Poor Artists: Science Behind Art and Economy

Poor Artists: Science Behind Art and Economy

Let’s face it: most artists are not wealthy. However, when people see Andy Warhol’s “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” being sold for $195 million at Christie’s New York, they wonder how such a discrepancy between poverty and art is even possible. As it turns out, the devil is in the detail, and the art world suffers from the same paradox as the whole civilized part of the planet suffers these days – the paradox of wealth and poverty. How do art and economy correlate, where does economic inequality take roots, and are there other factors that create poor artists?

Art and Economy: Why Are Poor Artists Poor?

So why are artists poor? There is basically one main reason for that: the art economy is distributed disproportionately. You can compare it with a country with a huge gap between poor and wealthy. In the art market, only a handful of artists can boast about eight or nine-figure sums they get from the sales–and most of those artists are long dead.

The problem is that the majority of emerging and even some established artists have no such privilege of selling their works for millions of dollars. Even when their canvases and sculptures sell for some decent money, it happens so rarely that it is hard to call a regular income. Financially successful artists that you hear about in the news are just a beautiful picture of people who managed to get popular. In reality, poor artists are a major problem that today’s art community tries to fight.

Why Does This Happen?

There is no one answer to this question, as it happens due to several factors. First and foremost, art is not a popular commodity. Yes, people enjoy it, like it on social media, and even visit art galleries and museums, but buying and collecting art is still a niche that has yet to strive in the future. Apart from that, the appreciation of art is still not embedded in the global culture. Relatively a small number of people are ready to pay for canvases that they see. Last but not least, there are so many aspiring artists that it is hard for the industry to feed all of them at once – that’s how poor artists are made.

What Needs to Be Changed to Help the Situation?

Non-trivial problems require non-trivial solutions. The situation with poor artists may change in the future when people will be more open about buying artworks and will start appreciating artists more. Also, technologies have already become a helping hand for various artists, especially those creating digital art. Hopefully, more solutions will be in place in the near future.