Don’t you think it’s disgusting to see that many artists earn more money once they’re dead? Resting in their graves, they seem to get more consideration than when they were alive. But we all know that it comes way too late.
I’m not going to make a list of all the artists to whom this has happened because it would be endless. But let’s think for example of one of the most famous artists on this planet: Frida Kahlo.
A few years ago I read some letters that she’d written and sent to various recipients (family, lovers, friends…) and in which she regularly asked for money. Well, I’ve been told that she used to live large and this would explain these requests. I haven’t checked this information but I must say that it would only half surprise me, but still! When I see all the money that comes from her art now, it’s sad to see that she could have lived without these requests if she had live in our time.
According to some articles, Francesca Woodman’s father said that one of the causes for his daughter’s suicide was a grant rejection.
In 1963, Sylvia Plath committed suicide. It has been said that one of the causes, apart from a depression, was a financial problem. At that time, Sylvia Plath was separated from her husband. She had to raise her two children and the winter was really cold. A combination of financial worries that may unfortunately have aggravated her mental health.
It would be wrong to think that we know better than these people what drove them to suicide. But how can we not think that if these artists had had fewer financial problems, they might still be alive today?
Of course, we shouldn’t think that all the artists who have grant rejections, who have a very low income, commit suicide. This is fortunately not the case! However, giving money to artists is more than a necessity.
Here’s why :
This isn’t a surprise, but paying artists (for exhibitions, purchases of artworks, conferences, royalties, etc) is vital for them. It’s like a salary and to live, to eat, and to finance the next projects, one needs to be paid.
Buying art from living artist is also a form of recognition.
Paying an artist means that you recognize the work done, the talent,
the investment, and the skills of the artist. In brief: admitting that the artist deserves to be paid.
It’s a moral support because as artists we tell ourselves that what we do is worthwhile. And the investment that art buyers make can be financially beneficial for them as well.
Also, buying art from dead artist is useless.
I know, it’s quite surprising, isn’t it? ;)
As I said, it’s now that, as artists and as human beings, that we need money.
Not when we‘re forever gone.
It is said that Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime.
Just look at how he’s known and how his work is exhibited in the whole world today. Even if, once again, I can’t say what was going on when he killed himself (and I know that this suicide is still controversial), I dare to think that a little financial help could have helped him a bit more.
It may be a wrong example. But what I want to say is that it’s when the artist is alive that he needs to feed himself, wear clothes, pay fees, healthcare,
have a roof above his head, and have the tools to work.
The money is useless when the artist is dead.
I often go through hard times, and money is always a big problem.
As an artist, I’ve a very low income. When I get royalties at the end of the year, it’s almost funny (even though I gladly accept them) because they’re almost none existent and for example, I barely earn enough to buy a low-quality tripod (haha). I know that there’s always someone going through a lot worse than me. But I also know that if I earned more money from my art, I’d feel less anxious. I would certainly have more confidence in my work and in the future. And I’d think less about changing career.
Paying artists means paying for their present and future projects.
When you do that, you allow them to continue their careers.
How many incredible artists have given up their careers because of a lack of income? So many, unfortunately. I know some of them and I can assure you that it’s a big loss for the art world.
I know that many artworks are really expensive. I’m even shocked by some prices. So I understand why it can be a check for a lot of people.
But if you’re an art buyer, the next time you have a crush on an artwork,
don’t look at the artist’s popularity. Instead, think about that the artist needs you now. Not when he’ll be dead. By doing this, you’ll be investing not only in the artwork but also in the artist’s future.