Covering The Cost of Creating Art

Covering The Cost of Creating Art

covering the cost of art text on background with rising arrow
Covering the Cost of Art 


With the rising cost of
inflation and a world heading towards or already in a recession, on paper at
least, the outlook for working artists might seem desperate and bleak. But,
this isn’t the first time that the creative industry has had to weather a storm
and it’s unlikely to be the last. This time, we take a look at navigating the
swelling seas of an economically challenging art world, just as many artists
have had to do time and time before.

We made it folks! 2022 will
shortly be giving way to 2023 and despite a seemingly bleak outlook with
escalating inflation and all of the other drama the world has had to face
throughout 22, there are plenty of opportunities for artists to continue creating
art.

This time I will be reflecting
back on the turbulent times that many artists have faced over the past few
decades and we take a deep dive into thinking creatively about how we might
respond as professional artists.

With the hindsight I wish I’d
had back in 2007/2008, if I had written this post back then I might have said
something along the lines of the art world is about to enter a bumpy period but
it won’t necessarily affect every market in every country in the same way.
Today, I think post-pandemic, the situation in Ukraine, I’m not so sure that
the current climate won’t be far wider reaching than other financial meltdowns
that we have endured in the past. Whether other regions fall into recession just
as we are now seeing here in the UK, is something that I’m sure will pan out in
the coming months.

Something else that I wish I
had known pre-the last recession, was that I would see a slow down on mid-price
works, smaller works would be more popular than previously but would take a
little longer to sell, but larger works would be mostly unaffected. I’m
certainly not an economist but I would go so far as to say that I don’t
necessarily see that being any different this time around because my sales
today are beginning to follow a similar path to my experience back in 2008.

seascape painting with boat on calm sea and seagulls
Ethereal Seas by Mark Taylor – One of the few seascapes I produced in 2022!


I can only base my experience
on what happened here in the UK back in 2008 and the downturns I experienced
before, but if economies elsewhere follow a similar trajectory this time, I do
think at the lower price end of the art market, buyers will be more discerning
about what they buy because whether we want to hear it or not, the majority of
art at lower to mid-price points that is sold outside of galleries is sold to
provide an aesthetic. There’s often a link with any shift in house prices,
something that we last experienced in the pandemic when people would purchase
art because they were busy renovating their homes.

That’s not to say that what the
majority of artists produce is decorative art, neither is it a statement intended
to be dismissive, but the function of art at a lower price point is more often
purchased to serve this purpose. If people are spending money on redecorating
new homes, they tend to purchase new art. If money is flowing less freely, art
sales at some price points can be negatively affected.

There are a lot of caveats
with this. If you regularly sell in a region that isn’t affected by financial
markets hitting a wall, you might not see any difference, but I think there is
one thing we can all agree on and that is that prices of art and craft materials
are definitely on the up no matter what type of art you create.

If you are a traditional brush
and canvas artist you will have noticed pretty big hikes in the cost of art
supplies lately. Over the past few years art supplies have been increasing in
price more rapidly than ever before. Raw materials to produce paint have
increased between 50% and 100% as pigment manufacturing has moved away from
heavy metals.

Artists have for a while been
on the lookout for cheaper alternatives that maintain quality, but there is
only so much excess cost any artist is able to consume in order to maintain a
sustainable business and keep prices consistent with what they charged before.

vintage telephone dial artwork
Vintage Dial by Mark Taylor – Originally created as a commission, you can add your own telephone number on the dial!


Even creating digital art has
become much more expensive than it was even just 6-months ago. With rising
energy costs, increasing digital subscription prices from a nervous technology
industry, chip shortages and seemingly never-ending lead times to take ownership
of new technology, never listen to anyone who tells you that creating digital
art is an inexpensive endeavour.

In the past six months, the
outgoings to create my own digital work have mostly doubled, and that’s just to
cover things like server hosting, application subscriptions, and the constant
supply of printer inks and good quality paper and canvas stock. Add to this the
cost of shipping and export duties for the physical prints and incoming
supplies, professional digital artists are beginning to feel the pinch.

Many digital artists are
having to do things differently, like having to transfer digital assets
electronically for printing elsewhere. That can be a pain point for many
artists who will, by doing this, be forgoing quality control of the prints and
taking a risk that their assets don’t reappear somewhere else.

Recessions are rarely if ever great
for small businesses and it still surprises me when I hear that some people
still believe that small businesses have small overheads. Mostly the overheads
for any small business is usually much higher than the corporate giants and
that’s when inflation is low. When inflation is high, there’s an added burden
to business to meet the costs and explain any increases that need to be passed
on to customers.

abstract art by Mark Taylor
Spectrum by Mark Taylor – Because we all need bright in our lives!


Many small businesses will
often shield buyers from the additional costs wherever they can in order to
compete with the big corporations, but it’s not a level playing field for these
often independent ventures because they rarely if ever see the same level of
supply discounts that are offered to the big players.

For most artists, increases in
production costs are costs that you can’t really pass on through
non-commissioned work, casual art buyers will only ever pay what they’re
willing to pay, and art, whether it is purchased by a causal buyer or a
hardened collector is only ever worth as much as the market is prepared to pay.

As for commissions which are
notoriously more expensive to produce because you might have to use specialist
supplies or carry out revisions, the production costs have risen considerably
over the past year. I’m just about managing to absorb most of the extra costs
for now by offsetting the increases through print sales and second gate
activity and because I lucked out by buying a lot of supplies pre-price
increases, but it is becoming challenging when prices for everything are
increasing so quickly and there will be plenty of artists who don’t already have
established second gates to their business.

Just like many other small businesses,
my prices will inevitably need to rise at some point. For many artists working
in the non-represented space this is a pain point for their regular buyers,
even more so for casual buyers or those purchasing art for aesthetic rather
than artistic reasons. As an independent artist, increasing costs isn’t
something you will probably be able to avoid long-term in the current financial
climate.

There are usually options to
reduce costs for artists but those options right now are fewer than they were. Digital
might have been the most cost effective option few years ago and I championed
the practice for many years as a wallet friendly way to continue creating art
without the expense of buying traditional art supplies, but that’s certainly
not the case now and less so if you are just about to start out with a digital
art practice.

I also paint using traditional
materials, historically this is a practice that would cost more to produce a
piece of work than creating a piece digitally, but creating professional art
using a digital medium is now becoming the more expensive option because there
are way fewer options to cut costs.

wind turbines mountain landscape artwork by Mark Taylor
Kinetic Fields by Mark Taylor – Available now from my Pixels Store or Order Directly!


This is in part because of the
global chip supply chain issues and in part, because digital doesn’t
necessarily follow the rule of thumb around economies of scale, if you scale
digital you tend to see increases in costs rather than reductions.

