The imaginero (maker of images) has always found it tricky to make a living.
Even painters we now regard as masters died without fortune and sometimes in poverty. Painting was a trade. It paid as such.
Of course, when means for mass reproduction came along, artists or their gallerists could distribute works that would meet public approval and this made some very rich. But even then, many of the best suffered a lifetime of penury if their works didn’t conform to the tastes of their time.
Fast forward and the emergence of the commercial internet has meant artists can promote themselves. The din is greater than ever and it’s hard for artists to get heard.
However, commerce, the internet, increase in media consumption and social media specifically make for greater demand than ever for visual design. As web design gets both more commonplace and more sophisticated, companies seek to differentiate themselves with better branding, advertising and content marketing.
And perhaps brands are getting serious about patronising new artists?
Whatever time an artist lives in, patronage has always been the surest way to security. Whether of the King of Spain or Charles Saatchi or Debenhams.