Breaking Down the Fine-Art World

I’ve been talking to a lot of artists and craftspeople over the past 2 weeks in an attempt to find a product I can build.

During this process I’ve gained a much finer grained understanding of the fine art world. Here is how I’m currently breaking it down in my head —

Students who want to be fine artists — these people love doing fine art and hope to make a living with their art skills, but they aren’t selling anything. They do, however go to craft shows and occasionally exhibit in galleries.

Committed fine artists — these people often have studio space and sell work regularly. They exhibit in galleries from time to time as well. Many of these artists don’t make their entire living off of their art but often work in the art field sometimes in galleries or in support field within the art world (framing, manufacturing etc…)

Professional fine artists — these people have often found a way to make art pay for their living and yet they’re not super-famous. One approach some of these artists take is to work on public art projects. Cities and businesses need art and will put out RFPs for art projects. These artists pick up these projects much like an engineer picks up contracts. Another approach is to teach. The artists who are the best at this have some very large followings and promote their art along with their teaching.

Finally… blue-chip artists — these people are so famous that their art is bought as an investment by collectors. They often employ other artists in production roles. In order to become a blue-chip artist your art needs to be expensive. You also have to know the right people. Artists who want to become blue-chip need to go to the right schools and residency programs in order to establish the right connections.

These groups can all be split apart further, but this is my current useful understanding.