Australian art gallery owners are finding their art galleries are transforming from one where a traditional painting of an animal or a bird would sell for a few dollars to one where the artwork is a permanent fixture.
AdvertisementThe shift to digital art has been a boon for galleries.
They are now able to create digital artworks for as little as $20, which can then be purchased for $50 to $100, and to share them widely through social media.
The impact is being felt across Australia, from Melbourne to Adelaide, as galleries, galleries directors and owners are struggling to stay afloat.
The decline of traditional painting The art galleries that pioneered the digital art movement are not alone.
The industry has been hit by the decline of old-fashioned painting.
Photo: Supplied Art galleries are struggling as the economy slows.
“I think it’s been really difficult for us to compete,” said Art Gallery of Melbourne’s director of marketing and sales, Paul Jones.
“It’s a real challenge for us.”
In 2015, the Art Gallery Of Queensland’s annual report, it said the state’s gallery revenue fell to $4.8 million from $5.7 million the previous year.
“We don’t have enough revenue to keep up with our expenses, and that is affecting our business,” Mr Jones said.
“So, I think it has been difficult.”
Art gallery owners in Victoria are also feeling the pinch.
Photo, Supplied “We have had to cut back a bit,” Mr McInnes said.
“We are seeing some of our best art pieces that we did a lot of work on get taken out of the market because the prices are too high.”
The decline in traditional paintingsThe decline is not unique to Victoria.
In 2017, the National Museums Victoria commissioned a report on the state of the art in Victorian galleries and asked for advice on how to ensure the future of the Victorian art gallery scene.
“The Victorian industry has become more dependent on the internet and digital,” the report said.
It also noted that galleries had seen their membership numbers decline by 15 per cent in the last 12 months.
“What we are seeing is that galleries are now relying on digital to fill the void,” Mr Brown said.
The art gallery owner said the online world had been the “best” way for them to attract artists to the industry.
“For many of our customers, the digital world is a more attractive option,” he said.
But it’s not just the industry which is feeling the impact.
“There are other industries in the art world that are seeing an impact too,” Mr Smith said.
This year, the Australian Institute of Art commissioned a survey to assess the impact of digital art on the industry, which revealed many gallery owners had not been paying staff to continue working at their gallery.
“They are really reliant on their staff and the artists they work with,” Mr Taylor said.
Art galleries are still struggling to keep their businesses afloat.
Photo by David Paul Morris Art gallery owners have been hit with the cost of managing the increasing number of online artists.
Mr Brown said he had recently had to reduce staff numbers from the traditional galleries to keep the business afloat.
“People are just not paying their bills and the business is collapsing,” he he said, adding that the loss of online talent was having a negative impact on the business.
“Now, we are losing artists who are doing their work for free, so we can’t sustain the business,” he added.
Mr Jones said he was also struggling to maintain a staff level of 20,000 to 25,000 artists.
“That’s just not the right way to run a business,” Ms Smith said, explaining that her team of 20 was often overwhelmed with the number of people looking for work.
“One of the things we have noticed is the level of demand for art and what it does for our clients, the quality of it, the depth of it,” she said.
She said the business had also lost more than $20 million in the past 12 months due to digital artists leaving.
Ms Smith said the number one problem for the art gallery was the cost.
“Our customers are not paying for the quality,” she added.
“You just don’t know if you’re going to be able to keep paying for it and you don’t want to know if it’s going to stay there for the rest of your life.”
And we don’t think the quality is going to continue to rise.
“Art galleries need to make up for the lossArt gallery patrons are not the only ones feeling the pressure.”
Art is the one thing I’ve never felt is affordable, but that is changing,” Mr Thompson said.
Mr Thompson is a freelance illustrator who works in Perth.
He said he wanted to create art that would allow him to make ends meet.”
My life is really a hobby,” he explained.”
But I do it for a living.
I don’t need any help from anybody else.
I just do it on my own.
“If we’re going down this path,