Times are tough. By now, you’ve sold off all your good jewelry, made meat a once-a-week treat and now you’re thinking of raiding your neighbour’s blue box for the wine bottles he’s too lazy to take back to the beer store. Don’t do that.
I have the answer to your cash crunch. One word: dots. Okay, five words: dots, dots, dots, dots, dots. Small ones, big ones, coloured ones – dots, dots, dots. The formula is simple – paint these dots onto a large canvas, better yet pay someone to paint these dots for you, call yourself an “artist modern” and wait for collectors of the art world to knock your door down with large bags full of money.
It works! At least it works for Damien Hirst, Britain’s richest living artist, estimated to be worth $330 million.
Damien does dots. Lots and lots of bright round dots on a big piece of stiff cloth bordered by an undotted frame. Dots.
I know what you’re thinking – “Gee, Bill, when I took art class in high school the instructor begged me to take my drawings home and leave them on the floor where it was easier for the dog to get at them.” Personally, I was so bad at art; my parents sold the refrigerator so I couldn’t tape my drawings to it.
But talent is not the issue here. Remember this is 2012. Skill, hard work and perseverance – these are traits that will kill your career before it even gets started. Freewheeling, double-dealing, hokey, flashy, rinky and dinky – these are the tenets that will lead you to fame and fortune in today’s world.
Will Ferrell is an undertaker disguised in comedian’s clothes. He’s not that funny. *Land Of The Lost* cost $100 million to make, lost $31 million and Will got paid $15 million. Quick, what does Paris Hilton do? I dunno either, but all her dogs wear diamonds. Mark Zuckerberg has admitted to stealing a social networking idea from two college buddies and last month, Facebook went public on Wall Street. Zuckerberg’s share was approximately $25 billion.
Dot Dot Damien Hirst recently arranged to have 331 of his 1,400 “spot paintings” displayed in 11 prestigious art galleries around the world. Then he issued a challenge to his fans that the first one to visit each of the 11 galleries to view them would win a signed spot print. Valentine Uhovski of New York completed the global challenge across three continents in eight days.
“Incredible,” he said. “It felt like Amazing Grace.”
More like The Amazing Race, after which the guy who wins goes to the prize table and picks the show’s T-shirt over the painting.
One art critic described it as “the contemplation of circles on a polka-dot canvas, a window onto a bigger, Platonic picture.”
To me it looked like the easiest Rorschach test in the world.
Psychiatrist: “Now putting aside your mother issues, what do you see when you look at this page of ink spots?”
Psychiatrist: “Yes, but surely an image comes to mind.”
Patient: “Rows of dots?”
Psychiatrist: “If these dots formed a painting would you pay $50,000 for it?”
Psychiatrist: “Well, at least we know you’re not crazy.”
Now Damien Hirst’s dot painting earns him a lot of money – $50,000 for an original and $3,500 and up for a print. You can tell the print from the original because the word “print” appears beside the lower price tag.
I know what you’re thinking – “Gee Bill, what if I did get into dot painting? Would my dots be as good and, therefore, as valuable as Damien Hirst’s dots?”
Well, art as you know is very personal and every person is unique, so, yes, your dots will bring a distinct dottish personality to the palette and establish a singular idiosyncratic imprint on the painting like snowflakes only they’re … dots. Also, I suggest you make your dots messy instead of all in a row.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not dismissing spot painting as an entirely useless art endeavour. In fact, I much prefer Hirst’s colourful dots to his earlier works that portrayed two dead and rotting cows positioned to simulate copulation, a shark and sheep preserved in formaldehyde and maggots attacking a cow’s head. The People for the Ethereal Treatment of Animals protested in front of a London gallery showing Hirst’s “Piggy,” a pig sliced and diced from nose to tail. So, from that perspective, yes, I think dot art is really, really good. And if we can keep Damien Hirst’s focus on the world of coloured decimal points, then all of us, including farm animals, will sleep a lot better at night.
Call me a philistine when it comes to art, but I look for honesty and originality in painting and if I don’t see it I ask a simple question: “What’s it supposed to be and … okay, then why isn’t it what you just said?” If I asked Damien Hirst what his spot art represented and instead of “the infinity of an inhuman universe blah, blah, blah,” he said: dots! I would buy one of his paintings … for $9.95 and hang in on the side of my fridge.
I’d also put my own title at the bottom: “Dot, Dot, Dot … Morse Code Gone Mad.”
Money does not grow on trees, my friend, today it bursts forth from dots.
JULY 2012 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE