Tuesday, April 12, 2011


In the ever-rolling repeat (blip) repeat (blip) repeat of popular art-is-weird news stories, the fake paintings sold door-to-door is an old favourite. Partly this is because Chinese art skills have produced an endless supply of knock-offs or super-cheap made-in-minutes ‘oils’. 

Hundreds of thousands of these are created annually in the small city of Dafen in the Guangdong Province of southern China. Way back we posted on these painters ability to do very competent copies of contemporary painters but they also make work in many different styles to sell door-to-door round the globe. And it is these latter works that usually create the most fuss as measured in column inches.

The latest version we’ve come across was in the NZ Herald. The story was, “Scammers trying to flog off cheap art works for hundreds of dollars in the Western Bay of Plenty". The report breathlessly continues, “investigations have revealed the art works to be mass produced in China, worth $3 to $6.50 each.” Give that investigator a gold handled magnifying glass.

In any case, the mark-up (i.e. something produced for $3 and sold for $300) won’t strike anyone who buys art as being particularly notable, or anyone who buys spare parts for a car for that matter. If you want to avoid having people at your door, you can order your own bad art  direct from a large selection of art-to-go merchants. 

Image: Art to go factory in Dafen