A Thinking Out Loud Post – Starving Artist? Really!?


For many years I have seen advertisements on TV for those starving artist sales, for oil paintings no more than $69.00, but never was able to make it to one. I had this picture in my head that the sales would be a room, much like a convention center, filled with artist selling their work, each sitting at a little booth, trying to make a buck.

Well, this last weekend, there was one of those sales in my county, 40 minutes away. I made the effort to finally go to one, and boy was I disappointed. No artist sitting at booths selling their work. Nope. Instead, it was a large room with paintings stacked against the wall, on the floor and on chairs. And there was a table of happy ladies waiting to take your money. There were oil paintings, but I was having my suspicions about their origin. As I looked among the stacks of sofa sized oil paintings, I realized that there were more than one of some of the “originals”. Then as I moved to the smaller paintings, the same art repeated itself again in a smaller version, and then again in the 8×10 section.

I felt cheated. I was drawn there with the notion that I would be helping out struggling artist. When I got home, I decided to do some research on the Internet about the origin of these paintings, and according to a few sites, the paintings are made by Chinese workers on an assembly line.

Each “artist” paints one specific thing, be it a background, a bird, a tree or the clouds, and then the painting moves along to the next artist who paints his “specialty” and so on until the painting gets to the end of the line, and voila, you have a real oil painting. That means that the workers each stand there for 14 Hours painting the same stupid tree all day. And that’s the other thing. All the paintings were landscapes.

So the next time you see one of those TV ads for a starving artist sale, just do your research and be sure that your conscience is willing to hang sweat shop art in your home.

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