You hear it all the time, this gall-derned economy! In my mind I have created this scene in a starkly lit hall in some impoverished-cum-trendy former industrial space-cum-gallery where a pencil-thin woman in red lips turns to her mate, clad in a lavender linen suit, furrows her brow and whines “$135,000 used to get you an old master. Now it’ll only get you a starving hipster from Chelsea.”
‘Art is not a luxury, it is a business.’ That and more according to anyone who sings — or paints, or sculpts, or slathers themselves in egg yolks and dried leaves and writhes around in front of a camera — for their supper. And if you consider that the average diner charges you $7.00 for a plate of eggs and hashbrowns when the farmer only sees $0.27 for what you just swirshed down with a cuppa joe, maybe you can see what I’m getting at here.
Across the globe artists and galleries are tightening their belts and digging their fingers into phone booths to find errant quarters. There’s a little money out there for them, but not much.
A few weeks ago I was in Nelson, BC and talked to a couple who make their living as glass-blowers, artists, but haven’t even opened their shop once in 2009 because their market — including that found at the typical myriad of arts and crafts fairs in the PNW — has evaporated. “I swing a hammer and she helps out in an office. We managed to save a little before things went pear-shaped,” he told me.