Commercial Art

Written by Charles Peacock
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Commercial art has long provided would-be starving artists an opportunity to make a living. Many people look down on this practice, with the near-sighted view that producing commercial art is akin to "selling out." To the contrary, a lot of the best art of the last century was produced for commercial purposes, and it is finally getting the recognition that it deserves.

Types of Commercial Art

Commercial art is probably as old as commerce itself. Smart businessmen have always known the importance of advertising, even if that meant arranging their fruit cart to look particularly attractive to potential consumers. It wasn't until the 18th century, however, that this form of art became truly notable as a genre of its own.

The advent of print--and newspapers in particular--lead to an explosion in both the quantity and quality of advertising art. The late 19th century was a revolutionary period for advertising. It was during this period that businesses first began paying advertising firms to create ads for their products.

Today, commercial art exists in so many forms it's almost impossible to count. Billboards, neon signs, television spots, print ads, and many other forms of advertising provide some of our best artists the opportunity to show their work to the world. The conditions aren't ideal, of course, since they're still selling a product; but the fact that many people now purchase and display advertising art in their homes is a testament to its quality.


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