So, as a digital artist you
really don’t have the same options that traditional artists might have when
choosing between say a variant of white paint. There are fewer areas that you
can look towards to cut down on essential costs, and there are very few digital
tools that now don’t require an ongoing subscription. 

When you can find the
technology you need to buy to continue creating your digital work, it now carries
what I call a technology tax that originates from that lack of silicone chips
and a pandemic when the entire world decided to go online at the same time. This
increase in buying meant that existing supplies that were supposed to last
longer in stores were rapidly depleted and couldn’t easily be replaced. It was
the perfect storm in that regard and few could have predicted the fall out in
the way that it has happened. With hindsight, the signs were there for the chip
market, but it was too late to do anything.

printer artwork will work for ink print
Will Work for Ink by Mark Taylor – At this point, we are literally working for ink! There’s nothing quite like the thud of a dot matrix printer!


To give you an idea of just how
much digital production costs have increased, a quick look at some of the
percentage increases I have experienced might give you some idea.

Printers
2022 increase of between +15% and +20% – Printers are not built like they once
were, they’re more complex yet don’t seem to have the build quality of previous
generations. This year I had to replace a wide format dye-sub printer that was
just 14-months old because replacement parts were not available and in all likelihood,
might not be even available post-supply chain problems. It looks like the manufacturer
has completely changed the production method for new models to make supply
easier.

Printer Ink
2022 Increase – +5% to +15% for regular inkjet supplies, and up to +30% for
specialist inks for use in dye sublimation printers. If you use premium inks
that retain their colour there are few options other than to buy original inks
from the printer manufacturer. Ink was already expensive but today the premium
inks really are on another level.

Premium papers for archival
prints
+38% increase in 2022. This was mostly because of the
situation in Ukraine and increased shipping costs but what really affected
supply was the industrial action being taken at paper mills.

Application subscription
increases
in 2022 – median increase across a range of services is
+18% (annual subscriptions) Lifetime licences are now a distant memory for most
applications.

Specialist Print Masters (this
is a people cost) to prepare work – +12% but I do wonder how many of the print staff
are seeing that level of pay increase in their pockets.

Power for digital production
equipment
+150% and increasing. Rising energy costs make it much
more expensive to run the technology.

Replacement digital equipment +15%
on average but with lengthy lead times too. Where technology is in short
supply, the increases are often more. A good example of rising costs is a
Raspberry Pi 4, a single board mainly hobbyist computer which usually retails
for around £80 in the UK for the 8Gb model. Pre-used ones are now routinely
fetching more that twice that on sites such as eBay as the devices are not
currently being manufactured due to chip supplies.

To compound matters, scalpers
who purchased in bulk as demand initially increased are now charging a premium because
production of these devices has been suspended due to the lack of chips. There
are other electronics that are currently being scalped so it’s inevitable that
we will see more increases next year. The chip supply issue isn’t looking great,
but it is slightly better than it was. My guess and the information I’m being
given right now is that 2024 might be the year we start to see any kind of
normality return.

Cloud Storage
across a number of storage providers – Median +50% per year. Remember that
costs will always increase as you use more storage but base storage fees are on
the up too.

Shipping
With industrial action frequently taking place in the UKs mail service, you
have to look for alternatives and some of these services are charging up to 400%
more than pre-pandemic levels. Whilst shipping looks like it will stabilise
next year, it’s unlikely that companies will drop all of their newly increased
shipping costs.

I think there is a real risk
that todays prices could become the new normal for shipping in the future and
that’s a major issue as people have been conditioned to expect free shipping. Services
such as Amazon Prime have made us expect free shipping and even though Prime is
an annual membership that covers shipping, people place the monetary cost on
Prime membership against all of the benefits that come bundled with it rather
than thinking of it as an upfront payment for unlimited shipping with added
benefits.

So looking at this, you start
to get a picture of how significant some of these cost increases are, and these
are costs that don’t just apply to artists, many small businesses buy similar
products and have similar logistics needs. It doesn’t matter to the suppliers
whether you are a small independent business or a large corporation, arguably
as a small business your costs are always going to be more expensive because
you are working with lower volumes.

What I haven’t included here
are things like hosting, and other consumables, and the day to day expenses of
running any business which have also increased. The cost of shipping is a standout
example of excess costs because while the prices have massively increased for getting
product from A to B, the speed of delivery has massively decreased, especially
here in the UK.

The big one here in the UK is
Brexit. Forget the land of opportunity that Brits were promised, a lot of my
paper stock originates in Italy and import taxes now also have to be considered.
With Brexit came the additional burden of bureaucracy, import duties and
additional taxes, and the increased time to get things delivered due to added customs
checks which has created some serious challenges for many businesses based here
in the UK.

So the next time someone asks
you to justify the cost of producing digital art (there are a lot of people who
still believe we pixel pushers just press a button!), tell them to come and
read this blog!

sunset over beach with boats
Adrift Under A Neon Sky by Mark Taylor


It’s not just the cost of art
supplies and materials that have increased, there is some good news in the art
world as a result of higher costs. Some sectors of the high end market are
seeing more positive signs with prices going up as a result of demand.

Major artworks have been
seeing a leap in value with collectors who have an eye on rising inflation and
then bidding big money at auction. Works priced at over $1 million nearly
doubled in sales from 12% in 2021 to 23% in the first half of 2022, those
figures are on a par with levels last seen in 2019. If the market turns out to
be anything like it was in 2008, it might fluctuate up and down for a little
while longer.

Recessions almost always have
a positive impact on art prices at this level because collectors tend to hold
on to works. It is literally the classic tale of supply and demand. For a few buyers
at this level, it really is about the art, for others, art is seen as little
more than a commodity to be traded down the line. It’s a cold world this art
business, at the high end there’s little appetite for emotion, it purely a
transactional process.

In practice, the reduction in
supply tends to keep prices stable for established artists who sell into the
major primary markets. The one problem with art, is that it is a
sentiment-driven asset that is mostly tied to surplus wealth, it’s not a widget
that solves a problem. The art market is pretty resilient at this level because
it is one of the very few industries that self-regulates supply and demand both
in times of a financial slump and in times of financial excess.

During the 2008 crisis, some
aspects of the high end fine art market eventually succumbed to a depression,
but only in certain areas and genres. Established artists and genres held out
really well before eventually recovering completely, but works with a shorter
history or from less popular artists and genres struggled for a while longer
before recovering, although some never did quite recover to previous levels.

In recessions, there will
always be a number of people who do extraordinarily well, but, there are also
usually more people that don’t do very well at all. I always think of a
recession as a microscope that amplifies inequality.

