Tuesday, February 13, 2007


A well-known San Francisco street performer quits the city, saying it's changed. "When the $460 million expansion of the Westfield San Francisco Centre is positioned as a major cultural event, and the downtown landscape is redefined by a Four Seasons Hotel and the Apple store and other high-end establishments, it's inevitable that a lot of hand-to-mouth artists like Edward Jackson get forced out." - San Francisco Chronicle 02/11/07

If the elite of our society invest in art, where do the artists invest?

I’ve read for the last few years that the art market is flying high and making money like artists are printing it themselves. While I do alright, I haven’t seen the never-ending windfall that major galleries, city-centers or auctions claim. Is this just another case of the rich getting richer? Or the common moniker - one has to have money to make money? I tell people outside the art world that the typical gallery commission is 50% and their mouths hit the floor. I’m so used to the standard, I don’t even think twice about it. Now I don’t believe all galleries make huge profits; in fact I believe the fast majority spend most of their time trying to just keep their heads above water. On that same note, I also recognize from the artist’s standpoint – representation does not grant access to the golden goose. Profitability within the New York gallery and auction scene is rare and elusive. Even in Santa Fe, I can name a number of popular established artists that have abandoned the local bustling gallery scene, because their profits are better outside the structure. The average professional artist has to find solace with investing in their career over time.

I’m self-employed which translates to zero retirement fund. I choose not to get involved in the stock market (though I came pretty close a few months before the dotcom crash of the ‘90’s – WHEW!) Everything I have basically goes back into the art. It isn’t always the prettiest situation, but it is my own little way of investing in the future. I’ve mentioned before that I push myself to complete an average annual production of 200 paintings… that gives me a minimum of 8,000-10,000 pieces out in the world over a forty year period; with those kind of numbers something’s gotta give. - DN

No comments: