In a world of mass production, off shore sourcing and importing as a result of cheap labour, materials and other costings, it is no wonder why the term 'struggling artist' has stuck due to the competition.
You see Asian made canvases labelled as 'original' when they have been printed on canvas and selling for $40 a pop from discount stores. Just have a look on ebay and try to 'spot the authentic' genuine artist and not a reproduction company. Of course there are buyers for everyone, even being on a budget is fine. But it is the damaging and deminishing effect these cheap reproductions have on the arts industry. The public cant fathem the value of hundred or thousand dollar plus artworks when they can get something similar for a fifth of the cost. However, if they aren't concerned with quality then the issue is a moot point.
True buyers and collectors aren't the niche we are now trying to target. It is the public and comnunity. Even if they aren't our buyers, if they can understand and appreciate Australian made, owned and supported then they might begin to understand the price galleries pay. As an artist who has used galleries and organisations before to sell my art I can scoff at 33% commission or more, but I too can understand and appreciate the service and need for their survival. At the end of the day it is a business, not a charity. I would generalise much of the public thinks art should be for free -being that public art is free to look and enjoy (that is another part of this issue about educating the public), however it is a product too at the end of the day. Some would deem an investment and appreciates rather than depreciates with age.
I too have gone down the path of commericalisation for survival, however considerate professional artists cap their prints at x number of units to retain integrity to yhe original artwork. And a buyer can negioate for the original not to be reproduced (sometimes by paying a bit extra). But not every artwork is reproduced either.
So whether your a buyer, an artist or the general public, consider the cost of living, labour and materials along with the benefit of supporting the Australian arts industry -supporting local artists and keeping our products and services inhouse as well as buying genuine authentic artwork.