Dodgy Artists

November 27th, 2011
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“No picture taking please” -

Sign on Sino-Canadian art display, Calgary

A couple of times a year the lobby of our office tower is rented to an oil painting vendor. I’d be the last to offer a critical opinion of the oeuvres – OK, maybe not the last – but, at a mere glance, the aesthetic merit of the pieces is thrown into question.

Let’s just say that some of the “sad clown” portraits you’ve seen compare favourably. Some are floral arrangements that look like they survived Chernobyl. Others are palette knife smears that approximate Paris, or perhaps what one might imagine Paris to be, having visited only Epcot Center’s “World Showcase”.

The vendors appear to have an east-Asian connection, which may explain the Stupidism above. While they most certainly don’t want their paintings photographed, the unintentional double entendre apparently also warns against theft.

I’d occasionally puzzled over the origins of these paintings. Were they art school hack jobs? Family accidents?

Then I came across this article. It seems that, along with producing everything else, the prodigious Chinese economy has also planned to flood the world with cheaply-produced art. Why settle for a cheap reproduction when you can have a real cheap reproduction?

Despite the the apparent lack of demand in our building, the Chinese producers seem to be thriving. I can’t wait for the Canadian outcry demanding a ‘national art strategy” to deal with this. You heard it here first.

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By John Weissenberger
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