Is being collected by billionaires what makes an artist great?

“Art is not democratic. It isn’t about the biggest market share. If that were true then Thomas Kinkade would be the greatest artist who ever lived.” Jerry Saltz

This past week, while some projects are gestating, I’ve been examining different aspects of the art business world, it’s hard to live in our society and not examine definitions of success.  I’ve been looking at social networking, marketing ideas, and what it means to be collected.  Someone once told me that if you own three or more works of any one particular artist, you are then considered a collector of their work. I’ve sold more art than I can count, does that make me collected?

I came across this LA Times article about billionaire Eli Broad, whose collected the art work of many contemporary notables like Jeff Koons, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol to name a few. I started wondering, why do people buy art? There are several reasons I’ve read about: to decorate your home, as an investment, a status symbol (owning a Picasso), and impulsively because you are touched by something (either the art or artist).

I look back on some of the larger pieces of my art that I’ve sold, trying to uncover their selling points.  All my work begins with a sculpted clay figure or face, then a narrative is woven around it. Should I try to duplicate the themes that have sold?

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I don’t create art with the market in mind.  My art flows from a passion to communicate, with myself, and if I’m successful with an audience.  I keep coming back to a quote I discovered in an book by wood sculptor John Rood.

“The value of art to us should be that it is the greatest key we have to the understanding of one another.”

About Babs

I'm a narrative sculptor navigating her way through the ever-changing currents in what feels like an art ocean. Whether appreciating the calm rhythm of calls for art and exhibiting, or waiting to catch a big wave of inspiration to take me to the top. I just love being in the water. Formerly a pickle packer, theater major, crisis counselor and occupational therapist with a BA in Communications and a BS in Occupational Therapy, only to discover I've always been an artist. My work grows from a strong connection to people and a passion for discovering the beauty in ordinary things. I sculpt figuratively in clay, utilizing the female form and women’s themes. Frequently my inspiration is drawn from childhood memories and my own short poems. Like each of us as humans every work is uniquely influenced by the past and present and has a narrative.
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