I always knew there was something seriously wrong with the art world,but when I learnt that a painting that looked like it was drawn by a two-year old got 44 million dollars – Blue canvas, I couldn’t stop thinking about how broken the art world is. In the world of art, the person who has painted has become more important than the contents of the painting.Personally, I wouldn’t spend even 50Rs on the Blue canvas. Here are some more ridiculous paintings that sold for millions
The world of paintings is having a clear divide. Those that are famous can charge whatever amount they can think of, while those who aren’t struggle to make a decent living. The painters who aren’t famous are forced to take up another job and keep painting as a hobby or a side-business.
A good painting is expensive since it takes the painter a week or more to come up with the art work. If a painter has to take it up as a profession, he needs to get an equivalent of a week’s salary at a regular job for this artwork. This inherently limits the market to a very few rich people. This also limits the number of professional painters.
To make painting a viable profession, we need to first increase the market. We can increase the market only by reducing cost. However, paying less for a painting is not an option since it would pay the artist less. Traditionally, cost of producing something can be reduced by mass producing and standardizing the items. So, how can we mass-produce paintings?
One way is to mass produce is to take a photo of the painting and take multiple printouts of the photo. The cost of taking a printout and hence cost of replication is low. We can now frame each of the photos and sell them at lower cost. The original artist gets a share of profit every time a copy sells.
The business now changes from selling the original to people from galleries to selling lots of copies from regular shops. The artist will get his week’s worth of salary, but not at once. The advantage for the artist is that if he can produce one “hit” painting, he can earn from it through out his lifetime.
It sounded like a good solution to me. However, I was not willing to bet my life savings on it and start an Art showroom. Then I remembered the principles of Lean Startup and broke down my theory and assumptions into a series of inexpensive experiments.
Experiment 1 – Is there a market for cheap photo print of paintings?
I conducted the experiment on a street in Nagarbhavi last month. The results were promising. We sold a total of 14 paintings in the space of 3 -4 hours. Here are some pics of the experiment –
I am now willing to go for the next experiment. I will update you on the progress of this idea here. In the meantime, I have created a facebook page Impulse Art India to grow this idea.
PS- If you paint, or know anyone who paints well, I would like to hear from you.