Yesterday, on an extremely dreary Tuesday, me and my friend Jenny (check out her Instagram, she's a fab artist) headed out to Yorkshire Sculpture Park to check out Rob Ryan's current exhibition, made up of various paper cut, laser cut and screenprinted pieces.
There were plenty of lovely pieces to marvel at that all varied in size – some smaller than A4, and one that stretched almost the entirety of a wall – but all demonstrated the fantastic precision and character that Rob Ryan's work is known for. It's easy to see past the skill that goes into every single piece as they're all so deceptively simple, but upon closer inspection of Rob's hand cut pieces you can see the sheer amount of work that is required, as tiny, slightly jagged edges remind you that the pieces were laboriously hand cut, with patience, skill and precision.
Previous to visiting the exhibition, I'd only ever seen Rob's work online, so it really was a delight to see it up close and personal and really let myself appreciate how fantastically skilled Rob is as both a designer and a craftsman, and I'd really recommend going for a look if you're interested in Rob's work – you'll see it in an entirely new light.
In addition to marvelling at Rob's work, I also marvelled at the idea of being such a fantastically renowned illustrator/designer. The pieces varied in price from around £20 - £10,000+ dependent upon the size and production of the pieces, and it made me realise the true worth of art. Of course as I stand I couldn't be further away from Rob's level of popularity of expertise, but seeing the price of original pieces did make me question how I perceive and value myself as an illustrator, which I think can only be a positive thing.
After chatting with my friend Jenny about commissioned work and building that upon conversations I've previously had online, it became apparent to me that illustrators, designers and artists so often undervalue themselves, and I really think it's such a shame. Of course I'm not providing any solutions to this long standing problem, but I think open discussions about the issue can only help in educating the masses, and exhibitions like this which are open to the public I feel help to both extend and start conversations about art and pricing amongst those who may otherwise not have a clue, which I feel makes it an effective tool for helping to build respect for the artists, designers and illustrators that literally slave over their work. You would never question an asking price from a builder, plumber, electrician etc., so hopefully with continued dialogue perhaps one day the stigma around the price of art will too cease to be questioned.