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ArtId Art Blog

The Business of Art

You're an artist. You've got that certain something. Talent, technique, flair, sensitivity - whatever. A unique way of looking at the world. It's a gift and a responsibility. It's great fun and very hard work. And the possibilities are endless.

Art, visual art, exists in a million different forms. It's all around us and you're a part of that, or can be. Now, some people like to divide artists into two categories - Fine Artists (capital F, capital A) and commercial artists (lower case everything). According to these people, Fine Artists have museum/gallery careers and would never do anything as demeaning as, say, a note card, whereas commercial artists have probably never been in a museum and would do anything for a buck. These people who like to categorize tend to be not very creative themselves and are also missing the point.

I've been a working artist for 25 years and have enjoyed a widely diverse career. I've had the thrill of seeing my work displayed on international museum walls as well as on paperback book covers, the excitement of a sold out gallery show and a sold out line of posters. I've had the opportunity to do portraits and placemats, landscapes and linens, still life and stationery, murals and mugs. And do you know what? They're all fun. And they're all valid. And they all bring people joy.

And yes, I've even done note cards, though I don't use them myself. The note cards I use have images by Winslow Homer.

Never forget that the Sistine Chapel ceiling was a contract job, that Rembrandt did some portraits just to pay the rent, that Matisse was toying with the idea of what we would now call a "product line" and that Picasso made dinner plates.

Not everyone can afford a $200,000 canvas, but most people can afford a $2.00 note card. Is it wrong to share your art with a larger audience? I don't think so.

Biography William Sloan was born in 1954. He grew up in Haverton, PA, the bubblegum capital of the world. He studied at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia where he later was a guest teacher for fourteen years. Sloan is a founding partner of THREE, a Manhattan based graphic design firm, 1982 to the present, and Sloan McGill, a Manhattan based art resource company, 1996 to the present. His art is represented by Sloan McGill in New York and the Sande Webster Gallery in Philadelphia. He is published by Modernart Publishing and Art in Motion.

In future segments Sloan will discuss different aspects of licensing, publishing and commercial application of art.



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