There are also people who sit
somewhere in the middle, the recession rich, yet they’re still a long way off
being a high earner. These are people who just happen to be slightly better off
and are able to afford slightly more than those around them. They are people
who find themselves in a position where they might have access to a greater
cashflow or credit than most other people around them do. Those investing in
top-end artworks priced a million and above also tend to have enough of a
financial buffer behind them to weather the storm better than most and they
tend to be the most able to self-regulate supply and demand too.

Visit a show such as Basel
during an economic downturn and you won’t see people shying away from major
purchases, and besides, those buyers are coming from a place of power and
galleries, whilst not admitting it openly, absolutely know how precarious the business
can be at times like this.

During the pandemic, many
galleries had to pivot to online sales but where gallery owners retained
physical spaces, they’re not immune to energy price increases, nor are they
immune from inflationary costs of running a business. The galleries and artists
that survived in 2008 and during the pandemic, were galleries and artists who
continued to move works out of the door. Many of them had to discount work to
make this happen and I suspect the same will be true this time around.

1984 artwork cables and eye
1984 by Mark Taylor – This looks brilliant printed on acrylic block!


Whilst few gallerists like to
admit that prices are lowered at times like this, because that’s akin to a
cardinal sin in the art world, the place of power when you do have access to
money puts the recession or cash rich buyer in a much better position to
negotiate deeper discounts behind closed doors. That’s not peculiar to the art
world, those who can least afford excess are the ones more likely to have to
find it.

Technically, the discounted
artworks are never offered for less than their original value and discounting
is never an openly admitted practice in public. In challenging times you can
bet that there will be plenty of gallery owners who will be quietly negotiating
better offers or offering deeper discounts than at any time before. If you are
in the market for fine art, now is probably a good time to buy if you can find
what you are looking for and can afford it, but if it’s not on the market
already it might be a little too late.

The depth of the discount you
might find will vary between galleries. If you were expecting a 5% discount
before for loyalty to a gallery or an artist, in times of economic turmoil you
no longer have to be loyal to either. In the past month alone I know of
collectors who have been offered double digit discounts to switch from their
usual galleries and a couple of collectors I know have been doing deals that
have realised discounts as high as 20 – 25%, something unheard of even a few
months ago. But bear in mind that in many cases, the discount is usually coming
out of the artists commission, not necessarily the galleries profits.

The here and now at times like
this is frankly, for most working artists more about survival, and to an extent
we have generally had a good run over the past decade at least up until the
pandemic. Some artists and galleries have had it even better than most whereby
they have unjustifiably raised prices for the weakest of reasons and they have
continued to make sales, and they have been really stretching the bubble.

The physical galleries and to
some extent artists, that won’t survive will be the galleries and the artists
who would, during the good times, regularly increase prices on a whim without
any real justification. If an artist won an award, a social post went viral, there
was a Y at the end of Wednesday, prices would be increased.

Insert Coin coin op door
Insert Coin by Mark Taylor – Thanks to the many buyers who have purchased this print recently – More coin-ops on the way!


If you raise prices, they have
to be justifiably increased, never artificially inflated which can and sadly does
happen all of the time in the art world. In a cost of living crisis when small
businesses are facing massive hikes in overhead there are legitimate reasons to
increase prices for some works as production costs have risen, but the more
casual buyers might not fully appreciate that it’s a supply driven cost for
materials and the artist isn’t suddenly making more money. It’s not that the
art is worth more, it just costs more to produce and the excess costs are
passed on.

At the opposite end of the art
world, the end where the majority of working artists work and who are not
repped by a big gallery, the competition is fierce with more people than ever
before turning to the creative sector after seeing it as the ideal work from
home gig during the pandemic.

Of course, not everyone who
started a side gig in the creative sector during the pandemic will still be
creating today, many would quickly find out that while it’s a great gig when
the sun shines, it’s often easier to do anything else when the sun goes back in.
But, there will certainly be more competition today than there was during the
recession in 2008, not least because it is easier to surface your work today
with all of the services that have appeared online over the past decade or so
that make it easier to become published.

This sector of the art market it
is a much more volatile market to work in than the high-end, high-value gallery
markets. At the lower priced end of the market there will be fewer buyers who
are immediately immune from the effects of a recession, no matter how small or
big the recession is. At this level there is a choice to be made by buyers, do
they spend a hundred bucks on a new print, or save that hundred bucks to
counter rising inflation. If there’s a limited pot of money to start with the
options become clear.

If there was one thing I learnt
during the recession back in 2008, it would be to keep a level head, try not to
panic, and definitely don’t start lowering prices as if you are having a fire
sale. If your market needs you to reduce prices, price sensibly and be
respectful of what your market will be willing to pay, but don’t make reduced
pricing your new norm. Before the purists begin to scream that you should never
lower prices, mostly I would agree, but in a recession, in the art world that
isn’t repped by the major galleries, as an independent artist your goal should
be to survive.

ocean art by Mark Taylor
Adrift on a Building Sea by Mark Taylor – One of 2022s most popular seascapes!


In good times I would always
advocate never offering a discount or at least a discount where every work becomes
a loss leader, and at any time, good or bad, you should try to never place
previous collectors in a completely precarious position whereby lowering your
prices means that you have irrecoverably devalued what they have already
purchased.

Many artists though, won’t
necessarily be completely affected by this, reducing a fifty dollar print to
forty dollars isn’t going to make a major difference either way but it might
tempt someone with forty dollars to buy it. Selling a previous thousand dollar
print for a couple of hundred dollars, that’s slightly different.

That said, you do have to have
a pricing strategy that makes sense, puts the work within reach, at least for
those who find they still have a little more to spend, but I think more than
that, ensures that you can continue to move enough work to survive. That’s
surely in the interests of previous collectors too.

Diversifying your portfolio is
never an easy thing for an artist. We are taught early on that work should be
consistent, follow a genre, follow a theme, follow a medium, and every piece
you work on should look exactly like every other work you ever created. You
know, you probably attended a similar class, and I mostly think that’s the
right advice for artists repped by big galleries who are deeply rooted in
historic practices and who are stoic in their outlook.

But the majority of working
artists are independent and there are no rules that say you absolutely need to
be glued to one thing or another. I might even go so far as to say that will
harm any chances you have of finding commercial success outside of a gallery if
you are so completely rigid. One thing that I might say though, is that if you
do diversify, it should make sense to any existing buyers, but it’s totally
fine to stretch your creative wings and reach entirely new markets.

deckchairs on a beach art
A Perfect Day by Mark Taylor – Still one of my favourite works, just how I remembered a beach in Jamaica a few years ago!


