Monday, February 18, 2008

The Art Trend

So, last Monday, at the Meridian Room, INK, an art show that I curated, opened. The previous week Channel 11 News emailed me asking if they could come interview the artists (myself, Miguel, and Larry). They wanted to ask us about art trends in Dallas. They never showed (which was cool, 'cause I'm weird about being filmed), but I thought and thought about this question, and I think it needs to be answered.

I held lengthy discussions with Frank, Havi, Erica, and Larry, and this is the decision I've come to.

That's a really vague question.

If you are asking about art trends referring to specific artistic style, I wouldn't say that Dallas has any prevailing artistic style. Everything from modern to classic is encouraged and shown on walls. Dallas is appreciative of all types of visual art from the bizarre to the beautiful, you can find it in our city.

So, artistically speaking, there isn't much of a trend, but there are three other more interesting trends that pertain to art, and these three trends are changing the face of the art world in Dallas.

First, there is a growth in disposable income. Yes, I know we're in a recession, but hear me out on this one. Since the birth of the internet, the music industry has changed. For better or for worse I'll leave up to you, but it's changed. A majority of people do not spend money on purchasing music. Most people download or burn music for free. This has caused the music industry to drastically alter the way they reach people, and with myspace and home recording tools, the need to be on a major label is dwindling.

How does this affect the world of art? People have more money to spend on a work of art, and when local art is affordable, people will and do shell out the cash. Consequently, the demand for owning an original piece of artwork is meeting the availability of funds, and more artists are breaking into the market.

Second, there are simply more places for artists to show original artwork. Take Deep Ellum and Expo Park for example. About three years ago there were only a few art galleries, where now there are over twenty with a few more opening this year. That's some definite exponential growth for you.

Not only are there more art galleries, but the influx of boutique type shows is staggering. Shops, restaurants, and bars that used to only have posters, signs, and imitation art (ie. a picture of a famous Picasso) are now opting for original works by locals.

Third, we all have computers. Ah the dawn of technology. Instead of having to painstakingly put together a portfolio that you have to drag around, you can get images of your work to a gallery or client with the click of a mouse.

Entire communities of artists are growing together and putting on amazing group works through the internet. In fact I personally have booked a majority of my shows through this very useful tool.

So there you go. The three main trends in art in right now in our area are more funds, more places, and more communication. Not half bad for an area known more for plastic than culture, or is that a way of the past too...

-pictures are from the following local artists in order of appearance:
Janelle Tohill, Richard Ross, and Havi Frost

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