center... Are you there? Earth to Ionarts QCC, are you there?

D: There is no answer, Luke!

L: They must be dead, Drake, they must be dead!

D: We better get outta here, before we're next!

P.S. Is this post titled "The Flyover" or "The Hangover"

Charles T. Downey said...

Anonymous, thank you for expressing your opinion. Anonymously. I think Mark's point, if whimsically expressed (which is his style), is important. If you care to address that point, you can also do that anonymously.

I have original artwork -- by Mark and others -- on my walls. What's on your wall, readers?

Ariadne said...

(That kind of cowardly remark by anonymous really makes me mad.
re nasty or insulting or too stupid to be funny comments, anonymous, just look up there at the top right corner of this or any Blogger webpage and read it out loud. It says "Get Your Own Blog!")

My walls are painfully bare, and the landlords let the maintenance guy choose the color the week before we signed the lease, and instead of some nice cream or biscuit color, he chose ... battleship gray. Our whole three level townhouse is nearly totally painted battleship gray with light gray trim. He told me he thought it was "romantic" and I said I'd give him "dramatic" but wasn't buying "romantic". So I have to decorate around it. It's kind of going this interesting 40's/zen direction...

So, yeah, I'd love to have some original artwork on my walls - by Mark and others. Hmmm ... I used to love to paint with oil once upon a time.

What artwork do other people have on their walls?

Mark said...

Ariadne, Thank you. We are specialists in battleship grey townhouses. When you are ready email me.

Yes Charles but who is your favorite?

anon, "I'm your father, you were a mistake."

gawain said...

the percentage of households owning an original work of art (however you define it) is -- mostly likely -- neither higher nor lower than it was in 1500 A.D -- or 500 BC. art jjust isnt a popular passtime. i dont know why pretend it either is or should be?

Mark said...

I'm not pretending gawain and I don't doubt your stats. In 1500 AD or 500 BC "art" was was more practical and not seperate from, as in handwoven fabrics or baskets and tools. Even that is missing from most households, in favor of mass produced items. We are removed from the creative process in our lives, even as to where our food comes from.
Many people I talk with will say they don't have a creative bone in their bodies. That's nonsense! Everyone has a creative potential of some sort or we wouldn't make it through the day.

With a little nurturing and exposure, Our audience will grow. The possibility of owning an original work of art is often no more costly than the set of sconces. Hopefully more light will emit from the artwork.

Clayton said...

This reader has a much-treasured painting by an Australian artist but also believes in supporting talented regional artists, of which there are many in the area. Good prints of their work are also a lower-cost option. Thanks for the encouraging words from Mark. I'm interested in seeing your work, too.

Anna L. Conti said...

I agree with you Mark, and I've often wondered the same things. I've always been chronically short of wall space. Books and paintings not only fill the walls around here, but pile up on the floors and in the corners. Many of the paintings were acquired as trades with other artists, some were bartered for, and some were actually purchased from galleries. In one case, I purchased a piece from an artist's studio by paying him whenever I got some extra dough - it took me nearly two years to pay it off, and bring the painting home.

You know what I find most inexplicable? Artists who don't have art on their walls (and their own work doesn't count.) I know of two painters like that. One of them (and his work is beautiful) told me recently that he has no clue what would make anyone want to buy a painting. I was speechless.

Mark said...

Thanks Clayton, I think that's important, the connection you have with the artwork. Good point about editions, often under $100.00.

he has no clue what would make anyone want to buy a painting. :)
I have to admit, sometimes I'll see work and say to myself, "I can do that myself". Of course I never do. It has to be pretty special for me to buy it. Most everything we have is from a trade or the lay-away route too. See, that's a point to share. Most artists are pretty flexible with sales and your building a personal relationship.

Lindemann said...

I have on my walls work that I enjoy by friends of mine who are artists - i.e., I did not get to know them as artists, but I enjoy their art. (Obviously I must, because I look at it every day with pleasure.) I bought some of the art and received other art as treasured gifts. I tried to commission a photograph from another friend once, but it didn't work out.

Also on the walls are a Nationals pennant, a souvenir from the Terps' 2002 championship, a Simpsons poster, a Metro map, and a photo of the Louve pyramid. So there's a nice variety. I have a similar mix at work in my gray gummint cube.

I've seen occasional artworks by strangers that I've been tempted to buy, but have never taken the plunge. I suspect that now that I am in less impecunious circumstances, I will probably buy some art at some point.

Mark said...

So that's it! Teach people to transend into-less impecunious circumstances, and they'll buy more art. Thanks Lindemann

Lindemann said...

Well, I was a student for most of my life up to this point, so it's to be expected that I have a little more money lying around now. There has to be some compensation for dragging myself to the cube.

Lindemann said...

Speaking more to the point of the post, I think because I have been acquainted with professional artists for most of my life (both of my best friends' mothers while I was growing up were pros), I have more of an inclination to purchase artwork than most people. So I'm not useful for making up strategies! Oh well.

Mark said...

I was happy to learn such a nice new word lindemann,impecunious.I think you have a strategy of sorts. Art schools are producing a few thousand graduates every year and countless people are making art on their own, of some form. So every family "has one".