Looking for trends is one way
a lot of artists diversify their portfolio but in my experience, trends are only
ever short term fixes. Ideally, you need to start a trend rather than join it
otherwise the fruits are short lived, but starting a trend, well that’s not an
easy ask.

Diversification can also be
making smaller pieces at more affordable prices, offering smaller sized pieces
in editions and in limited numbers, or it could mean offering something
completely new. If you venture down this route though you really do need to do
your homework. A limited edition is just that, limited as in available to the
few not the many, and the size of the edition should never be more than you
would usually sell as an open edition.

As a rule of thumb, limited
editions in very small numbers are more prized by collectors, but if you are
looking for volume, personally I would never create an edition any bigger than
10% of the regular number of works I would expect to sell in an open edition.

A lesson I certainly learnt during
the 2008 downturn, and a couple of downturns before that, was just how
important it is to look at second and third entrance gates which buyers can
continue to afford to walk through.

For a while, galleries have
created second gates by opening bars or coffee shops in the same physical
space, it’s another reason for people to arrive at your door which in a
financial downturn could turn out to be your primary entrance gate until things
become more like business as usual once again.

Second gates are really
important for independent businesses of any description. If you can find the
right product or service it can provide continued cash flow so you can continue
to focus on your main body of work. Your primary work might be aspirational for
some for a while during a recession but the really important thing to do is to
continue to sell aspirations to own your work when things become financially easier
again so if you can provide a second gate that reminds them of your primary
business, that’s a win. 

You have to think creatively
when it comes to offering a second gate. It doesn’t have to be something that
you sell, a second gate could just as easily be a blog, or a podcast or a
YouTube channel, maybe even offering training. Monetising these things isn’t
easy, online ad-spend is generally down and for most people, and online
ad-revenue was never great to begin with, no one likes or even expects
advertising to appear all over a blog post these days, they might expect it
with podcasts but it probably won’t be enough to cover all of the costs.

But remember that continuing
to sell the aspiration to own your work is important and these are well trodden
paths that have proven to be a life source of many an artist to raise and
maintain awareness of them and their work.

watercolour stag
Chase Stag by Mark Taylor – A work inspired by my local area!


Before we carry on with second
gates, it’s worth looking into diversification of markets a little more
broadly. The notion of a starving artist might seem romantic to many looking in
but the starving artist badge isn’t a badge that you should ever feel compelled
to wear as an artist. It is a right of passage that should remain optional, but
mostly, remember that you need to eat.

It is a good idea during any
downturn to revaluate your position and your place in the art world, I would
even go so far as to say that you should be at least reviewing your current
position at least every year. I know of artists who did just this back in 2008
and came out of the experience in massively stronger positions by repositioning
their work and surfacing it in front of new audiences.

Art is no longer something
that has to be sold through a brick and mortar gallery in the back end of
nowhere, you can migrate to new audiences relatively easily these days with the
power of the internet, so long as those audiences understand and appreciate
what you have.

You might even have to
revaluate what you present and make it more relevant to other audiences and
cultures, but this is all part of becoming more entrepreneurial, something that
you absolutely have to become during a recession.

Changes in your work, style,
audience or practice, shouldn’t mean that you have to completely turn your back
on what you did before or your previous markets, you just have to find that same
connection with something else and with someone else who can afford to pay either
your regular prices or even a little more.

I know that for most people,
that’s easier said than done. It’s a bold if not even a brave move for any
artist who takes on this shift in direction but the rewards could be
significant. When I did this back in 2008, and again in 2014 when I first sold
prints online through print on demand, I had no idea at all if I would ever be
able to connect with a new audience yet despite some very long hours over a
couple of months I was able to find some new connections in new markets.

With this in mind,  if you take the opportunity to reposition
yourself and your work to enter new markets there is some consideration that
needs to be put into the prospect of raising prices in the new market,
particularly if you have experience of other markets prior to entering any new
space.

This might sound
counterintuitive in a recession, but there is precedent set by many artists
throughout history to move your game up to meet higher end markets where the
effects of inflationary price increases are not as impacted as they might be at
the lower cost end of the market.

There’s a risk in doing this,
mainly in alienating all of those people who previously purchased your work at
lower prices. But remember, we are repositioning here and potentially
introducing a second gate in a new market, maybe even in a new region. The
beauty of a second gate is that it can be very distinct from your primary
market, so long as you don’t introduce confusion.

Ultimately, when the recession
is over and things begin to normalise, if sales are going well in your new
market with higher prices, you absolutely don’t have to go back to lower cost
works. Those who purchased your work at a lower cost than you currently sell
work in the new market might at this point even be elated that they now own
work that is worth more than it was.

It’s best not to sugar coat
this strategy as being easy or suggest it might even be feasible for everyone. It’s
a challenging approach to take in regular times. In a recession, not only will
you need to scout out new markets and figure out your place in them,  you are to some extent starting from scratch
albeit with the benefit and hindsight of working in previous markets, so whilst
it can be incredibly challenging, it should also be a little easier the second
time around.

I took this approach back in
2008 with over a decade of previous sales and experience and some existing collectors,
and I have to say it was one of the most challenging times I had ever faced in
an art world which for many years had enjoyed the benefit of people having
slightly more disposable income year on year.

I hadn’t planned to make any
change on the spur of the moment, I had spent almost 12-months before I made
the leap looking into other markets to find a second gate that I knew I would
be able to offer. I had to find new tribes, make my work relevant to those new
markets and cultures, yet despite this planning and preparation, it was at
least initially, a very slow burning candle.

yin and yang clockwork art print
Clockwork by Mark Taylor – a technically challenging work, every piece was hand drawn!


If you are still looking for
ideas on how to diversify your offer, especially if you do want to take on the
challenge of looking into new markets, then you might want something different
to offer them. This is something else I found myself inadvertently doing a few
years ago when I began to create art work out of waste electronic components
which led to me becoming even more involved with the vintage computer community
who were eager for technology related artwork very much like the artwork you
can see on this site today, but this had the knock-on effect of raising the
profile of my regular retro art.

You can use your creativity to
offer something different that still makes sense to your buyers by creating
similar works but maybe on new products. If you are looking at markets such as
those through Etsy, you could even offer personalisation as an option, or
create accessories. My daughter owns a bakery yet her second gate is to supply
cake toppers to other bakers or as an upsell to her usual buyers. There are all
sorts of options here and there are plenty of devices that can make creation really
easy.

The Cricut Maker 3 is a very
good example of an incredible cutting machine that can cut out from more than
300 materials. Machines such as the Cricut are essentially, with some
imagination and a few good ideas, businesses in a box.

