Art on show in Brighton and Hove & East and West Sussex
Art and Money
Opinion by Sussex Artbeat publisher, Russell Honeyman – published yesterday in ArtPLUS Brighton magazine (link below)
Brighton Art Fair is about more than money
Brighton Art Fair is tangible proof that art is respected and admired by some parts of society – over 5,000 people pay £6 each to participate in this cultural event. Some are creators come to see what’s selling, some are collectors who want to buy, and some simply want to see new art and engage with the artists who make it.
But this happy scene is all too rare in our modern, overcrowded world.
Our material world
Our world is creaking under the burden of human growth – more people need more things, and we are fighting for our share with increasing bitterness.
We need to find alternatives to this model of constant growth, which finds us desiring more air plane travel, bigger cars and wider televisions, yet failing to find happiness. In our spare time we turn off our minds with television, alcohol and drugs.
This obsession with material and sensual satisfaction comes to fill a deep need in us, which forms as we become disconnected with our spiritual selves, the earth and the greater good.
Art makes people happy
The arts offer huge benefits to people – as audience or artist, or somewhere in between. Dance, face-painting, writing can all soothe, comfort and entertain us. A city like Brighton makes certain to promote the arts, since creative pursuits are happy and healthy pursuits.
Art offers huge benefits to society, giving people something else to desire rather than material things. Aspiring to enjoy art can be free – it’s free to sing, write and dance. We don’t need travel. It strengthens our sense of community.
State funded art helps strengthen communities
In the 1930’s depression, the US government funded artists and writers. The cold war was won, and communism defeated, not by bullets and bombs, but by culture – Levi Jeans and Coca Cola, and by Freedom of Expression – that is to say by Art – as in music, dance, writing and painting and more.
Throughout history, art has been funded by states who wish to strengthen their sense of community. The statue of David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created between 1501 and 1504, by Michelangelo. It is a 5 metre (17 ft) marble statue of a standing male nude. The statue represents the Biblical hero David, who saved his people by slaying the giant Goliath. The statue symbolised the defence of civil liberties in the Republic of Florence, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family. Personal fulfilment
This is personal! I started working as a publisher, and now see myself as an artist, I have embraced the question of art and money. It’s deeply ingrained in me that I would be poor if I was an artist. And I have struggled. I pay my rent with a night job, and I have come to appreciate those who have the money to buy my paintings, a space to hang them – and who see what I do as worth buying.
Art and money
Money is a tool. Capitalism is a sophisticated social machine. It does not feel for humanity. Nominally we are in control but it operates by its own financial logic, which is that a profit must always be made, and capital growth must continue. It is up to us humans to make capitalism work for a better society. And that means using the power of capitalism to build a better society. I believe that artists have a crucial role to play in this process.
Money needs to work with art, because money without art is a machine without a soul, without history or culture.
Art needs to work with money. On the community level, artists need patrons. One a national level, art needs sponsorship.
Participate: make a sketch in a new sketchbook – start a journal – join your local painting club, – visit an art gallery opening and talk to a stranger – talk about the art and yourself.
Encourage government to fund the arts, to fund artists, to see artistic output as worthy of income, to stop telling the young that there is no future in art. A future without art is a future without a soul.