Visual Residual!!!

Musicians, writers, and actors are all paid residuals or royalties when their work is resold in another format or another venue.  Visual artists are not.  The starving artist mime continues to be true of visual artists.  Not to say all musicians, writers and actors are receiving residuals but they all have the potential to work toward that goal.  Visual artists do not.  A writer can hope for publication in hardback, paperback, and possibly in film, as well as residuals with each book sale.  Musicians can look forward to multiple sales of recordings.  Actors can look forward to syndication, reruns and more.  Visual artists can hope for a one -time sale and maybe increasing value of the one-time sales.  Some may profit from licensing of their work.  That’s basically it for visual artists though a living can be made from these avenues.  But compared to other art forms it is minimal.  That is why so many famous visual artists have died destitute while their art is worth millions.

A push has been on for sometime in Europe to see visual artists paid more in line with artists of other art forms.  The galleries and dealers have pushed back hard.  Some have feared art sales will be moved to countries without these laws.  My question for these fear mongers is, “Did this happen with the other art forms?”  Have actors, writers and musicians moved to countries with out artistic property rights?  The answer is no.  Fear mongering is just fear mongering.

These laws are called “droit de suite” laws.  So far some basic forms of this law have passed in some European countries.  Great Britain has enacted a “droit de suite” law very recently.  One has been brought up in the United States Senate once and was dropped in committee.  A new “droit de suite” bill is in the works.  The Art Newspaper has the full report.  I urge you to follow the link and learn about what could be a vital lifeline for visual artists!  And after you have armed yourself with the meaning of “droit de suite” and what it can mean to you, CALL AND WRITE YOUR SENATOR!  And while you’re at it, CALL AND WRITE YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TOO!


Its time to get paid for your vision!

“An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision”.  James McNeill Whistler (from


For more on Droit de Suite here are some links:

Here are links to what actors and musicians get paid:

Edible Adjustments

“To say that a work of art is good, but incomprehensible to the majority of men, is the same as saying of some kind of food that is very good but that most can’t eat it.”  Leo Tolstoy (from Brainyquote)Screen shot 2013-10-19 at 11.01.51 AM

Does making a living diminish the subject of political statements in artist’s works? Many artists feel very strongly about political causes and seek to project this viewpoint in their art.  However, artists also want to make a living doing the work they are passionate about.  The difficulty may be in finding a marketable role for an artist’s work while maintaining a passionate direction.

“Visual Arts has a role to play in encouraging us to search through the ‘fragments and bigger pieces’ of our world and to piece them together in ways which allow us to explore, describe, contemplate, manipulate and bring them alive,” writes the author of an article for The statement suggests a political motivation is a requirement for art creation.  Artists must have a higher purpose in their work to adhere to this role for art in today’s world.

The Art Newspaper, reporting on the Frieze London art fair, makes the following observation: “Reflecting complex social issues, political situations and personal causes is important to many artists, but confrontational works are commercially difficult.”   Though the artist’s role is to encourage searching, too much searching may not sell art.  While one writer is suggesting art’s role is to prod the viewer into a form of enlightenment, the second writer says that politics does not necessarily sell art.

Artists make art because of an inner force.  Success comes from the ability to steer this force into a commercially viable direction followed by aggressive marketing.  If the goal is to promote a deeply felt political cause it may be worth contemplating how that can be accomplished in a way more likely to stimulate exploration than as an outright in the face statement.  The inner drive may be difficult to steer but worth the effort in the long run if seeking commercial success.  Making art edible “to the majority of men,” may mean a little creative adjustment.   After all, we all want to be edible.

%d bloggers like this: