Add to [c]art: Artists need to make a living

Published July 9, 2021, 8:00 AM

by Jules Vivas

There must be money in art because art is a way of living

HOW DO YOU MEASURE THE VALUE OF ART This week’s Philippine Panorama focuses on the question of how art can sustain artist (Cover by the author)

Consumer behavior has drastically changed over the past decades due to the rise of e-commerce and the digital revolution hastened by the pandemic. As people are increasingly getting engaged in the virtual world, businesses and entire industries shift to online landscapes, including the art sector.

Beyond the internet’s ability to connect everyone, everywhere, it is currently the only COVID-proof venue for the promotion, perusal, and consumption of art.

TANGHALING TAPAT, Rolando Zaballero, oil on canvas, 2021

Similar to how the film industry has adjusted to the challenging times, releasing titles in streaming platforms, artworks are showcased in virtual galleries. Local art events Art in the Park and Art Fair Philippines, for example, were both held online this year because of the lockdown.

If the art scene were to survive, there needs to be a space in which artworks are exposed and consumed. After having observed that artists are struggling in the health emergency, IT business owner Jojo and finance professional Joweeh Liao decided to create an online haven for hand curated Filipino artworks.

8COINS, acrylic on canvas, by Macario Jun Roco, 2021

In November of 2020, the couple established Drybrush Gallery, an online platform aimed to help ailing artists reach more audience, sell their works, and ultimately earn their keep. With the goal of making art accessible for all and less intimidating for aspiring collectors, Drybrush hosts a wide range of profiles, from acclaimed sculptors and painters to farmers, electricians, teachers, who are self-taught artists, with as many styles possible— from abstract to contemporary to cubism. Apart from this noble intent, Jojo and Joweeh produced the site in pursuit of their passions—art and technology—in the health crisis.

Curation is done by Mariel Yulo, also the digital gallery assistant. The Ateneo graduate trained in Silverlens and Artinformal galleries. She also honed her skills in marketing and cataloguing at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London.

BEHIND THE GALLERY Curator Mariel Yulo with Drybrush Gallery owners Joweeh and Jojo Liao

Most of the artworks featured are affordable, and the delivery is free.

While serious art collectors are skeptical about purchasing art online, there are many advantages to it, like convenience, price transparency, and ease of delivery among others. Despite this scepticism of some collectors toward online art transactions, Drybrush has been able to sell hundreds of artworks from over 70 artists since it opened late last year. Whatever kind of art you prefer, or platform you wish to buy it from, the important consideration is to support local artists.

KALAPARAN III EDITION 1 OF 3, photograph, by Jeremy Castro, 2021

Artists are among the most passionate people with deeply personal works. Art itself is fundamental to our humanity. Simply put or to put it simplistically, without artists, there will be no art. The absence of art would mean the absence of beauty, inspiration, creativity, individuality.

Without art, and without artists, there would no meaning or depth to sound or movement or color or swirls or shapes.

Life would be a blank slate.