Mary Dineen from Sante Fe writes:
While I haven't yet lived completely off the monetary grid, I have traded much art for needs — medical, alt medical, dental, firewood, and other trades. I think opening the dialogue about how the Big business of Art is intricately linked to Big Business and business as usual is important. I have and do sell art, but am not in the strata of "financially successful" artist. Those artists who are 'successful', to what ever degree, have something to lose, should, when the monetary structure collapses. And yet those of us artists who have nothing to lose by a collapse know we all have so much to gain by this shift. Freedom!
The emperor's clothes syndrome is still in place in the big art world — it is deeply connected to big money. Big artists don't want to open this Pandora's box because it would seem like economic suicide. How would successful artists live, if not by the almighty dollar? Mind you, I have painted seriously for 16 yrs, selling or not selling, living gracefully, at times very precariously, but painting still. I am an artist, it is what I do. "Life obliges me to do something, so I paint" (Rene Magritte).
Many artists live reclusive lives, simply because the world at large is so foreign, so not in line with how artists see life. I feel that artists will be reintegrated into life when money is no object. I look forward to it!
Mary's feelings and activities have parallels with those of Caroline Woolard. Caroline co-founded OurGoods.org and Trade School in New York, facilitating the direct exchange of artistic services and goods with services and goods that the exchangers agree on.