22 September 2008

What Is Your Art Worth?

Is fractal art worthless?

Some seem to think so. I don't believe this is the case. I can't quite tell if the comments are meant in a satirical or ironic way, or if they are serious. So, lets assume they are serious.

Can fractal art be sold?

Well, I've sold images, so yes, fractal art can be sold. I know of quite a few others who have sold images. I know of several who have sold images at various art fairs. I know of some who have been selling images online for quite a while. Now, I doubt there is anyone making a living from selling fractal art. But, some are making enough to keep trying. Yes, it is hard, but it can and is being done. So, the contention that you can't sell fractal art is demonstrably false.

Is it worthless because it is digital, and therefore, easily reproducible?

Actually, this is a valid point. Because fractal art is digital, it is easily duplicatable. But, so is digital photograph today. Photographers are still selling images whether they be prints or books or stock, and I would contend that the digital nature of today's photography actually enhances the photographers abilities to manipulate and enhance his/her images.

The question of uniqueness because of the digital nature is valid. It is true that photographers can destroy their negatives. But, most don't do that. Ansel Adams didn't to my knowledge. People can still buy prints from his negatives printed by people who trained with Adams. The prints aren't made by Adams, but they are an affordable way for people to own his images. A painting is an original, but there are paintings that are copies of the original. Thomas Kincade comes to mind here. And, there certainly are the lithographs of paintings. So, it's certainly not fractal art that has this problem.

A print is a print. It doesn't matter the print originates from a negative or a digital file. It doesn't matter if it is printed on photographic paper, or from a printer, or printed on canvas. It is still a print. It doesn't matter if the source is a photographic file, or a fractal image, or some other digital image. You still can hang it on your wall. Fractal art is just as tangible as any other form of printed art.

The digital nature of imagery today makes it more accessible to the average person. That's good and bad. It is easy for people to take (steal) images and use them against the artist's wishes. It also makes it easier for the artist to get exposure to their images. Photographers now use online proofing and save themselves the expense of having to make prints for their clients to choose from. This is just a natural change due to the changing technology. It presents new issues, and can cause problems for those who are slow to adapt. And, some may not like the changes. But, the changes have and are happening.

Digital is here to stay. It affects photography, video, any form of digital or art generated in whole or in part using a computer, music, movies, television, etc. As far as I can tell, the music industry is doing quite well adapting to digital. While they were a bit slow to react, and theft is a big problem, adapting they are. As are photography and the movie industries.

Digital doesn't make art any less legitimate. I suppose one could argue that digital makes art less valuable. Perhaps that is true. But, does it really matter? You aren't going to remove the digitalness from some forms of art. You can destroy (delete) the original. Perhaps that makes sense in certain, isolated or limited cases, but most people aren't going to do that. I don't believe most cases require one to do that.

If you have been selling your art, how many people have you found that are actually concerned about whether or not they have the original, or are concerned about making sure they have one of a limited number of prints? If you have purchased art, have you been concerned about this? I know some are, so I'm not saying the issue is not valid. I just don't think it is a big deal. If it is in a specific circumstance, it is easily dealt with.

While the digital nature of many forms of art today does present new and unique problems as compared to the past, it seems to me to be rather silly to claim that fractal art, or any other form of art, is worthless.