CLASS SYSTEM IN ART WORLD
By Rasa Kreslina
The idea of class system anywhere now in 21st century seems to be as a very controversial and in some sense hidden and unspoken thing specially in the first world countries, but as we all know this world exist and always will exist. Art world being one part that’s been heavily ruled by it. This have always seemed like an unspoken subject as lots of people would not like to admit that something like this exists for pure fact of being a shame of being lower than one imagined one is. Class is status symbol of the rich and powerful. In art world is expressed a bit different as the class here guarantees your work to be “something impressive” from the start because you have the status. This kind of system seem to work around the theatre and similar performance art subjects as most people can’t afford to view it, it becomes higher class only activity. This is the starting point to who can and cannot do the art as being overly judged by your background that does not matter at all if the piece of painting or performance or any other kind of art work is good then its good despite who made it. The royalty or a prisoner it does not matter, but as we all know the mind of the society works lots more different making the differences in classes the main subject in the artwork rather than just looking at artwork itself.
If we go back in time not as many people could do art. Plus there seemed to only be two ways of art work and it was painting and sculpture which both were done to extreme precision almost photogenic replicas if what the artist looked at. It only made sense as there was no other way to document before the invention of a photo camera. The materials for painting like the canvas and the paints or marble for the sculptures where very expensive meaning the lower class people who did lived of scarps that they could find even if they wanted to they could not do art also later on in performance and theatre too it was something that only men did as the outside world was “no place” for a woman. All this pretty much stated that if you’re a lesser person in any way then you cannot do it. But in same time in long ago past at times of say Da Vinci (supporting images in additional materials) the art was exclusive for the “greater” but it was not a high class job. Most artists who were not born in rich families but did wanted to make the art work in past they did had to work for the materials and lots of them ended up with apprentices and becoming teachers to if nothing else at least would pass on the skills of e.g. painting so their legacy would be carried on and making themselves being able to do the work that they want to and hopefully selling it so they are able to enjoy the better life on this low class job.
Unlike now day’s artists with great skills could get the income and fame that they deserved because of the high class of the society as the kings, knights, lords and other high royalties and politicians wanted the painting of themselves on their wall it almost was like a symbol of their power. The better artist they found the more power they gained through the painting. This helped the artist get the title too as they could say that they are painter for such and such royalty, lifting their own class at same time. With time it did went out of the tradition and the list of things that people wanted was not the grand painting anymore meaning the art became less popular as a class thing, yet it stayed in sense of viewing material of landscapes or flowers etc., but besides high class no one really wanted to view the art as it seemed unimportant. Why look at the pictures if you can see it life? But for the high class it was like some sort of way to look in the poorer peoples lives and in some prospects even trying to say that they understand how it is to be this other person and the way he or she lives, which was clearly not true. The lower classes needed to work to just gather simple things like the food they had no intent or interest in art unless they were an artist or an art teacher. At time of say 13th or 14th century it only seems obvious. There were lots more priorities before art.
As time kept moving forward it seemed that the art lost its meaning and lace in the society as still to this day lots of people are very critical of artists because :”how hard can it be? It’s just art”, but must say it’s still quite recent, degrading and lower class mind set. How can it be that only the upper classes can appreciate the art? Seems even in past as far as people still living in castles and small villages around them only upper class was the one interested in the art and how it was made and what was pictured in the e.g. paintings. But then again most lower class people were not able to eve see some of the art work and if they were once again because they were the artist themselves. All this is going around the idea of the viewer being privileged to own or even be pictured in the art work, but what about the other side, where the artist is the privileged one? In the past it was more about what a person could afford to view and be where now days it have in some way turned around. The social group or class is very important for becoming an artist now where in past it was more about the skill that one was able to show and how good quality work was made. Like everything the art changes with time but in art world the sad thing have happened too and the importance of the skill have become the second important thing in the list as your class comes first.
