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Old 12-03-2017, 02:17 PM
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dcaron dcaron is offline
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How do you feel about Art sweatshops?

I was wondering if any of you feels threatened about the gigantic art sweatshops, most of them located in Dafen (China) but many also exist elsewhere, namely in France and other countries, and a new one opened here in Montreal.

Here are a few links:
- http://www.spiegel.de/international/...-a-433134.html

- https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-...uture-jeopardy

https://www.instapainting.com/
There are already millions of artists around the world producing art, authentic and original, who keep doing what they love best, not so much for the money but out of a real passion, taking their time and putting as much efforts as they can to create something that will express their emotions/thoughts and here you have factory-workers who will produce the same painting multiple times within minutes, without regards for the artists or even the buyers.

and yet, they sell. a lot. something's wrong...
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Old 12-03-2017, 03:11 PM
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Re: How do you feel about Art sweatshops?

To a Westerner audience, the desire to vaunt what is so obviously a fake may be difficult to grasp. But in a Chinese context, it’s sobering to remember that for much of the country’s recent history, and in particular during the Cultural Revolution of 1966 to 1976, it was simply impossible for “bourgeois” artworks to exist.
https://tinyurl.com/ybkszzck
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:01 PM
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Re: How do you feel about Art sweatshops?

I agree with what John said above. They produce copies in such a quantity because they cancelled their original cultural development during the "Cultural Revolution" era. ( in quotes because that was Cultural Destruction by all means. They screwed up everything...).

What makes to me a good impression though, is that for Chinese people is still important to buy something that is hand made/painted even if that is a copy of an already existed painting.
It shows if anything else that for Chinese people, art equals with something that is produced by hand and it also shows the potential that their artists have, if the Chinese art market switches to the production of original artworks. ( when I say original I mean original subjects).

This also proves that what makes Western art market going from bad to worst is the fact that it has been established that art is something that has to be available only to very rich and upper class people, instead of being something that ought to be available for all potential buyers no matter what is their financial condition.
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:09 PM
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Re: How do you feel about Art sweatshops?

thank you for your replies, i read you.

but what i wanted to know was, you, in general and as artists, how do you feel about it?

i understand you wanting to show me the chinese people's point of view but i have to disagree, they're doing it purely out of mercantile greed, i don't think they give a hoot about western culture, or its artists.

it's all very nice to be politically correct but if it means our own exploitation/eradication, i strongly object to it.

the links i've posted do not give access to their galleries but, honestly, how would you feel if you found your artworks -- which you have displayed on the net via your blogs or own galleries -- were copied and sold for a fraction of the price that you were hoping to get?

in other words, let's say a client sees your work on the net, contacted these workshops and ordered a few copies of your artworks, how would that make you feel?
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:29 PM
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Re: How do you feel about Art sweatshops?

Well you are muddling two issues:

1. Sweatshop conditions reproducing (or producing) art; and

2. Copyright infringement.

Obviously the 2nd is a problem for living artists whose works are ripped off by the unscrupulous. Few people, let alone artists, would support this.

But there is the separate question of the workshops themselves, and on this I think opinions may vary widely.

I dislike the entire sweatshop economy whether the workers are employed to make paintings or pyjamas. After North American and European workers struggled for decades to achieve workers' rights, the rich and greedy shifted their jobs out from under them, to exploit another entire group of people. Deplorable.

As for art, the ominous reality is that in addition to globalized production, artists are also going to be under siege from artificial intelligence which is rapidly gaining the capability of replacing human artists altogether in the area of reproduction and even original creation. These are sobering times for visual artists, and it will cause many to question the nature and value of art (other than the prices for the works of the commoditized "great painters" where prices will continue to defy reason.
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Old 12-04-2017, 06:46 AM
Clotmonet Clotmonet is offline
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Re: How do you feel about Art sweatshops?

I was tempted to get a Monet copy or two, but the more I looked at the quality the less quality I saw. It turns out you can get a good copy from a lady in England, but the cost is around $10,000. Then I thought, well if I want copies maybe I can make em myself and learn something in the process.
I know I won't be accurate, but perhaps I can capture something of the excellence of composition and a little of that strange miraculous color.
I'd be happy with that, but then again there are guys in China who could probably do it better and cheaper than I ever could. They don't pay $25 a tube for paint.

