Andy Blank, of the self-named contemporary art company, is a Brooklyn-based artist known for “making the unscalable scalable”–AKA, Blank produces limited edition paintings and prints all under $199. The handmade artwork ship fully framed, allowing the customer to easily display their new art with tools picked by the company. In a saturated market of both astronomically-priced paintings and low-quality prints, Andy Blank stands out as a pioneer of a new art business model.
Blank’s works are unique in their ever-changing explorations of texture, color, and mediums. From photographic prints to glossy canvasses, new works constantly appear online and available to purchase, made by Blank and his production assistants. However, the batches of art also are quick to sell out. The website explains that the limited artwork is made purposefully “to protect the integrity of the artworks and the collectors who secured them.” I do appreciate that the “museum-grade” materials are all sourced from local suppliers, and that each work is handmade by the company.
I quite like Andy Blank’s business model as it makes art affordable–presenting consumers with a “gateway drug to art”. Intriguingly, Andy Blank compares itself to fast-fashion retailer Zara, which allows buyers to look as if they came off the runway, before moving on to more prestigious, expensive companies like Chanel. I think this comparison is somewhat self-deprecating, painting an image of a factory assembly line of art assistants producing work directly for purchase. There has been a lot of controversy in the art world about what makes art legitimate–is it the message? The materials? The price? The making of art for art’s sake? Is commercial art “real art?” While these questions never have a straightforward answer, Andy Blank continues to live in the limbo between fine art and commerce, and that’s completely okay. What do you think?