One Painting a Day – Following Vincent's Steps
It would be only a matter of time when the Internet penetrated such traditionalist spheres of culture as art, and particularly painting. One by one, artists who did not receive the desirable exposure in traditional galleries began publishing their work on the Internet.
Gradually, the trend developed into a movement, which now includes not only academically trained painters, but self-taught artists as well, all of whom enjoy the equal opportunity for exposure and success that the Internet provides. A year ago, an article discussing the One Painting a Day phenomenon appeared in USA TODAY. It includes interviews with Duane Keiser, the progenitor of the trend, and other concerned art figures:
…artist/bloggers such as Keiser are democratizing the art world, using the Internet to change the making and selling of art. Dealers and galleries, who command 50% commissions, no longer have exclusive control in defining who is emerging or successful.
Vincent van Gogh produced one painting a day while at his creative peak. You may ask, how does this historical fact relate to the current, constantly growing and expanding, online movement of frequent and daily painting? The answer to this question is self-evident. Though most frequent painters will never achieve the kind of reputation the Dutch genius enjoys, they may bask in it, and even refract its generous beams towards their own special purposes. And the most obvious and topical purpose is to establish the "one painting a day" phenomenon as a serious art movement, which in a few more years will have its effect on the Internet art world, and beyond — on the traditional art scene. Indeed, "tradition" is the key word here; contemporary daily painters continue a tradition started more than a hundred years ago — following Vincent's steps.
The Official Website is the New Gallery
"The Internet has created a new form of art galleries, and it has allowed artists to become independent entrepreneurs," says Peter Togel, an artist and co-owner of ArtByUs.com, a new art auction site. "The consumers of the art are people who have white walls and midsized incomes, who could never pay for a painting in a gallery but don't want to go to Wal-Mart to buy a poster."
Almost every self-representing daily painter owns a website, an online private gallery, where they display their artwork for all to see, enjoy and purchase. Modern digital technology allows for an incredibly accurate reproduction. As a critic, I am able to study each piece very closely, examine the brushwork and the most minute details. As a collector, you may look at a painting for hours, install it as a wallpaper for your desktop computer, get acquainted and fall in love with it. All this from the comfort of your home, without any outside interference or influence. Then, there is the truly exciting, and some say revolutionary, possibility of contacting the artist directly, via email or other similar method; a collector/potential buyer may establish a real relationship with their favorite artist. A real relationship in a virtual world? Welcome to the realm of Internet art.
The Blog and the Auction Sites are the New Dealer
Now artists can sell directly to consumers, using blogs or auction sites at prices more affordable to would-be collectors. The result: More people are making a living as artists, more people are buying art, and more art is selling at a wider spectrum of prices.
Additionally, every artist keeps a blog containing reproductions of their latest paintings, often including commentary and general thoughts by the painter. Some reveal more about their process, some less, but the mere possibility to receive frequent updates, pictorial as well as textual, is simply amazing. Nowadays we quickly get used to technological innovations and the benefits we derive from them; we forget how private and guarded the sanctity of a studio can be. But, artists who keep a blog, may occasionally let their admirers to have a peek inside their studio — the dream of every art lover. And as to the pragmatical aspect, that of purchasing the piece you like, a single click will refer you to popular auction websites, where the majority of frequent painters sell their work. This is when the term "impulsive buying" finally assumes a positive meaning
"This is a very exciting development," says New York art collector and corporate attorney Gregory Peterson, who already had a museum-quality art collection when he discovered Keiser's blog. Now he has a dozen of Keiser's paintings. "The entire method of collecting has radically changed."
I believe that art is important. That the Internet "One Painting a Day" movement is a breakthrough that paradoxically relies on tradition. That every keen web surfer should dedicate a few minutes (which may grow to hours) to browsing daily/frequent painters blogs and websites. That when most paintings cost in the range of $100, everyone can become a collector.
I intend to write reviews and critique on prominent daily and frequent painters who publish their work on the Internet, review other websites and blogs that are involved in the trend, and, last but not least, to have fun while doing it — and hopefully pull you in along with me.