Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Mass Markets vs. Traditional Craftsmanship

In Walter Benjamin's The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction it states, "Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be." 

Though artist like Thomas Kinkade have made a living off mass marketing and replication of prints since the beginning of mechanical reproduction, there have been a number of backlashes to this money making tactic. 

Thomas Kinkade Cottage Print

During the Arts and Crafts movement between 1880 and 1910, traditional craftsmanship using simple forms, and often used medieval, romantic, or folk styles of decoration. During that time artists began to create a social reform and were essentially "anti-industrial". The idea and loyalty to traditional pieces of work became a highly noted idea until modernism grew in the 1930.  

William Morris Trellis
Benjamin also stated in the chapter: "the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition. By making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence."

In this portion I definitely agree. As a person who falls head over heals for Artist Alley in Comic Con, and has also had a close relationship with many illustrators at SUU; I have found a passion for collecting the original pieces of arts that an artist develops. When they begin to mass market or replicate their art it generally loses the feel and love. Looking at the artist and SUU alumn Chris Bodily, his art has chaotic and emotional line work that loses it's motion when it is duplicated. 

Chris Bodily

My questions on this topic are: 

Do you feel that mass marketing devalues the original artwork? Or reversed: Do you think the accessibility of an item more beneficial to an artist?


1 comment:

  1. I think mass market is good for artist at the beginning because it would be helpful for them to get their name out more but after that I do agree that it can depreciate the value of the picture. Having the artwork be less accessible can also add to the want of the photo, if it is harder to get then it almost makes you want it more.

    I think it is the same as if someone getting an autographed picture by an actor compared to getting a mass produced image that is just a copy of a signature. It is more meaningful to have the original and not mention worth more.