Sure, you are going to need
some practice and some up front investment, but the end result is that you get
to retain the relationship between you and the buyer and there’s no need to
introduce a third party to create the products for you. The whole point of this
is that you get to be involved in the wider hand made community and your
imagination is the only block to finding new things to create for new audiences.

With these kinds of machines
you can also enter the world of personalisation, create small gifts, add logos
to clothing and shoes, create stickers, and with dye-sublimation and the
addition of a mug press, you can even create a range of dishwasher and
microwave safe mugs for every occasion. In short, you can relatively
inexpensively set up a small Etsy business to produce smaller gifts that might
provide you with a lucrative second gate.

The downside, the initial
outlay can be prohibitive for some, the Cricut, mug press, and some materials
and tools to get you going might need somewhere in the region of £1000
UK/$1,000 US, before you make anything, which definitely isn’t insignificant,
but once the investment is made, you essentially have the tools to build an
entire business.

My advice if you do think
about doing this, is to shop around. You can usually pick these kinds of
machines up for less than the recommended retail price if you look online, and
there are cheaper alternatives from Cricut, they’re just slightly less able.
One area I would advise not skimping on is by buying cheaper Far Eastern
produced machines with questionable power supplies, kit like the mug press gets
hot and that’s a potential problem with dodgy electronics.

As for the mug press, I’ve
tried various mug presses over the years and most have one major flaw, as soon
as the mug goes in the dishwasher the print starts to peel off. The Cricut uses
dye-sublimation, the print becomes at one with the mug and the process is much
quicker than many of the other presses I’ve used over the years. The flaw with
a lot of them is that they often tend to not heat up too well, they overheat or
they never quite get consistent heat across the surface. If you are looking for
any equipment that uses a heat transfer process, it is worth paying a little more
and not having to then replace it over and over again.

adrift under a glowing sky artwork by Mark Taylor ocean boat
Adrift Under A Glowing Sky by Mark Taylor – thanks to the more than 500 people who purchased this print in 2022! Love you all!


With platforms such as Patreon
it’s easier than ever to consider reviewing your business model or at least
offer alternatives to the way people currently buy your work.

I wouldn’t recommend artists
start up a Patreon in the expectation that people will subscribe to receive a
piece of full price art each month but this is where editions and smaller works
begin to make a lot of sense. If you could come up with a range of
collectibles, maybe with the use of something like a Cricut machine, there are
options that could provide you with a regular income if you offer the right
rewards. Even in an economic slump, people will still buy things that make them
feel good, your mission is to make sure that what you offer is what they want
and what they’re able to still afford.

When offering a subscription
model through something like Patreon, you need to make sure you can commit to
the time needed to fulfil any pledges made. Time isn’t something that should be
underestimated and it can get complicated once you begin to offer more and more
reward tiers.

You need to be mindful when
setting up any rewards that pledges might come from overseas so you might have
additional shipping costs to consider, but it can, if managed properly, become
a lucrative side business especially if you work with digital mediums which can
then be sent electronically.

There are other rewards that
you can offer that don’t always mean that you have to commit to sending out
product via the mail, many of the podcasts that I listen to are supported by
Patreon campaigns and they offer exclusive access to early episodes, an
invitation to a community discord server, Patreon only web chats hosted on
Google or Zoom, but you also have to turn up which might be more of an issue
for some people who don’t particularly enjoy the people thing, and there are a
lot more people post-pandemic who no longer like the people thing.

You need to be mindful that
you won’t be the only artist offering their work through Patreon too, so have a
look at what others are offering as rewards and see if you can provide a value
add with your offer. Make no bones about it, it’s a competitive space but as I
say, the rewards for those who are committed can be lucrative and you don’t
especially need that many subscribers to take the edge off any financial
pressures.

Abstract tree art print by Mark Taylor
Happy Summer by Mark Taylor – available now to brighten up your day!


If you only sell original
works it might be time to look at the print market. There are lots of options
here from print on demand services such as Fine Art America, but there are
other options if you have the time and can afford the equipment you need to produce
your own prints. Utilising an e-commerce platform such as Shopify would allow
you to take orders online and fulfil them either by outsourcing the printing or
fulfilling the orders yourself. 

The benefit of producing your
own prints is that you are able to control quality and you can more easily
create, and more importantly, control limited editions. There’s only one POD
company that I have ever come across that allows limited editions, although
signatures through this service would more than likely be applied remotely with
an auto-pen and right now, auto-pens are becoming controversial with the recent
news that Bob Dylan used one of these devices to sign his latest book.

There are a few things you
need to consider when setting out in the print business, firstly, print on
demand is a lot more work than you think it is despite many promises about how
easy it is from the services who fulfil the orders. It’s not an easy gig and is
possibly more reliant on building relationships on social media, and that could
very well turn out to be problematic in the long-term with the way social media
is changing.

Irrespective of whether you
use print on demand or your own website to take orders, you still have to bring
the people to your work as none of the print on demand services conduct any
marketing on your behalf, unless you’re a really big name with huge sales
potential.

The good news here, if you
make the right noise in the right places, have an idea people can rally behind,
and get some positive press, there is nothing that can really stop you from
finding new markets. But, because there’s always a but with these things, print
on demand isn’t for the faint of heart. For most artists, it will be a single
tool in a much bigger toolbox.

The main benefit of print on
demand is that payments are processed by someone else, the order is then fulfilled
and then sent directly to the customer, it is a zero touch business beyond
creating the work, uploading it, and promoting it. But that’s also print on
demands weakness from an artists perspective, the service owns the relationship
with the customer and you are unlikely to ever find out who the customer is.
That makes future sales with the same buyer next to impossible unless the buyer
reaches out directly to you.

Another consideration is what
can you realistically produce with your own printer if you want to handle the
printing in house. You will ideally need a good quality dye-sublimation printer
and if you want to offer anything above copier paper size, you will be looking
at a wide format dye-sublimation printer and the investment that needs to be
made in this level of technology isn’t insignificant. You also need to consider
the cost of replacement inks. If you are only receiving infrequent print orders
then print on demand or outsourcing your printing to a local company will be
more cost effective if you can live without owning the relationship with the
buyer.

I use a mixed economy of
printing in house, outsourcing to a team of specialist print masters and print
on demand. It takes a little more planning but for the most part, most of my
work is either printed directly by me or a local print company who specialise
in fine art prints and this means that I tend to get the benefit of owning the
majority of the relationships I have built over many years with existing
collectors. Just make sure that your pricing is consistent across every channel
you sell through.

Maybe more importantly right
now, I can offer the biggest range of print mediums to meet any budget and
there’s an inbuilt access to a more global audience with print on demand. The local
print company I use is one that I have complete trust in and have worked with
for a number of years. They have access to an encrypted Cloud based service to access
my digital files and they have access to the relevant ICC profiles that go with
each work.

