Thursday, 29 January 2009

The China Effect - Painting by Sheer Numbers

There have long been complaints on the forgeries of all kinds of goods from designer fashion to golf clubs, and watches to CDs and DVDs, all pouring out of China. This is nothing more than copying Western products for Western consumption. A strange way for any society to grow and prosper but what does this really mean in terms of our own values?

China's low wages and hunger for exports have already changed many industries, the art world, at least art for the masses, seems to be next, and is emerging as a miniature case study of China's successful expansion in a long list of small industries that when added together represent a huge chunk of it’s economic activity.

With the art market seen as a lucrative area, China continues to rapidly expand its art colleges, turning out tens of thousands of skilled artists each year willing to work cheaply. In the village of Dafen in particular, just outside Shenzen, factories have been set up purely for these art students and graduates to work, where the assembly line paintings are produced and sold throughout the world via the Internet.

The artists working on the assembly line divide up the colour, each possibly only using 2 or 3 colours. Working their way briskly along a line of up to 20 identical contemporary-style paintings, the artists will apply perhaps a few strokes of brown, while the next worker along applies the red, and so on.

The fact that the country is producing hand painted copies of old masters is only a small part of it. The main push by China has been in the broad market for works that retail for anything up to £200, with painters who work from postcards or images on the Internet. Due to the amount of interest the original works gain, popular artworks on all levels from across Europe and the US, are being copied in China and then exported back into the Western market. China's ability to turn what has long been an individual practice into a mass production industry will no doubt affect small-scale artists, as well as many galleries and various art colonies in the West.

When someone purchases one of these ‘Original Oil Paintings’, they are acquiring a piece that could have been painted by 10 different artists. So what is the advantage of owning such a thing? If all you want is something to decorate the walls and something that has no individual meaning or worth, surely a £1.99 poster would suffice.

So what can be done about the influx of copies arriving from China? As an art gallery, we are always trying to take steps to protect our exhibiting artist’s work, but the volume of artwork on the Internet is staggering and realistically impossible to keep track on what is being copied. The main aims are to protect the artists that create the original work and help the buyers protect their investments.

Perhaps copyright laws need to be more stringent. Previous laws were set up prior to this mass-production industry, so the principals and practice of copying art in general has changed considerably. If the laws on copyright were to be updated someway then that could go a long way in protecting the artist’s work.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

New Works From Artery Gallery's Latest Success Story

We are pleased to announce that we have just taken in 2 new paintings from Perth based artist Scott Carruthers, exhibiting here at the gallery in St. Andrews.

"Out By My Side" - by Scott Carruthers

Scott’s paintings have attracted many admirers during his previous sell-out exhibitions at Artery Gallery, where his original style and thought provoking images have captured the imagination.

Largely inspired over the years by the art of Andy Warhol, David Hockney and LS Lowry, the biggest inspiration for his work has been his two young children.

The stories behind Scott’s paintings are based on the mix of nostalgia from his own childhood along with watching his two young kids grow up. Not necessarily making any comparisons, but being reminded of the nostalgic years and how their life today differs in these modern times, yet in some ways have some similarities to Scott’s own childhood.

Scott explains, “Each individual painting is telling its own story, however the description is only secondary to the image itself. I like to add my own thoughts behind the piece so that the viewer knows exactly what I was thinking regarding the particular painting and my reasons for it. Although this is designed to work alongside and compliment the image, I do find sometimes that the viewer has already made up their own mind anyway before they even know my written description. I am always fascinated by people’s thoughts on my work and their imaginations are understandably diverse”.

Last year Scott Carruthers signed a major publishing deal with one of the UK’s largest fine art publishers, which has resulted in numerous exhibitions of his original work and limited editions going on show across the country.

Scott adds, “It’s great to have my original work on show at Artery Gallery once again as it’s where I enjoyed my first success as an artist”.

Artery Gallery, based in both St Andrews and Crieff, has been a major supporter of contemporary artists over the years and continues to boost the profiles of up and coming artists, as well as the well established.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Happy New Year 2009

Here at Artery Gallery, we would like to wish all of our customers, artists and readers of this blog, a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Opening Hours

Our Crieff gallery will be closed from today for 3 weeks and will re-open on Friday 23rd January. We hope this does not cause any inconvenience and any enquiries can still be made at our St Andrews branch.


In St Andrews, we will be re-decorating the gallery and closed from Tuesday 13th January through to Monday 19th inclusive. Business will be back to normal from Tuesday 20th January onwards, with a nice freshly painted gallery for you to visit!

We would also like to mention that St Andrews will be closed on Sundays throughout January and February, opening again from the first Sunday of March at our usual Sunday hours of 12pm - 4pm.

Many thanks and we look forward to seeing and hearing from you.