Basharat Bashir

Influence of money in Art

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Art, once a realm of boundless creativity and expression, has become increasingly entangled with the influence of money. While financial resources are necessary for artists to sustain their livelihoods and support their craft, the intrusion of money often leads ­­­­­to a corruption of artistic integrity and dilution of artistic vision. Money has a potential to persuade artists mostly budding and struggling artists to compromise their creativity and make art to please people or buyer. There are many ways   in which money has the potential to ruin art, stifling creativity, compromising artistic autonomy, and prioritizing profit over artistic merit.

Money has a way of steering art toward the path of commercialization. As artists seek financial success and recognition, they may feel pressured to create works that cater to popular tastes and trends. In this pursuit, the essence of artistic expression can be compromised, as artists sacrifice their unique voices to conform to market demands. The need for financial gain often drives artists to produce works that are commercially viable but lack the depth, complexity, and originality that define true artistic mastery.

Historically, art has been shaped by patronage, with wealthy individuals or institutions commissioning works to showcase their status and influence. While patronage has provided crucial support to artists throughout history, it can also exert significant control over artistic expression. When financial resources dictate the subject matter or style of art, the artist’s autonomy is compromised, and the true essence of their creativity is stifled. The desire to please patrons or secure funding can lead artists to self-censor or conform to their patron’s expectations, ultimately diluting the authenticity and power of their work.

Money often distorts the perception of artistic value. The commercial art market, driven by profit, frequently assigns monetary worth based on factors such as brand recognition, market trends, and the reputation of the artist rather than the intrinsic merit of the artwork itself. This focus on monetary value erodes the appreciation of art for its emotional, intellectual, and cultural significance. The inflated prices of artworks, driven by speculation and the investment potential of art, can commodify creativity and reduce the experience of art to mere financial transactions.

The influence of money in art perpetuates exclusivity and inequality within the artistic landscape. Financial constraints can prevent talented artists without means from gaining recognition and accessing opportunities. The art world often favours those with financial backing, connections, or access to prestigious institutions. As a result, many promising artists from marginalized backgrounds are left on the fringes, their voices silenced or marginalized due to the lack of financial resources required to navigate the art industry. This inequality hampers diversity, stifles innovation, and perpetuates a narrow representation of artistic perspectives

Mrinalini Mukherjee: Sculpting Nature’s Essence

Mrinalini Mukherjee was an Indian artist of exceptional talent. She left an indelible mark on the world of contemporary sculpture. Through her innovative use of materials and a deep connection to nature, Mukherjee’s artworks captivate viewers with their organic forms and primal energy. With her unique approach to sculpture and her immense contributions to the art world she undoubtedly remains one of the main influencers to new generations of artists. Here is an insight into her artistic inspirations, and unparalleled artistic legacy that she left behind.

Born in Mumbai, India, in 1949, Mukherjee was destined to follow a creative path. Her parents, renowned artists Benode Behari and Leela Mukherjee, exposed her to art from an early age, fostering a love for the visual arts. Growing up in a household where artistic expression was celebrated, Mukherjee developed a unique artistic sensibility that would later define her sculptures.

One of the defining aspects of Mukherjee’s work was her deep connection to nature. Drawing inspiration from the diverse flora and fauna of her surroundings, she created sculptures that mirrored the organic shapes and textures found in the natural world. Mukherjee’s frequent visits to the forests of West Bengal and the Himalayan region provided her with abundant inspiration, which she translated into her art through meticulous observation and intuitive exploration.

Mukherjee’s innovative use of materials set her apart as a trailblazing sculptor. She fearlessly experimented with unconventional materials, often opting for natural fibers such as hemp, jute, and sisal. These materials allowed her to achieve a level of intricacy and tactility in her sculptures that resonated with the inherent qualities of the natural world. Mukherjee’s mastery of her chosen materials enabled her to create sculptures that blurred the lines between art and nature.

Mukherjee’s sculptures, often human or plant-like in form, radiate a sense of life and vitality. Her ability to breathe life into her creations stems from her profound understanding of the intrinsic qualities of her materials. Through her skillful manipulation of fibers, she imbued her sculptures with a sense of movement, grace, and raw energy, capturing the essence of living organisms and the transient nature of existence.

