Mandates and commissions: on the constraints and freedoms of the artist
On the market for motifs, the public’s requirements for pictures andthe situation of mouth and foot painting artistsby Dr. Richard Hiepe (art historian)
The vital smallest elementsThe community of VDMFK artists secures and creates its livelihood through the visual accomplishments the protagonists bring to their artists’ organisation and to the publishing companies that distribute their motifs for artistic postcards and calendars across the world.The ‘Association’ has long enjoyed international recognition as an exampleof self-help on the part of the disabled and disadvantaged. At the same time, this model has only proved as good and workable as its smallest elements, i.e. those pictorial inventions of the artists which appear suitable for high volume reproduction and subsequent sale. The issue at stake here is not only of vital importance to the artists and VDMFK.
It is also the classic theme of the public commissioning of visual artists in modern form, meaning the commissions placed by publishing houses for motifs that cover millions of requirements for pictures. While each motif differs across the world in accordance with national customs and traditions, they all share the same principle purpose of being used as a pictorial decoration on art and greeting cards.Nowadays, such commissions in the enormous market for fulfilling picture requirements are subject to stringent conditions and tend to be placed with a select group of specialists in commercial art or specific teams of graphic artists. In the process, they are carefully calculated in terms of their effectiveness and tested in much the same way as the pictorial inventions of product advertising.