English: THAHLES, 2006. Corday. Synthetic Polymer and Pigment on raw linen. 72 x 216in. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I wrote and published this article in June of 2012, yet artists are still commenting on it.
So I thought I’d reblog it. Here’s the original article–
I don’t know all the reasons for acrylic shame, but I do know that many galleries and artists have long labeled acrylic paintings as *mixed media* to help increase sales. I’ve also heard stories of art collectors losing interest and walking away from a painting once they learned it was painted with acrylic paints.
Lately, I have noticed a new trend–contemporary artists are labeling their paintings *synthetic polymer* paintings rather than use the dreaded word *acrylic* to describe their work.
I’m thinking of doing the same. Synthetic polymer does sound more advanced, up-to-the-minute, complex. Perhaps *synthetic polymer* as a medium is actually more accurate a description…
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I wouls switch if it meant I’d have more sales. I also think that avoiding the use of the word acrylic is sort of pretentious.
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Changing your description could result in more sales in new areas, since eliminating the world *acrylic* may be perceived in new ways and attract new buyers. You are an artist and the terminology used in the presentation of your art product is important. Participating in the art market requires adopting certain terminology and using niche language. Referring to the language related to fine art as *pretentious* may place you on the outside in the perception of others. Something to consider. Perhaps ask yourself who are you trying to please by calling an accurate description of your materials “pretentious”? Are you trying to appeal to those outside the art market? Are they your buyers? If you think that any group, professional, or any ardent follower of any refined interest such as a gourmet *foodie* for example, uses words that seem pretentious to an outsider. It becomes a practical matter of whether you want to be on the inside or outside, and adopting and using certain terminology may help place you where you want to be.
Good advice and something to consider. Mind you, I did say I would switch if it opened up the avenues to more sales. I would switch but I would feel pretentious. I used to say mixed media for my gouache or oil pieces that were mixed with acrylics. I was told by others in the art field to stop using that as a descriptor because there is no such medium. Now I spell out what I use. I am not adverse to adopting new language.
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