We're speaking to the choir, the readers of ionarts-literally. If we can get a larger segment away from the TV and out to a show or performance, a percentage; take an artist to beer night!

gawain said...

hello mark,

yes, you are right of course, handmade products have disappeared from our homes; but many of them were not what i would call "original works of art" (even if they were original works). (i do know a little about what i am talking about: i live in a country where people still weave; and i collect textiles which i would call works of art). our best wishes to the contrary, most people are not terribly artistically minded and it is probably a waste of effort to pretend otherwise. i know my brother is really better served by western wrestling than by opera live, for example.

but to explain what i meant in my comment: what i meant to say in my post was that there is a general jeremiad among us high brow folks that majority of humanity has no taste for the stuff we like/produce. we feel this is bad for art and will spell end of art soon.

i think it is a misplaced pain because the same condition obtained always (what percentage of the population owned genuine works of art in 1475 Florence?). this means that current situation is NOT a new development and therefore not necessarily in itself a sign of impending doom.

and secondly, this view is also potentially harmful - such as when people advise that classical music concerts should be more like heavy metal concerts (greg sandow for example) in order to attract newer, fresher, younger audience. i have seen attemtps like this fail miserably all too often: by compromising the high brow sandard the artist loses the high brow crowd without ever really gaining anything meaningful among the less-than-high brow crowd.

i think that *if* there is a threat to high brow art today it lies in this -- in the misguided attempts to broaden its appeal by lowering its standards!

and by the way, my very best regards to you, and may i include my best wishes: may your original art works not compromise your standard and may they reach stratospheric prices!

gawain said...

hello mark,

yes, you are right of course, handmade products have disappeared from our homes; but many of them were not what i would call "original works of art" (even if they were original works). (i do know a little about what i am talking about: i live in a country where people still weave; and i collect textiles which i would call works of art). our best wishes to the contrary, most people are not terribly artistically minded and it is probably a waste of effort to pretend otherwise. i know my brother is really better served by western wrestling than by opera live, for example.

but to explain what i meant in my comment: what i meant to say in my post was that there is a general jeremiad among us high brow folks that majority of humanity has no taste for the stuff we like/produce. we feel this is bad for art and will spell end of art soon.

i think it is a misplaced pain because the same condition obtained always (what percentage of the population owned genuine works of art in 1475 Florence?). this means that current situation is NOT a new development and therefore not necessarily in itself a sign of impending doom.

and secondly, this view is also potentially harmful - such as when people advise that classical music concerts should be more like heavy metal concerts (greg sandow for example) in order to attract newer, fresher, younger audience. i have seen attemtps like this fail miserably all too often: by compromising the high brow sandard the artist loses the high brow crowd without ever really gaining anything meaningful among the less-than-high brow crowd.

i think that *if* there is a threat to high brow art today it lies in this -- in the misguided attempts to broaden its appeal by lowering its standards!

and by the way, my very best regards to you, and may i include my best wishes: may your original art works not compromise your standard and may they reach stratospheric prices!

Mark said...

I like it when you have a definate point to make, you say it twice!:) I don't disagree with your intentions here. I'm a total snob when it comes to painting. I also feel there is a need to enlighten the audience beyond the exhibit or concert hall. To make it all a little more accessible, less threatening. Less like entering a Chelsea gallery with receptionists with something very cold up their hind parts. Is that lowering standards? No, that's work, sometimes very boring and painful. Is there art if no one shows up? Of course, but a paying, slobbering audience makes it more fun.

I will continue but I have to go to a low brow gift show in Philladelphia. It helps to defray the cost of the high. And I'm meeting up with the gals of artblog! The Cone Sisters of Philly.

Thank you for your well wishes gawain, those go a long way and are always apprieciated. You must have a wonderful collection, would like to see someday.

Gawain said...

great suggestion. maybe i should start putting it online!

a noble cause -- to bring the great art to the masses. perhaps i have grown too jaded. ;-(

best regards and good luck with the Cone Sisters...

Ariadne said...

Hey, great dialogue on art going on here!

For what it's worth, I'd like to add that in addition to the sort of elemental need to make a daily object, like a plate or a woven basket, a little bit more visually appealing or at least distinctive (this is MY ionarts mug ...), I think there has always been a place in homes for religious art.

Stop before we descend into a discussion on theology, though, because that's not where I'm going with this. I just think that if you imagine the old Russian Orthodox homes, for instance, there was always a corner with a candle and one of those beautiful black/red/gold Madonnas, a place for prayer and beauty and inspiration.

The spiritual part (go get an airsick bag, Jens - that'll get you out of the room at least), the spiritual part, not the religious or dogmatic part, is what I want to bring into this conversation. What beautifies our homes, our minds, our souls?

That's why these huge, empty battleship grey walls are so painful and need some art. I'm ordering a large photo portrait of my daughter when she became a Bat Mitzvah, and a large photo family portrait, but we need something else.

Sort of feels like a large, long very brightly colored (Mark's got good use of color!) cherry blossom tree tops on a beautiful bright blue sky background. You'd have to see the space to understand my dimensions here, but suffice to say, we need some spring, some bright color, some Zen, and a reminder of the day my "boyfriend" and I went to see the Cherry Blossoms in DC. He's my husband now. That counts for something different, something beyond just the wedding photo. That was the day we really fell in love.

Isn't there a need for some spiritual expression or some kind of soul or joy in our homes?

Mark said...

Of course! It's your personal decision as to what you put on your walls, or what sacred space you design. If all that comes out of this type of discussion is that what we chose to surround ourselves with is a conscious decision, (and hopefully, it includes a purchase os original art).