Can you believe I am making a second post today? I have something I have been chewing on a bit here though.
I want to tell a little story first. When I go overseas to do a show I always like to take a few extra days to sight see and shop. It was on one of these trips a few years ago that another artist pal and I were shopping and wandered into an upscale department store.
On a mannequin we saw displayed a dress by a very famous designer. I was rather excited to see it because while I had seen their clothes on celebrities and in magazines I had never seen one of their garments in real life. The dress in question was a simple orange rough linen shift. It was sleeveless, with a flower near the rounded neckline made of the same material. The price tag worked out to a little over eight thousand dollars with the conversion rate.
As I was looking at it, something seemed a bit off. I realized the dress didn't hang straight. My friend and I started really scrutinizing it. The seams were poorly stitched and weren't finished on the edges, it wasn't lined and the new fad of having unhemmed material had just taken hold so the edges was raw and frayed...by design. I also noticed that one of the arm holes was slightly larger than the other.
I was shocked. This was a designer that had achieved a level of success that most others could only aspire to. I guess you could say they would be considered the "gold standard." This dress wouldn't have survived more than two wearings. I have a linen shift in a blue floral in my closet that I paid twenty five dollars for at Target that was better made.
For me to spend eight thousand dollars on a dress it had better have perfect hand stitched french seams, silk lining, a hemmed bottom regardless what the current fad is, hang straight, slice, dice and make julienne fries!
I belong to a bear artist group, and this week a topic was raised on making a list to set the gold standard for bear artists. I, along with a few others are rather against that notion. I think it's nearly impossible to quantify what the gold standard in any artistic venue is.
Art, even in the bear world, is so diverse, how can you make a standardized list. And...should you? There has been quite a bit of discussion about what would go on the list. No one seems certain if it should be about a simply making a quality product or specific design details. I also raised the question of is it simply who can get the highest dollar for their work over someone else who charges less but who also makes a quality product. Because in the case of the previously mentioned designer, their work was clearly sub par to many of their peers despite their reputation. That holds true in some instances in the art world as well.
What really sets the gold standard in art? What happens if you don't meet the decided upon set of requirements? You can set Michael Angelo's Sistine Chapel painting up as the gold standard, but that doesn't invalidate Andy Warhol's tomato soup can as a genuine work of art if someone loves it and wants to own it. At least that's my opinion because I believe that art is in the eye of the beholder.
But I am curious about your views on this. I know that many artists making things other than bears read my blog, so I would like to hear your input on this regardless what you make or if you are a collector. How would you feel if a group of people in your venue set up a list of what defines the "gold standard." Would you try to adhere to it? Would it affect you at all? Would it affect your sales/purchases to know that someone does or does not meet the list?