All I then have to do is
provide the size and filename for each print and decide the medium before I
collect the work and send it on its way. If you can build a relationship with a
local printer you do get added benefits, and it contributes to the local
economy. I can’t overstate how well this works if you can build that initial
relationship and establish trust with someone who can offer you affordable,
quality print services.

electric guitar in front of British Union Jack Flag artwork
Brit Pop by Mark Taylor – Another one that looks brilliant on acrylic block


There is a huge demand for
online resources to support teaching and learning, there’s also a demand for
the creation of assets to use in computer generated environments and user
interfaces. If you are a digital artist then creating content and digital
assets can prove quite lucrative, even in a recession as more and more
organisations look to transition some of their learning and services online.

Using tools such as Articulate
360, Rise 360 or Storyline, whilst initially expensive and with an ongoing cost,
you can easily learn how to create interactive materials for use in all sorts
of tasks. Learning the nuances of platforms such as Unreal Engine (ideally Unreal
Engine 5) will also give you a platform that you can utilise without any
initial costs for the development platform.

Unreal Engine 5 will become
the default environment for environment and character creation within the next
few years. At the end of the recession you will also have a healthy second gate
and a bunch of new skills to continue to create from, and I think that’s a
really important takeout, take every opportunity to develop your skills so that
your future options are never quite so limited.

I can’t begin to tell you how
important it is to have a direct relationship with your clients. One thing that
I have discovered during my own career is that it is much better to have 10
collectors than to have 50 casual buyers. If you own the relationship directly
with those buying your work you have an opportunity to keep them up to date
with everything you do and if you look after your tribe, they will become your most
vocal ambassadors through word of mouth advertising and that’s advertising that
is not going to cost you a penny.

Many of my existing collectors
have been with me through thick and thin, there are even a few who have stuck
with me since the 1980s when they first purchased some of my earliest pixel
work I had created on 8bit computers. In the years since I have supplied them
with everything from book covers to restaurant menus and many have gone on to
continue collecting my retro works and landscapes.

There have been times when
they have been less able to afford work but during these times I have always
made sure they haven’t been forgotten. Those who have purchased work from me
over the years have become firm lifelong friends who might just call me for
some advice on setting up their own computers, or they have continued to
commission the same kind of 80s inspired work they were purchasing back in the
80s.

I know that by looking after
them and hopefully being a good friend the money and more importantly, the work
will continue to come when money isn’t quite so tight as it is during a
recession.  My key takeout here is that
you should take any opportunity to connect with your tribe whether they’re
currently buying or not, and definitely, be sensitive to when they might and
might not want to buy.

eighties toy keyboard musical instrument
Eighties Toy Keyboard by Mark Taylor – If you didn’t own one of these, you missed out on making soooo much noise! They’re used in professional music tracks today because of the distinct and unique noise/sound!


The benefit of age is
experience, I can’t really think of any other benefit right now, but experience
has certainly guided me away from making some pretty huge mistakes, mostly
because experience reminds me of the pretty huge mistakes I’ve previously made.

The vanity gallery model was
more prominent pre-pandemic where you could rent wall space to display your
work alongside other artists. The galleries still exist, some are good, but
there were and probably still are, a number that are questionable. I honestly
haven’t looked into vanity galleries since before the pandemic because I learnt
enough back then to avoid them in the future, but each to their own and maybe
you can find one of the few good ones.

The upside is that you get to
display work in a space where in theory, footfall would be expected to flow.
The downside, most of the vanity galleries I came across in the past required
you as the artist to do all of the work to bring that footfall into your space.
You would need to hang the work, be present to take payments or be charged for
the service, and then you either paid rent for each piece, or you paid for an
area in which you could display your work. In addition, some would also apply a
commission on each sale. If you go down this route, figure out up front what
the real costs are likely to be.

Another downside to this model
is that it would be rare for the gallery owner to do any kind of marketing,
where they only charged rent and didn’t take a commission they would be paid
whether the work sold or not so there really is no incentive for them to do
anything except take your money and keep the doors open. Any marketing would usually
be done by artists or the artists would be charged an additional fee for the
gallery to perform any marketing duties.

Bear in mind that with this
model, usually it would be down to the artist to bring in foot traffic but in
doing this, you are also bringing in traffic for everyone else in the same
space.

Many of these places were
never curated, this meant that your work would be displayed next to work that
you wouldn’t ideally want it displayed alongside, or there would be sub-par
work that generally put any visitors off before they came across the good work.

I spent a month in a vanity
gallery before taking my work out and moving it into a local coffee shop. In
that first month I sold one piece of work in the gallery, but more than 20
pieces from the coffee shop during the following month. I paid something like
30% commission to the gallery and a hanging fee, yet only 20% to the coffee
shop. Both still better than traditional gallery fees, but the vanity gallery
really didn’t earn any of the commission at all.

information Superhighway art print vintage technology modem
Information Superhighway by Mark Taylor – Remember the noise? Remember how fast we thought it was? There’s nothing quite like the sound of a modem from the 1990s! All hand drawn, even the texture of the cardboard on the box and a little nod to Memphis Design!


Another area to avoid is the
get rich quick Ponzi-like schemes that appear frequently online with promises
of rags to riches in one or two easy steps. These are usually portrayed in a
way that almost makes it a no-brainer to sign up, and just as I have been saying
for the past couple of years, this includes falling for the lure of things like
those non-fungible-tokens (NFTs).

Sure, some people have made a
lot of money through NFTs and good luck to those who have, but they’re rare.
We’ve all read the headlines, “artists are being lifted up out of a life of
poverty through NFTs”, or, “this technology will revolutionise the art world”,
and then back in April 2022, NFTs crashed, big time.

The lure is often how much on
average an artist could make if they minted a new collection of NFTs, but the
problem with averages, and bear with me here because math really ain’t my super
power, is that to find an average you need to add up a whole lot of numbers and
divide that by more numbers and you will find that the final number is pretty
high.

But averages are fallible,
they are skewed by numbers that are high and numbers that are low and you only
need a couple of high numbers to influence the low and make everything seem
better than it really is. As a metric to measure the economy, an average is
about as reliable as a chocolate fire guard.

While we were looking over
here at the averages, the real story was being shown over there by the median,
those were the real numbers no one wanted you to see. This is where all of the
numbers are listed in ascending order and the mid point is the median. What you
might find when you look at the median is that there are relatively few numbers
that are high but there are plenty that are low, and the high numbers are
eye-wateringly high.  When you then look
at the median and see how far away it is from the top, you begin to realise
that your chances of hitting those high numbers is relatively low.

