The Overlord of the Paintings

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I’d be really interested to get everyone’s thoughts on this one: I’ve been thinking about the internet and the explosion of artwork and literature available now. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it in between? Is anyone worried about it or so sick of the subject they’re planning their move to the moon? I’m as confused as anyone, but here are my brain thoughts.

Ever since the Parliamentarians killed the king and declared free biscuits for everyone – for about five seconds – the debate has persisted; how equalitarian should society be? Do we need overlords watching from the clouds, sending down seven headed monsters to attack the villagers when they get a bit above themselves? Or are the villagers capable of running things alone?

The same principle can be applied to the art world. Getting into big, expensive galleries or printed by a good publisher could make your name and hopefully a lot of money, but the road to get to those places seems a lot more wibbly than it used to.

Imagine two of the villagers, let’s call them Bam and Grodo, are going on a long journey to get to their destination: The Town of Professional Artisans (it’s just left of Fordor, next to that massive eye).

Bam’s had several years studying and made some contacts with the overlords via his course, who have given him space in an exhibition. Grodo’s also done some studying but hasn’t made the contacts, so Bam explains “You’ve got to get a website, Mr Grodo.”

Grodo sets up a website displaying and selling his paintings of kittens in hats but notices it doesn’t get much attention. What does he do? I suppose that’s where most people create videos of themselves painting on youtube, get involved in forums and various blogs and websites (this and Deviant Art being two) in order to create traffic to their own work. Grodo, though, has to compete with the whole of his planet, Second Earth, who are all doing the exact same thing.

There are good and bad elements to this route. I work as a life model and love being surrounded by art. I also love the fact that you can discover something new online almost every week. With online publishing you can read a brilliant book on kindle that may never have previously seen the light of day. On the reverse side, of course, you may also see something that really never should see the light of day. Also, Grodo’s website of kittens in hats is swallowed up by the sheer amount of competition out there. The Town of Professional Artisans is now populated by those the Overlords would never have considered renting to, thus possibly lowering the market price.

However…if Grodo is smart about things, he’ll do all he can to shamelessly promote himself and thus initiate lots of interest in his site. What makes a professional artist after all? Surely it’s just earning money from your work? And if it’s very good it’ll capture the attention of the Overlords anyway. Viva la Revolution! Bam and Grodo will both be successful and happily rent rooms side by side, wearing kaftans and talking embarrassingly like Kerouac.

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