Anyone got a couple hundred million to spare for a poor starving art aficionado? I really do need a Monet or two. My artistic sensibilities are withering on the vine here, all for the lack of a bit of paint and canvas.
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:12 PM
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Re: How do you feel about Art sweatshops?

The art sweatshops have been sending work here for at least fifty years. I didn't know they are now locating outside China. So, when we see an oil painting of a woodland or an ocean view and the signature is, for instance, "Robert Wood" most of the time it's from the sweatshops. Copyright infringement is no problem because these paintings are versions of cozy scenes on generic calendars. Twenty years ago my Korean friend showed me paintings her brother was doing for such a factory. She was trying to sell them in Canada. They were a cut above the generic calendars but they were still mass produced. So, yes, people are buying this along with the mass produced posters and anything that hangs on the wall as decoration. I don't know what to say. It isn't too new and it doesn't speak so much to competition as much as to our invisibility. I don't know if the crowd that responds and wants original art that speaks to them personally is increasing but it's still there.
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:43 PM
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Re: How do you feel about Art sweatshops?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcaron
thank you for your replies, i read you.

but what i wanted to know was, you, in general and as artists, how do you feel about it?

i understand you wanting to show me the chinese people's point of view but i have to disagree, they're doing it purely out of mercantile greed, i don't think they give a hoot about western culture, or its artists.

it's all very nice to be politically correct but if it means our own exploitation/eradication, i strongly object to it.

the links i've posted do not give access to their galleries but, honestly, how would you feel if you found your artworks -- which you have displayed on the net via your blogs or own galleries -- were copied and sold for a fraction of the price that you were hoping to get?

in other words, let's say a client sees your work on the net, contacted these workshops and ordered a few copies of your artworks, how would that make you feel?

I feel neutral for various reasons.
Sweatshops are not morally right but on the other hand all the appliances that we use, ( from smartphones to our lamps, and from cookers to refrigerators) and the majority of clothes that we wear, even the paints that we use to paint, are all made in sweatshops.
I didn't see anyone boycott the company that produces its smartphone, or the company that produces its clothes, or paints or whatever else, because if they did then two things would happen:

Either the production would move from Asia to some other place with whatever consequences that would have had on the retail prices of products, OR we wouldn't buy anything at all because we would have to boycott everything and anything, by the time that the majority of production IS currently in Asia.

Regarding now the art sweatshops. It seems to me that they have by far better working conditions than the rest of sweatshops. Probably because what they make is mostly for Chinese consumption, and because these are products that don't have to pass any controls. As you said their quality is at the best case average, and the paintings as mass produced goods, don't have to comply with any safety regulations in order for the workers-painters, to be forced to be that careful on what they are painting.
So,- and judging by the the Chinese working standards- these factories are not the worst regarding their working conditions.

But before you ask me if I favor better working conditions, I tell you that I do of course,but the matter is that I don't live in China, or any other country that hosts sweatshops. Chinese have their working legislation. As I don't live, work or vote in China ( do they vote at all there) there are not that many things that I can do, except stop buying whatever comes from China, probably everything in order to make them stop having sweatshops. But even if I did so, I doubt that my actions would harm them by the time that Chinese are more than 1 billion people and so they can support the existence of their sweatshops just by selling their products in the local market.
China has larger number of people than Europe and US have together. I think that we need to add Latin America to justify their number.

Regarding the copyright matter:
That is my problem isn't it? If I spread images all over the web, on HR and without a watermark and unprotected then it will be my fault if a Chinese workshop copies them.
I'm not saying that this is not illegal , but go and get them if you 1/ find them and 2/ can do anything about that from Greece ( or any other country )to China.
Let alone the communication barrier.. If you get them how are you going to contact them?