Lots of artists who have
created NFTs haven’t made anything at all after taking into account things like
gas costs, not the gas you put in a car but the fee you pay to mint the NFT,
and that’s not including the environmental impact from the power needed to
perform this task. A lot of lower priced NFT based art is sold, yet more often
than not it is sold for a price that ultimately the artist might, with a very
high probability have to subsidise.

The gas fee is frequently
framed as the cost of doing business, but in some cases the gas fee and wallet
approval fee can turn out to be more than you make, meaning that at the end of
the sale you owe more money than you earn especially where in some cases the
gas fee can be 105% of the sale. Unless you sign up to what we regular folk in
the UK now call the Kwasi-Truss school of economics, there’s no sense at all in
spending ten bucks to make eight or more likely, six.

retro vintage technology
Retro Peripheral by Mark Taylor – did you know they’re still making compact cassette tapes today! Not an NFT in sight!


The promises  and testimonies proffered by many of the
crypto-based online services seen online represent a miniscule number of
artists making a considerable amount of wealth off a small number of high value
sales. In short, there are a few people who are making serious bank but many artists
are losing out

However, the majority will
find that their work never sells and there are a lot of artists who mint a
series of NFTs which never find any market traction at all. Those artists will
still need to promote their NFTs just as they would with any other platform
they sell on.

Mostly, what you are more
likely to find in the NFT space is that there will be a lot of artists who are
making very little if anything and in some cases, are having to pay for the
privilege of being able to say their work is available as an NFT.

The problem, which in fairness
is a problem shared by any service that is by design, complex for the majority
of regular folk to fully understand, is that none of the NFT services are very
transparent about the hidden costs or the amount of sales previously made. If
it’s clarified at all, it’s often in the small print that is buried within the
small print of the small print or it is presented as a range (you’ll pay
between X% and Y%). 

These issues aren’t especially
peculiar to the crypto-industry, it’s the same story we hear in every market
where the few amass the greatest wealth. That’s kind of how the art world
works, it’s not always fair, but the difference with the markets for NFTs and
such like is that there’s a heap of hype that has encouraged many artists to
climb on board without fully understanding the complexity of what they’re
entering into and what tends to happen is that very few will go on to make any
real financial gain from it.

Add to this that some crypto
currencies used to purchase NFTs rely on the greater fool theory. A good
example is when you buy Ether which you can’t actually buy anything with (it’s
a transactional token), so it’s value is only determined by the demand for
it.  You can sell it at a higher price
than you paid for it but only if you can convince someone else to buy into it,
but this sounds very much like every Ponzi scheme in the history of ever.
Again, in the UK, it’s a bit like British politics, where inflation is now
measured by the eye watering cost of a Freddo Frog chocolate bar.

There is no scarcity in Ether,
there’s a never ending supply, and when there is a never ending supply of
anything and the people following stop buying into it, the bubble will
eventually burst, even my bad math recognises this. If you’re that gullible, I
have a bag of air you might be interested in.

If you think that the recent
news about a certain ex-politician creating NFTs is news you can comfortably
hang a future NFT business on, I wouldn’t be minded to hang anything on that
one with regards to potential future value. They will increase in value short
term, longer term however, most likely not. Like I said, much of this is really
about the greater fool theory and that particular sale of NFTs demonstrates
really well that the greater fool theory is still a model people buy into. I’m
British, that statement shouldn’t divide us, it’s an observation from
experience of NFTs and we have bad politics here too, but still, here’s another
bag of air you might be interested in…

That said, the technology
behind NFTs and Blockchain has always shown promise, but it needs to evolve and
mature into something that the technology can be used for that more people can
easily understand. If people begin to understand it they’re more likely to get
behind it or at least be informed enough to make a more informed decision.

More than that, the technology
also needs to resolve the issue and clean up its image around its use in
elaborate pyramid schemes and those promoting it need to address the public
need for them to be better educated in what it is, and what it isn’t because
the evangelists who need followers to buy into it are drowning out the noise of
it doing anything good.

landscape painting snowy valley with trees and mountains
Winter is Coming by Mark Taylor – My official landscape for Winter 2022! 


Right now, the technology has
a trust problem, people don’t understand it because it is complex, overly so in
most cases, and no one has explained it in very simple terms so that the public
could feel comfortable in understanding it or confident enough to get behind
it. It’s a PR problem that all sorts of cloud services encounter but NFTs,
Crypto, Blockchain, there will be plenty of people who think they are one and
the same.

That in itself is a problem in
that the public hear the same words to describe these technologies in the same
sentence as scam. As much as you listen to the hype around NFTs in the art
market, more art is sold outside of the NFT eco-system than within it.

Its PR problem is maybe its
biggest downfall. There are plenty of people who don’t trust either their smart
speaker at home or the cloud service they use to upload the photos they shoot
on their phone, so expecting them to trust something that has so much negative
press with the potential to lose so much money is a very hard ask. Its very
complexity automatically locks regular buyers out of the market.

Blockchain technology (which
is not a crypto currency) can be useful but it too needs to mature and find
someone who is really good at PR to lead the charge. None of this technology is
some kind of golden panacea that promises and delivers immediate riches, but
the concept behind its use for proof of stake and provenance is commendable. Even
Blockchain is not without its own problems right now.

If people were thinking these
would be democratizing technologies, what crypto currency businesses have
mostly done is create a parallel universe that’s a duplicate of the one we’re
already in and then it has managed to go even further and give it the image of
some really dark mafia plot.

From experience, the lesson we
should maybe take from earlier financial crisis’s would be to  hold your nerve and avoid getting sucked into
the evangelistic over-hype of promised riches or British politics it seems.
You’re quite correct in thinking that I’m not a fan of either or Ether.

If I had to make one prediction
for the next decade it would be that social media as we know it today will either
change unrecognisably or die, and if I were to pick one, as it is currently on
life support it’s only a matter of time before that support is switched off.

If we can find something new to
fill our time and keep our scrolling fingers busy before then, its final days
will be lonely with tumbleweed rolling through data centres around the world.

I might have said this in an
article I wrote a few years ago, but social is clinging on to the cliff edge
with its finger nails and it might just be worth taking advantage of any
downtime through a recession to rethink how you might connect with your
audience in the future.

If it stays, it will change
almost unrecognisably so. There’s little doubt that monetisation will only ever
be sustainable from those who gain the most value from using it and the
introduction of monetisation from users should have happened years ago.

We have become so accustomed
to having access for free, blindly and conveniently ignoring that we are the
product, that to pivot and charge users real money now will be a massive uphill
struggle for all of the platforms unless they offer a value that guarantees
amplification, and that will only work while users who access it for free or at
less cost choose  not to turn down the
volume.

vintage phone with snake retro game
Retro Snake by Mark Taylor – One of my latest Retro Inspired works! I remember playing this over and over, but the graphics were nowhere near as good as this! Time for a remake… anyone!


