Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
The Starving Artist Art Sale
"Starving Artist Art
Sale this weekend. Real oil paintings at bargain prices!" Okay, I'll admit
it. I was sucked in by a television commercial. Usually, I just ignore this
stuff. I know the art isn't really "art," just cheap imitations.
Besides, all art snobs know you should buy art first and decorate around it ---
not buy a painting because it goes with your sofa.
But . . . I've really been thinking that I'd like to do something different in
the living room. Ever since the great moving episode last summer, one wall has
not looked right. I don't have anything else to do, and it doesn't cost anything
just to look.
"Want to go to the Starving Artist show this weekend?" I asked my
Actually, he likes art, so I didn't have to twist his arm too hard to convince
Now, I've always heard that this type of art is mass-produced in China. Like
everything else, the Chinese are able to make it faster and cheaper and flood
the market with imitations.
They are actually real oil paintings, however, not prints. I suppose it depends
on what you want, a genuine, imitation oil painting, or a copy of a better
painting. Of course, the ideal would be to have a good original painting.
Unfortunately, real art is often priced out of the range of the average person.
So, trudged off to the art show at a local motel. As I expected, it was
difficult to find anything I liked. Most all of the paintings were of European
scenes: mountains, oceans, waterfalls, things the artists had probably never
laid eyes on.
In China, they hire anyone who can hold a paintbrush to mass-produce paintings.
An artist may paint as many as thirty pictures in one day. Sometimes several
people work on the same painting, each specializing in what they paint best. Or
an artist may paint several pictures of the same subject at the same time.
While pay is low according to our standards, apparently many Chinese are anxious
to do this work. A shop may hire ten artists to produce originals, which are
then copied by other artists. Or, they may make copies of old masterpieces. Many
of the artists are very talented and even have degrees in fine art. But they
think of the paintings as a commodity, not as a work of art.
Imitation paintings have been around a long time, of course. The art field is
saturated with phony art, some of it good enough to fool even the experts. When
fraud is exposed, a painting falls in great disfavor, not because it is not
still just as good as ever, but because it is not what it was represented to be,
i.e. it's the painter, not the painting that matters.
The Chinese do not think of art as something beautiful to be produced one time.
They think of it as a beautiful thing being produced over and over, as in
nature. Most of the paintings are sold to commercial buyers, such as hotels and
restaurants, who buy art on a large-scale basis. They are also popular with
Florida condominium decorators who want pictures that match their decorating
scheme and have little concern about art appreciation.
The European themes did not appeal to me. I wanted something more rural and
rustic. Then I spotted it! After digging and looking through everything there
several times, I saw a framed picture across the room against a wall. It was the
only picture like it, old barns, a fence and a wagon. I studied it closer and
liked it even more, so I bought it.
It is in my home now on the living room wall. I don't care that it only cost $59
instead of $1059 and that in was made in China. I like it.
And, did I mention that it matches the sofa perfectly?
Copyright 2001 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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