To conclude.. It is like they are living in another planet. They do their own things, they have their own laws, they have their own customs and they speak their own language. There are not that many things someone can do on whatever regards their matters.
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:54 PM
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Re: How do you feel about Art sweatshops?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ColinS
I dislike the entire sweatshop economy whether the workers are employed to make paintings or pyjamas. After North American and European workers struggled for decades to achieve workers' rights, the rich and greedy shifted their jobs out from under them, to exploit another entire group of people. Deplorable.

You dislike it but your whole life is based on these sweatshops. The appliances you use, your clothes, your car, your home's building materials, everything and anything is currently made in Asia ( with China being the larger employer of all).
Would you change your lifestyle that much in order for this to have an impact on Asian sweatshops? ( this is a totally serious question) . Would you?

It is like something I said the other day about the Conservation Global ( that is an environmental organization about conserving environment).
They announced the other day that they went on the middle of a forest in order to save wild life.
And I asked them how did they go there? And they told me that they went with their 4x4 cars, helicopters and some celebrities that they support them, did bother to travel with a couple of airplanes each in order to go there at the middle of the forest to fight to save the forest.
Think a bit the oxymoron of the whole situation. How can they save the environment when their environmental footprint is the one that - among other things- destroys the environment?
This organization is full of good intentions, but their actions contradict with their aims.
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Old 12-04-2017, 01:01 PM
ianuk ianuk is offline
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Re: How do you feel about Art sweatshops?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clotmonet
I was tempted to get a Monet copy or two, but the more I looked at the quality the less quality I saw. It turns out you can get a good copy from a lady in England, but the cost is around $10,000. Then I thought, well if I want copies maybe I can make em myself and learn something in the process.
I know I won't be accurate, but perhaps I can capture something of the excellence of composition and a little of that strange miraculous color.
I'd be happy with that, but then again there are guys in China who could probably do it better and cheaper than I ever could. They don't pay $25 a tube for paint.

Anyone got a couple hundred million to spare for a poor starving art aficionado? I really do need a Monet or two. My artistic sensibilities are withering on the vine here, all for the lack of a bit of paint and canvas.

Is that serious, that you need paint and canvas?
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Old 12-04-2017, 01:05 PM
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Re: How do you feel about Art sweatshops?

And another post about the controversy of the Environment Treaty.
There was recently a huge controversy about this Treaty because USA didn't signed it.
Has any one of those who were against this choice ever read this Treaty to see what was all about?
If you read it you would know that it with or without signing the result would be the exact same thing because the Treaty is not obligatory, doesn't set dead lines, and favors the undeveloped countries that have the right to pollute as much as they like, until they are able to develop enough in order to stop polluting the environment. In between those who have signed it are obliged to pay in order to reverse the pollution that the undeveloped countries are allowed to produce.
The Treaty about the Environment is Mutatis Mutandis in other words it is open for anyone to interpret it however he likes.
In our matter this translates as follow: That Chinese have the right to have as many sweatshops they like and pollute as much as is needed until they become a developed country, and when this will happen ( there is no timeline regarding when this will be), ONLY THEN they will be obliged to cut of their emissions and get the proper technology in order to clean up their mess.
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Old 12-04-2017, 01:07 PM
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Re: How do you feel about Art sweatshops?

Such a coincidence to see this post, as I had just come across documentaries and long-form news videos about the art copying in Dafen.

They pointed out that under Chinese law, anything older than 50 years may be copied. Big clients are those wishing to fill new hotels and such. A banking chain giving new clients a painting with each new account...

In Britain, a very famous forger, having served his time, now paints reproductions and sells them legally ~ so long as the paintings are identified as his, as a copy.

I've seen a few other documentaries on legit contemporary artists in China, and I don't see a difference in living conditions between the original and copy artists. This is just different from my country, for most people other than the really poor, I think.

And along these lines, its been interesting to see documentaries on European forgers having one over on collectors. Millions paid for a forgery? Gasp!

For anyone interested, here's a few links to the videos on the Chinese copy culture:

He went to one of China's finest art academies. Dafen is producing 60% of the world's oil painting???

A tourist's point of view.

A look inside China's copy culture.


Interesting stuff...

Cheers!

Last edited by KolinskyRed : 12-04-2017 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 12-04-2017, 02:38 PM
DaveCrow DaveCrow is offline
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Re: How do you feel about Art sweatshops?

