Whatever happened to the Art World?

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Since 2006 I’ve been surprised by clients saying they never knew anything like art commissions were available to them! What has caused this?

One of my goals, this year, is to get this term into Wikipedia! Why is commissioning art no longer the norm? Why has art become the expression of only the artist and not the buyer? Many people have told me over the years that they haven’t bought art because it doesn’t relate to them and, that the gallery atmosphere or the perceived risks involved in buying or investing in art, feel intimidating.

In layman’s terms, what happened to the art world?


As you can see, Visual Art is a huge business in today’s market. Up until the 18th Centuries’ Age of Enlightenment, it was the monarchy, aristocracy, church and upper classes with residual wealth who commissioned artworks ranging from family and private portraits to landscapes, pet portraits and the like. Why the church? The church, in its early growth, realised that power and influence were communicated through a display of wealth…using,the awe of art.

(Top) Blake’s The Lovers’ Whirlwind illustrates Hell in Canto V of Dante’s Inferno | Drawing by Jacques-Louis David, The Tennis Court Oath (Middle) | (Bottom) Michelangelo’s, The Sistine Chapel

To start with, in the 1700’s, William Blake, one of the earliest self-expressive artists, devoutly Christian and yet firmly anti-religion expressing his spirituality through artworks and poetry. Similarly, Jacques Louise David, a Jacobin activist also the time of the French Revolution, expressed his views via propaganda art.

(Top) Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss | Antoni Gaudi’s La Familia Sagrada – The Barcelona Cathedral. (Middle) | The founder of Impressionism, Manet’s Le Dejeuner sur l’Herbe

In the late 1800’s and with the start of the industrial revolution (VIDEO), Art Nouveaubecame the world dominating art form that revolted against mechanical production. Art Nouveau expressed organic beauty in architecture, print, home decor and personal items, however, by the 19th Century, armed by the income generated from industrialisation and all its opportunities, the middle classes could commission art but artists were exhibiting at the new galleries aimed at those middle classes and beyond, who were all eager to decorate their homes and display their newfound wealth.

Picasso’s Guernica – About the Spanish Revolution. In Black and White!!!

Thanks to the Impressionists’ revolt against the severe constraints of the Parisian academic schools of art, and with mass production and art gallery exhibitions, artistspainted their own feelings on any subject and indeed, compete passionately, on who was the most expressive and outlandish with Matisse and Picasso at the forefront. The Impressionists were able to paint for art’s sake and still, as per Picasso’s Guernica, (which was actually an art commission by the Spanish Republic,) make a statement of their own. With this lusty beginning, art began a rollercoaster ride of self-expression and eager exploration of mediums and technique and hasn’t stopped yet.

Thankfully, at this period in history, social comment was indeed rife and therefore artworks were still relevant to the masses. The 19th – 20th Century art movements: Art Nouveau, Impressionism, Fauvism, Surrealism, Expressionism, Bauhaus, Post Expressionism, Symbolism and later Pop Art artists all pushed boundaries to either consternation or applaud, and paved the way for others to follow and go where no artist had ever dared tread.

In the meantime, with all this mass production, with all this personal expression, what happened to the middle-class commission of art?


Many artists since Picasso, and indeed to this day, feel that accepting commissions is just hard work, or beneath them and avoid it ‘like the plague’ whereas others, like myself, actively embrace them. I only do art commissions! I believe it’s better business and suits my need, timeframes and need for challenge and variety and purpose.

Many artists take on commissions within the constraints of their own stylistic ability and subject matter. Illustration became a major force in the 19th and 20th centuries with the increase in book and editorial publications and a firm need to illustrate advertising text; but illustrators are typically not fine artists. To a greater degree, people were stuck thus; finding artworks of lesser quality and price to grace their homes, or succumb to art gallery price structures. Decorating has become a skill of mass appeal, evident in the many home decorating publications available today and yet art has now lagged behind: you either go cheap or go without and education about art and why its needed has become very poor.

Hence, my mission to bring art into your home and educate you all, so very passionately, on why art matters!

My dream has been to bring art to you and into your home. Art that matters to you. Art that is beautiful and art that you can understand and embrace. In the last year as an artist and decorator, I have expanded this vision a great big step further so that art can play a part in your new home build, renovation or interior decor by starting with it for the big picture outcome. Ideas like:


So, looking back on modern art history, I have created Tailored Artworks to be affordable and to come with a transparent pricing system. Tailored Art will create your home, even fix it using the rules of interior design, and will be designed with you to feel wonderful. As always, Tailored Artworks come with my guarantee to match your space and be loved or I will amend it at no extra cost. *Some conditions apply to Built-in Art Assets

So, that’s my why! I hope you learned a lot from this story and again, got a question, send it to me.

Happy to chat anytime!

Sharron Tancred xxo

P.S. Please include your phone number if you email me ok.

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