“If it is art, it is not for all. If it is for all, it is not art.”-Schõnberg. This is probably the only truthful sentence that can determine art these days as compared to the past where there was great limitations to the art and what art was and who could do it now everyone can do it. The materials are lots more cheaply than they used to be and there is lots more fields in the art world that people can explore like photography and computer arts. This gives more chance to really make it in the art world, but how do they going to discover you if you’re a pure bread “nobody”? As mentioned before it is now more important to have some sort of status even before you start out your studies in the art subject, in any subject or field it is a great advance towards who a person going to be. It is simply known by everyone if some well-known royalty or a celebrity a higher class person say is going to do a painting and its nothing too impressing for example it’s a painting of flowers or a portrait of some kind, there is 100% chance that the work will get great response from anyone viewing it and without the doubt it will find a buyer in first day of the exposure to public, unlike if just a “normal” every day person would do same thing. No matter how skilful the artist may be and how good quality the piece of work may be even if the person is able to somehow publicise the work it will not get the same reaction from public as the person with the “name” or tittle. This clearly states that the quality comes in second as people now don’t even seem to pay attention to the quality and picture perfect paintings and sculpture crafting is now slowly disappearing from the middle class and lower class of the society as it now seems as such a rarity and unreachable skill that only couple people would do it and the cost for it is extremely high once again eliminating the art only to the more wealthier people. This kind of “system” is slowly degrading the meaning of art and who’s it for.
Dealing with the stereotypes like mentioned it seems almost impossible for a young artist to “make it” easy despite having all of the qualities that a good artist should have plus more. This is because even places like galleries and different open exhibitions that are purely made for people starting out to at least have some chance to be “discovered” but it’s not always as it looks like it is only an obvious human reaction to “be in the good books” of someone with power meaning if a person choosing the works say for an exhibition will notice that there is a name of some powerful families child it’s without a doubt they will make it into further exhibition leaving everyone else to be secondary. In some way the high class being the high class for very long time have had its advantages in being able to be whatever they want to be and succeed in it; this evolves to everyone else craving it too. If a person is an artist without any wealthy background they are at point zero everything that they will do will make some sort of impact in where they go further in their journey of being an artist meaning there will definitely be lots falls and fails trough out this journey and hopefully one day the person would be able to reach the high fame and wealth only from doing the artwork and selling it. People with some sort of status do not have to deal with most of the things that a lower class people would because they already have the “name” so only with that they are already half way there. Where most artists will throw out the small sketches and try outs the high class person wouldn’t have to because they would still be able still sell them as they are able to expose the work to public in more high end places. There are some contrasts and exceptions to this like in every area of subject for example street artists like Banksy despite amazing art work still have to battle to even determine if he is an artist or not purely because some high class places would not accept graffiti as genre of art. Being a street artist Banksy can easily present his work where ever he wants not like most other artists who say paint or draw etc., this kind of actions can bring easy fame to the artist and in Banksys case it have as lots of his work has now sold in auctions for tens of thousands of pounds. So what’s the difference between street artist like Banksy and any other artist just starting out? Well the fact of purely stating what one thinks is the key here. Banksys work is very controversial most of the time and not acceptable by lots of people but “Any publicity is good publicity” if an artist can get the people talking about his or her work no matter bad or good they can easily get the fame as people being people wants to talk about things that they like and even more about things that they do not like. So if the artist is “loud” enough then people will talk about it and similarly to Banksy they will get their well-deserved fame.
In future of the art it is very strong possibility that the further it goes the further exclusive it will be to make art, because for start the overly digitalised ages have already started and there is lots of artists who would prefer to stick to more traditional matters than e.g. graphic design, meaning not all people be able to work for these matters and the people who would be able to buy the work will only be people with wealth as anything handmade is now perused as overly exclusive and high class thing and not something that most people have time to make or money to buy. This even now seems to be a major problem for people making art but it has its benefits too. The less people make traditional art the more rare it will be and the more the artist will be able to earn more from the art made and the new artists will be able to go on with their carrier and just the carrier itself will guarantee enough earnings to support the artist which in old days was pretty much impossible to do so and the artists needed the side jobs, so seemingly the world of art have gained a higher status in the world of classes and hopefully with time too the tittle of artist won’t be made as a lower class occupation by the society and the artists skills will be more appreciated.