I think at the moment every
other social network will be looking towards Twitter as some kind of litmus
test to see if pay to play is a viable option. If ad-spend is down, there’s
literally almost nothing that can bring in the revenue needed to support these
platforms, at least at their current size. The only other option beyond people
is whether any of these platforms could potentially find a way to harness a
users technology power to harvest cryptocurrency whilst they use the platform
but beyond that I have zero idea how you pivot from free to paid without losing
big numbers.

Maybe we might get back to
basics and reintroduce the idea of real community, but there are already a lot
of community based portals that face similar challenges around ad-spend and the
very idea of community seems to be becoming more and more like some antiquated
idea. Ironically, the divided world we live in today could really do with some
community love, but I can’t see technology fixing it.

Your lack of privacy on social
media is exactly the product the tech giants need to sell in order to fund your
free ride. Their revenue right now is generated a lot less by large business
ad-spend and more by small business small ad-spend so again, even my almost
non-existent math skills are screaming, recession, small business and
precarious.

With this in mind, thinking
about raising your online presence in other corners of the internet might be a
wise move. Podcasts which I have covered a number of times before on these
pages, are increasingly popular in a world where the only downtime most people
have is on their commute. As a business, it has to be up there in the top five
of great ways to make a connection with an audience.

If you’re looking for ideas, I
think there’s a niche for a podcast that isn’t too much up its own derriere
when it comes to the art world.  The
majority of working artists aren’t too interested right now in the high-end big
spend art markets already covered by a number of fine art websites and podcasts.
Most artists might raise their eyebrows when a piece sells at auction for tens
of millions, but the majority of working artists will be more interested in how
to generate more leads on platforms such as Etsy, or figuring out new ways to
go about their creative process. Independent artists who want to own the
relationship with their customers might also be looking for tips on setting up
their own e-commerce sites.

There are a few podcasts that
do this already, but not many. Most that spring up are fleeting when the
initial listener numbers are in the single digits. The trick with podcasts is
to not provide something that sounds a too much like radio, they should be more
like a conversation amongst friends. You have to maintain quality but equally,
I think the best ones I listen to on a regular basis also manage to add in a
touch of authentic humanity too.

When it comes to listener
numbers we’ve come to expect immediacy a little too much in this world so we
expect that if we build a website or deliver a podcast the viewers and
listeners will come, except they don’t, at least for a while. Those with a
value add and who keep going are the ones that will eventually build a
following, and this can then lead to a third gate in the form of subscriber
power.

Y2K artwork computer millennium bug label
Y2K by Mark Taylor – Back in the days when all we worried about was the Millennium Bug!


During a recession, it’s
inevitable that things will become slower. It’s a tough time for any small
independent business and especially a small independent that is focussed on
selling a product that isn’t essential to either life or death. Unfortunately
that’s the category art falls into.

I mentioned earlier that
prices should be reviewed but not lowered to a point where you are neither
covering costs or having to live a life of resentment towards your buyers,
neither are healthy options for artists. But you do have to be flexible and you
need to be flexible quite quickly after the immediate onset of any downturn.
From experience, the first weeks and early months of any long term recession
are going to be critical in how well you then move forward.

In any recession,
discretionary spending reduces for the majority of people. Even when life is
rainbows and glitter, art is often an incredibly hard sell and in the art world
where regular artists work hard to sell every print or every hand made gift,
being flexible is about survival.

Whether you decide to raise
prices or lower them, whatever price you sell your work for doesn’t change the
artwork, its message or intention. I think you do have to remember that it’s
the same painting, painted by the same artist, the difference is that you can
either sit on a thousand dollars worth of collecting dust or a thousand dollars
that see’s you through the tough times and at least gives you back the material
cost of the work.

retro storage mediums art print
Storage Wars by Mark Taylor – Hello World! With the exception of punch cards, I use all of these mediums almost every day! Each piece is individually hand drawn and painted, the original drawings of each item here were at least 6000 x 6000 pixels at 300dpi!


One
of the things that always struck me as amongst the strangest things I took from
art school was that there was always a reluctance to talk about having a plan B
as an artist. That might have had a place in the days of the gatekeeper, the
thinking was that you needed to only focus on the one goal, but the art world
and the world more generally has moved on. People buy and consume art very
differently today. Having a plan B is as critical as having a plan A.

Artists are incredible. At
least the hundreds I have ever met are. They have unique talents, are able to
communicate the complex and the contentious, make a statement, and send a
message, in a way that few other professionals can.

We often talk about art
becoming democratized, but here’s a thought, it’s not NFTs, or Ether, or even
online platforms or social media that have democratized art, it’s not the
mega-galleries and the gatekeepers, 
they’re all simply tools an artist might choose to use.

What has democratized the art
world is the dedication of artists themselves, the support they provide to each
other, and the opportunities that they often share. It’s the positive impact
that they have on society, and above all, it’s their resilience that has done
more than anything else to democratize the art world and move the needle
forward.

Art is more accessible then
ever, it’s part of our fabric, it is a foundation of society, and more people
than ever are beginning to view art not as some stuffy elitist society that can
be enjoyed by only the few, but as a significant part of our culture that is
needed not only to provide some aesthetic or investment opportunity, but
something that has the power to bring people together in ways that no
government or regime ever could.

It builds bridges between
cultures, opens dialogue and conversation, it can embody values that are
meaningful to everyone. Artists have the power to do all of that and make an
impact.

So in these dark days where
recession and contraction are the most popular trends of the day, remember as
an artist you can and do continue to change the narrative and make a
difference. Focus on that and you will get through this just as so many artists
have done so many times before.

Highland Nights art print by Mark Taylor
Highland Nights by Mark Taylor – Still one of my favourite landscape works, I really must create a follow up in a similar style! 


2022 has been quite a year for
all sorts of reasons but as we move in to 2023, just know that as an artist,
you’ve got this. Until next time, stay creative, look after each other, and
Happy New Year!

Mark is an artist who
specialises in vintage inspired works featuring technology and is also known
for his landscape works and the occasional abstract! He lives in Staffordshire,
England. He has been creating professional digital work since the 1980s.

You can purchase Mark’s work through
Fine Art America or his Pixels site here: 
https://10-mark-taylor.pixels.com   You
can also purchase prints and originals directly. You can also view Mark’s portfolio
website at https://beechhousemedia.com

Join the conversation on
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connect on Twitter @beechhouseart or waste hours on Pinterest right here: https://pinterest.com/beechhousemedia