Mukherjee’s sculptures also reflect a strong feminine narrative, challenging traditional gender roles within the art world. By elevating craft techniques, historically associated with women’s work, to the realm of fine art, she subverted conventional hierarchies. Her sculptures embody a powerful femininity, celebrating the strength, beauty, and resilience of women.

Mukherjee, expressed her desire for her sculptures to evoke a sense of awe, akin to the experience of entering a small temple and encountering an iconic presence. This sentiment is precisely what one feels when beholding Yakshi (1984), a colossal, sinewy sculpture resembling a dress, meticulously crafted from a Bengali natural rope fiber known as sunn or sann. Similar to hemp, this material hangs and slumps, accentuating the heaviness of its woven composition. The sculpture’s pliable planes, unfolding organically, allude to the laborious process involved in its creation, requiring countless hours of meticulous handwork. Departing from the customary wheat-sheaf golden brown hue of traditional rope fiber, Mukherjee deliberately employs muted black and inky blue-purple tones, achieved through synthetic dye baths. Wrote Andrew Gardner about her work yakshi. Gardner who is a Curatorial Assistant at MoMA specializing in modern and contemporary design, highlighted these colors for defamiliarizing the chosen material and opening up possibilities for richer hues. Gardner’s research interests encompass material studies and practices of making, including global fiber arts, design systems such as urban landscapes and transportation networks, the social and political aspects of technological innovation, as well as issues of gender, race, and diversity in the design field.

Although Mukherjee’s talent was widely acknowledged in India, it wasn’t until the 1990s that her work gained international recognition. Her sculptures have been exhibited in prestigious galleries and museums around the world, captivating audiences with their awe-inspiring presence. Even after her passing in 2015, Mukherjee’s artistic legacy continues to inspire contemporary sculptors and shape the discourse surrounding the intersection of art, nature, and gender.

 James Lake

James Lake, a UK-based artist, utilizes cardboard as his chosen medium to create incredible artworks that reflect the fundamental truths upon which humanity is based. Through his sculptures, he strives to maintain a harmonious connection with nature, aligning his artistic expression with the environment.

On his website talking about his artistic practice Lake writes,“Much of my work uses cardboard as a sculptural material due to it immediacy, ease of availability, reasonable cost, and low environmental impact. My intention is to produce sculptures that echo the detail and depth found within traditional sculpting materials at a time of great global economic and environmental upheaval. My work is a search for a common truth and to find a sense of quiet humanity in the small details that are sometimes drowned out by the noise and brightness of contemporary culture.

James uses cardboard boxes and turns them into an artwork. His work mainly revolves around human and animal forms which he creates in subtle details and with a profound sense of awe and unyielding admiration.“I like to transform the utilitarian and overlooked cardboard box into a sophisticated and elaborate sculpting material. With this, I create life size, three-dimensional portraits of people and animals, and anatomical models and furniture”, Says James. In 2018, he embarked on a remarkable endeavour, crafting a monumental-scale commission for the prestigious Lucca Biennale.

James is an exceptionally talented artist whose life story serves as a profound inspiration. Despite facing the devastating loss of his leg to cancer as a teenager, a moment that could have shattered the hope of any individual, James exhibited unwavering strength. With remarkable resilience, he embraced the challenge and surpassed all odds, showcasing his incredible skill and creativity. His journey stands as a testament to the power of determination and serves as a beacon of inspiration for others. “The process and outcomes of making my work have always been intertwined with the practicalities of sculpting with a physical impairment. I lost my right leg to cancer when I was a teenager, so I spent time searching for an accessible and readily available material that I could use from my bedroom whilst rehabilitating,” said James.

There are several ways that artists utilize to create an artwork and James has his own method that reflects his personality. Describing his technique James said, “I create my work in pieces and then strategically position them together like a grand jigsaw puzzle to make the final design”. Adding that, “This process echoes the problem-solving skills that dyslexics, of which I am one, develop to write things down in a coherent manner.”

“Ingrained in my process is the desire to teach and demonstrate the techniques I use with others. Often working with schools, community groups and museums, I want to make sculpture accessible and blur the boundary between high art and low art for all audiences. I believe in art for all; art beyond race, gender, age, wealth, ability and disability”James Lake.

To know more about James and his work visit  or


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