Artists beware! You may be outsourced next to…

China perhaps, or even a dog!

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As you know, a vast amount of global manufacturing is outsourced to China. In fact, a fair deal of so-called “original” art now comes from China as well, where art factories of “copyworkers” are busy reproducing works by old masters or, for a few extra Yuan, originals in this or that particular style. For instance, the city of Dafen, China manufactures more “Van Goghs” in a couple of weeks than the real Van Gogh created in his entire lifetime. Dafen produces some great bargains — $2 for an unframed old master, $3 for a custom version (prices before enormous markup) — if you like to buy your art by the square foot.

You’ve probably also seen miscellaneous watercolors emanating from talented elephants in Thailand, the late Congo’s tempera paintings auctioned at Bonhams, or the German artist chimpanzee who, with her handlers, recently fooled an expert into believing her work was that of Ernst Wilhelm Nay.

Well, now comes a second biography of Tilamook Cheddar, or Tillie, the most successful animal painter in the history of, well, animal painters. Tillie, a Jack Russell terrier from Brooklyn, NY, has been painting for around 7 years, and has headlined 17 solo shows across the country and in Europe.

Despite these somewhat disturbing developments, I think artists will be around for some time. But, what about gallerists and art dealers? Could you see the Toshiba robot or a couple of (smart) lab rats or an Art-o-mat replacing your friendly gallery owners? Please don’t answer this one!

Portrait of The Dog. Image courtesy of T.Cheddar.

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