In Chinese culture, not just artistic, there is a long tradition of copying a recognized classic Master being better than doing something new and original. In such culture producing copies of Old Master paintings is not a wrong thing to do.

I am not in favour of sweatshops, but where is the line drawn between "sweatshop" and "Assembly line/mass production"?

There are painters local to me who offer painting classes where you follow their lead and at the end of the evening have a painting to take home with you. They are able to bang these paintings out in a couple of hours, including giving the instructions. Bob Ross live if you will.

Do either these painters or the mass production Chinese factory painters have a real impact on the market for our art?

I have seen "galleries" selling to tourists in places like Bar Harbour, Maine, what are obviously the products of painting factories. They even offer the same painting in different sizes if you ask. We all know the style, sort of Bob Ross meets Kincade.

Are the people buying paintings in those shops going to even look for, much less buy paintings by individual artists? I think not. It is different products for different markets. I am not talking about high end, five-figure plaus paintings, as i do not believe those are coming out of sweatshops. I am talking about paintings sold to people who want some "art" to hang on the wall. They may, or may not, know or care the difference between an indiviual artist and a mass production factory artist.

As for the possibility of Chinese knock-offs of my paintings, I would welcome the advertising.
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Old 12-04-2017, 04:07 PM
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Re: How do you feel about Art sweatshops?

Try sculpting instead of painting. Make stuff that's too much of a nuisance to cost-effectively copy, regardless of the medium.

I would personally never have gotten into art if I didn't believe I could make money at it. I did manage it until I got sick, but only because I had good connections to people for whom spending four or five figures on a piece was pocket change. But to be honest, it was a crazy decision. Really.

If you sell in that range, it's unlikely that sweat shop pieces will have much impact on you. If you don't, it may. The truth is that almost no one but you, your family and friends care about your passion for originality or anything else. Of course, people who buy your stuff also care. But the vast majority couldn't give a hoot about it, or about art in general beyond that something to hang on the wall... or put on the shelf.

You can get a very nice mass produced, hand painted porcelain bird for very little money. Whether these are done in sweatshops I don't know, but they probably are. The painting is not up to the standard of really fine painted wood bird carvings, but it is by no means bad.

I have a couple of boxwood ojime bought for twelve bucks each at the Harvard Museum of Natural History gift shop (they're animal themed). These are seriously well done, hand carved by people who may well go blind eventually, carving them. People who do the same thing over and over again get very good and very fast at it.

That's just the way it is.
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Last edited by musket : 12-04-2017 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 12-04-2017, 11:49 PM
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brianvds brianvds is offline
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Re: How do you feel about Art sweatshops?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KolinskyRed
They pointed out that under Chinese law, anything older than 50 years may be copied.

The Chinese paint factories nevertheless have no compunctions at all about copying contemporary work. Not that it bothers me much. I'm not famous enough that anyone wants to copy my work, and if I were, I'd already be making a fine enough living out of it that losing a bit to a bunch of copycats wouldn't bother me too much. :-)

I once saw some of these copies sold here in a local antique shop. The proprietor tried to convince me they were made by Italian art students, but I doubt it. They were sold so cheaply that apparently lots of customers bought them for the frames rather than the paintings. I.e. they would buy the painting, then throw it away and keep the frame for a more original painting bought from a local artist.

Well, art is cheap, and huge numbers of clients buy paintings, not signatures. That is to say, they want something nice to put on the wall, and couldn't care less about who painted it. That is a perfectly rational and reasonable way to look at art. And that means that perhaps lots of artists today will have no choice but to lower their prices. There is no law that says artists have some sort of inherent right to make a middle class income out of it.

As for the sweatshops, it's unfortunate, but it is what it is: that is how you grow an economy. The western European economies were originally also built on child labor. As someone noted, it creates a problem for workers in the west, who spent decades getting some basic workers' rights, in response to which the employers simply exported the jobs to countries where workers apparently don't mind being exploited.

The only way anything can be done about that is to organize workers on a global scale, and I don't really see that happening any time soon.
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