Quote of the Day

“Art that gets paid for today is typically art that helps a company get a return on its investment. But as many are beginning to point out, that’s not the only possible answer, or necessarily the best one.” — Anna North

North’s piece at the New York Times is a fascinating read about art and the price of art in today’s Internet age, but that quote, from the end of the article, is what I have struggled with, and continue struggling with.

Corporate largesse usually isn’t the best answer, not where art is concerned. There are work that will hardly contribute to any effect on a company’s bottom line, but are necessary anyway. Everyone is still trying to find a way to make it financially sustainable, and that is only possible when enough people find it important, or compelling enough to put down money for it. If that doesn’t happen, I can only hope the art continues to get made anyway, because that is what we do, no matter what else we are doing to pay the bills and put food on the table.

When there are so many ways to get things for “free”, it inculcates the mentality that art should be available at no cost. I have no answers to that at the moment, except to keep photographing what is relevant to me; nor is this some sort of apocalyptic warning, but rather just an observation that gets me thinking over a cup of coffee and a cigarette or two.

Untitled — Singapore, 2013. © 2014 Callan Tham.

Will people buy my work? Or prints? Or help sustain what I do? I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

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