Could an artist become a brand?
This question resonates close to heretical in the ears of scholars and experts within the complex world of art. Notwithstanding, many artists have become, intentionally or not, mammoth marketing machines.
A visit to any great museum in the world gives us the opportunity of taking a close look (curious crowds permitting) at the best known works of art of outstanding artists. Just to give you an idea, controlling the multitude of visitors to the room where the world famous Monalisa is exhibited inside the Louvre Museum, is a major logistic task. This painting, created in 1505, is an inexhaustible source of income, not only for the museum but also for countless individuals involved in its marketing. As we step into the Louvre store (and every museum in the world has one), we encounter a great variety of items that mass market this iconic painting as well as a myriad of other works of art.DaVinci could hardly fathom that five centuries after his death, his work would not only inspire admiration but would also fuel a moneymaking industry. The DaVinci “brand” is so powerful that its mere mention in the title of “The DaVinci Code” adventure novel propelled the book to stardom and soon became one of the top sellers in history.
And this is not an isolated fact. Many contemporary artists, such as Picasso, Miro or Dali, to name just a few, represent brands that have gone beyond the world of art to become effective mass marketing tools.Any item reproducing the vision or signature of these artists is specially attractive and, consequently, provides added value.
Romero Britto, a Brazilian artist, is a good example of voluntary marketing in art. He strongly believes that his art should be widely accessible. He owns an art gallery on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach where he makes direct sales of his art work to collectors able to shed thousands of dollars to acquire just one piece of his art. Additionally, in stores located, for instance, inside Miami International Airport he markets all sorts of objects depicting his characteristic bright, colorful, naive imagery that made him world famous. While scholars and experts in the world of art cry out…unacceptable, heretical! Romero Britto smiles all the way to the bank…
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