It’s once again the time of the year when a lot of people are heading to Pinterest in search of gift and decoration ideas. You might genuinely believe that what you are are purchasing is original hand made items and it might some as a complete surprise you that most artists are slowly turning their backs to this visual way of selling and heading for other social media platforms in protest to Pinterest Decorating Junk.
When I created my trademark, Art By Heart 5 years ago to be exact, I was frustrated with the fact that nobody really values real art any more. The human striving for perfection has generated a huge demand for mass produced junk, which most people mistake for art.
Part of this problem is created by the social media, which empowers individuals to sell reproduced items fraudulently as original pieces of art, as well as creates heavy price competition.
Sometimes I am offered so little money for my art, that it won’t even cover the cost of the materials I used. I have however been personally unwilling to adjust my prices under the minimum price of 10 euros per hour, as I do value my own time and work.
Sounds little, right? Well, inn my native Scandinavia it’s well below the minimum wage and yet many artists struggle to make even half. I have been known to rather give my paintings, carving, drawings and clay work away as gifts than devalue my art by accepting peanuts for it.
But even that hasn’t always worked in my favor! Few Christmases ago I gave one of my paintings as a present to the grandmother of my children, as I wanted to show my appreciation for her often helping to take care of the kids while I was at the cancer clinic.
She took one look at it, told me to take it back to the shop and I would get my money back. Or maybe I could at least recover the frame, as she didn’t need any more junk in her house!
Although her reaction hurt me deeply, afterwards I felt a big smug though, because she had mistaken my original piece for perfected and mass produced print!
I have also been asked many times to produce something on commission, only to find that the person who made the order was not interest in my art after all, as it wasn’t as smooth and polished as they had wished for, or the portrait I had painted was too realistic instead of an idealistic image which they had in their mind, based on all the filters they are using for the photographs to cover up all the wrinkles.
As a result, I no longer take up any commission work. I simply produce what ever art I am inspired to make and offer it for my customers. My new motto being;
TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT!
Just to make you realize how bad the problem is, follow me through with real life story from one of my good friends. He lives in Denmark and is a passionate wood carver, who create amazing pieces of art inspired by the nature!
Mass-produced Pinterest Junk
You are redecorating and browse under category art on Pinterest, looking for some unique piece to compliment the new sofas and dining room furniture.
A fantastic item catches your attention! It’s so pleasing to the eye with it’s perfect shapes and colors, a real piece of art. It’s sold cheaply, only 20 dollars including the delivery! You can hardly believe your luck and impatiently wait to have it sitting on your mantle piece!
Weeks later it arrives, to your surprise it comes from Taiwan, even though the ‘artist’ who pinned it was advertising it as original Scandinavian art. You turn the item in your hands, find the print ‘Made in Taiwan’ and slowly realize you were fooled into buying yet an other piece of Pinterest decorating junk!
Don’t get me wrong! It once was a real piece of art, produced by some starving artist in one or an other developing country. It was purchased for few pennies, molded and then mass produced in the one of the Chinese factories.
It was then photographed in a favorable light and setting and pinned on Pinterest under a fake profile, for a ridiculously low price which no real artist can compete with, for you to fall in love with as an original piece of art!
So you were fooled, but int he end none of your friends were likely going to notice, the piece was so perfect after all! After all you got something nice that fitted your new interior design, so all was well and no harm done, right?
Devalued Price Of Real Art
In the meanwhile somewhere in Scandinavia an artist spends weeks perfecting a wooden carving. He caught his inspiration from the nature, he lovingly searched for the right piece of wood, while he sketched his ideas on paper.
Finally he found just the perfect materials, sharpened his tools and got to work creating his masterpiece. It was not perfect, because it was after all handmade, but every flaw in fact enhanced it’s beauty. He sanded it by hand and give oiled it several times to protect the wood.
He grew attached to it and felt bad about letting it go, after all he had put so much work and effort into it, but he knew he needed the money. There were extra bills to pay, kids needed Christmas presents and his daytime job in the factory and the high taxation never left room for any luxuries.
He didn’t have a studio to photograph his carving, put he did the best he could outside on the back yard. Happy with the results he created an account at the new social media platform known for artists he had learned about!
Excited he pinned his work on Pinterest, imagining global market enhancing his chances of making a sales, because apparently original Scandinavian art was in demand in the United States!
He put the price at a mere price of 50 euros. Not that it was any real representation of the couple of hours of work every evening for weeks of work he had put into it, not to talk about the cost for the oil he had used to treat the wood with.
But he had done his homework and wanted to make the sale as fast as possible. He knew art was not in high demand nowadays, but anything less would just not make any sense!
Days went by, nobody showed any interest. Finally a week later someone contacted him, asking if he would be willing to accept 15 euros for it, after all it was flawed in this ways and that. The low price of reproduced junk had taken it’s toll on the clients.
With a heavy heart the artist accepted, as at least the client was willing to pay for the shipping costs. Maybe if he was able to find the time to make and sell few more at the local farmers market the next weekend, he would be able to pay for his daughters ballet lessons.
And do you know what’s the saddest thing of it all, something that makes my heart ache? My friend is now actually convinced that his wonderful hobby, which has produced amazing art over the years, is in fact worth nothing.
When I told him that I wanted to feature the carving in question in this story, but he he was too ashamed for his imperfect work, so he didn’t give me the permission to do so.
Support Real Art By Heart
As the moral of this story people, all I ask is that this year, instead of supporting the sale of mass-produced junk on Pinterest, you will actually find a real unique hand made item to use as decoration for your house.
Since most real artists have abandoned the platform, you might have to you head for the local farmers or Christmas market in order to buy a real home piece from a local artist, who created his art by heart.
Or you might be luck to find on of the few who followed my suggestions on creating their own website for displaying their art! I genuinely hope they all make a lot of sales this holiday season!
Here is my own store, but by all means browse the Internet for others works as well! I will be uploading a lot more into it the coming days:
Next time when you feel the need to argue about the price, remember that an artist spends days on each piece that he creates. Imagine that he spent 10 hours creating a his painting, which you ended up paying 50 dollars for. Do you honestly feel that 5 dollars per hour is an honest value for the fruits of his loving labor?
ॐ In behalf of all the artists in the world,
P.S. If you want to learn how to create a wonderful atmosphere in your home, take a look at the Ayurveda aroma experience
These essential oils have a subtle, yet extremely powerful influence on our mind and body.