The Pros and Cons of Painting Mass-Productions
Have you ever noticed the same painting hanging in multiple hotels? Those were almost certainly paintings created by mass production. The technique first appeared in the 1950s and 1960s in London, where it was dubbed the “Fiehl Process” after Fiehl Art Reproductions. For this technique, you print an image on a stretched canvas and then paint over it to make it look like it was painted by hand, also known as embellishment. Today’s mass-produced paintings are made in a similar manner, but with acrylic rather than oil paint.
This method, however, was not used to create hotel art until about 25 years ago. Basic hotel art was previously printed as posters from a mailed catalog. With the advancement of printing technology, businesses were able to choose from a wider range of images and print them on a variety of surfaces.
The Pros of Painting Mass Productions
Some people consider painting mass productions to be another sign of quality loss as a result of lower-cost products, but it has several advantages.
- Expansive Audience – One pro of painting mass production is that it broadens the scope of its audience. People who would never have seen or heard of a particular painting or painter before now have the opportunity to view and appreciate the works.
- Scale – Different-sized canvases can also be scaled with mass production. If the original piece is far too large or small for a space, the client can request that a print be made in a different size than the original.
- Restoration – When an original canvas deteriorates, artists don’t have to throw away their work because they can make new copies to preserve the artwork. The same technique that is used to create duplicates can also be used to restore a canvas that is showing signs of wear.
- Economical – This type of art is frequently far less expensive than originals, making it more accessible to a wider range of customers.
The Cons of Painting Mass-productions
Of course, as with all things, painting mass productions have several cons as well.
- Impersonal – Mass productions feel impersonal. Although the concept and design originated with an Artist, distribution companies frequently enter into licensing agreements that do not give credit to the original artist. Those who see the image frequently lose interest in it.
- Cheap Quality — Because mass-produced items are less expensive, demand for hand-crafted original pieces is decreasing. Many independent artists may be forced out of business because they are unable to compete with these larger and more convenient manufacturers.
- Unoriginal — Creativity is frequently restricted in mass-produced art. Sellers frequently focus on what they believe businesses will buy rather than what will make a statement or inspire audiences.
- Environmentally Harmful — The environment suffers as a result of the new-technological concept of mass production. As factories produce more art, the quality of that art deteriorates. Poorly made products appear in homes and businesses, quickly deteriorating and adding to the already overflowing landfills. The low cost of mass production is destroying true craftsmanship.
Are Painting Mass-Productions Considered Art?
Some people question whether factory-produced art can be considered real art. That question, in my opinion, fails to address the real issue. Certainly, meaningful art is not limited to a single method of production. However, it is possible that mass-produced art is more harmful to artists than most people realize.
More art is now available to consumers thanks to the introduction of “cheap and quick” pieces, but the quality of that art has drastically decreased.”Cheap and quick” pieces have made it possible for more people to buy art, but the quality of that art has gone down dramatically. Are we willing to give up the work of independent artists so that we can buy things that are impersonal, not original, and bad for the environment? I am not suggesting that all mass production of art be stopped; however, one should balance their cheaper pieces with quality pieces in order to support emerging artists.