The Artist: A Modern Influencer
The Massive Consumption of Art in Today’s World
Art at its most ephemeral
Art, with a capital A, has always been regarded as a prestigious institution. Spending time at a museum or art gallery has been an avid hobby of the world's wealthiest; how high-brow of an activity to indulge in. No longer is that the impression one receives during the daily morning Instagram and Twitter scroll. With more and more artists establishing an online presence to project their creativity, Art has become available to the masses. Not only does this make for a more cosmopolitan, cultured human population, but the exposure artists are receiving has changed what it means to be an artist in this modern age.
Three things you might not realize about today’s art world:
You are already consuming art and supporting artists.
If you browse Instagram (or any other social media outlet for that matter) you are consuming art without even realizing it. Your comments and likes are virtual currencies in the Instagram world – they have real value, and actually end up providing many influencers with a living. Your likes mean a lot, and your thoughtful comments even more.
In fact, regardless of what you do, you are consuming art. Artists are responsible for the aesthetic packaging that draws you toward your favorite brands, the figures of textbooks or illustrations of children’s books, the posters and murals that decorate walls indoor and out, the cartoon characters or animations found in movies or comic books.
That’s not to mention art forms other than the visual arts of which I write.
You do not need to be rich to purchase art.
Purchasing artwork and supporting creatives no longer requires the wealth or laborious process of, for example, commissioning an expensive oil painting for over the mantle. As consumers, we have access to an immeasurable breadth of art through online marketplaces and other modern venues.
The selection is more vast today than ever – in addition to paintings and home décor, artists produce jewelry, beauty supplies, clothing, and custom-made or personalized items. Etsy artists excel at creating a wide variety of gifts, household items, and personal care products, and supporting these artists marks a conscious decision to support creators and entrepreneurs, instead of the big-name competitors that mass produce similar things.
When you purchase a painting from a home décor chain store, you aren’t exactly supporting the art community, but rather opting for a cheap alternative that may have been produced via child labor or other cruel practices. I discourage these purchases, and suggest investing in fewer, higher quality pieces made by local creatives.
Support comes in so many forms other than cash.
Financial support is of course important, but today artists value patronage in many other forms, such as the aforementioned comments or likes, direct interaction, and constructive criticism.
Consuming art means so much more than purchasing paintings for your home. It means finding art that you like, interacting with the artist, and sharing the work so that others can discover it.
Visual art is paintings and drawings – but also clothing, furniture, glassware, beauty supplies, and so many other things.
The point I want to illustrate in this article is that anyone can show support – whether it be by purchasing a framed painting, buying some cute handmade coasters on Etsy, or just leaving a thoughtful comment on a post. Artists are building the future of aesthetics, and I believe the market is shifting away from mass-produced items toward artisan-produced, sustainable, or fair trade goods. Supporting the local community of creators is one great step toward that noble goal.