Creating Artistic Value In A Throw Away Society

Creating art and design has always been a process, and great art is a long process. Few are lucky enough to just get out the tools and produce something valuable and unique without working through the process and sometimes struggling through it. When I think of the word ‘process’ I think of time. It takes time.

As a designer, I know how difficult the process of getting to that place of completion can be. Sometimes I have the idea, see where it’s going and can make it all work with a great design and other times I struggle through designs with endless revisions and frustration. I’ve heard some designers say if they don’t have the idea and visual in mind and mapped out in 15 minutes they move on. Not sure I agree. It takes time to create true value.

How do you create value in visual art in what I call the ‘throw away’ society?

Especially as more and more design work is based on pre-built templates, and fine art is done digitally with clone and copy tools? And detailed workmanship is lost and shoddy replications are mass produced…

Well, first you need to make up your mind which type of artist or designer you want to be. Turn ’em and Burn ’em? Or excellence, quality and pride in workmanship?

Excellence and workmanship take time. There’s no way around it. The more dedication you spend on perfecting your skills the more of a personal payoff you’ll have. Even though some of the standards of excellence have been lost in today’s society you can create value in your art and design work in a number of ways.

Here’s a few:

  • Teach your techniques. More and more artists are taking their skills online and teaching via videos.
  • Mentor others.
  • Get involved in art docent programs in public school (I did this for a number of years and enjoyed it).
  • Encourage and support the arts in public schools (they are constantly cutting these programs and need help).
  • Don’t settle for mediocrity.

Stay true to your convictions on the quality of work you want to produce. Establish your track record as the artist or designer that represents quality. If you are an artist that sells your work continue to demonstrate excellence and professionalism which will attract the quality of clients and buyers that you seek and that are seeking you.

How do you create value in your work?


  • Great post….. This is something that is very much in need, to go beyond the throwaway culture. Thank you for sharing…

    One way I think of making art of value is not be like a factory producing work on a supply chain but in taking time to put a bit of your heart and soul into it. Also working towards getting people to fall in love with the work is important rather than focusing only on sales… I read this from an extract of this great book ” To paint is to love again” by Henry Miller

  • I’m glad you enjoyed it. Good points, I think we do have to work towards helping people to see and understand the relevance and importance of art in culture. Art is the heart and soul, the unspoken voice expressed in visuals; a hands on workmanship that takes time.

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