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But when you look at who sculpts the best, most prestigious new releases it's people like Darren Latham - a generation of top class sculptors who grew up on, and are still inspired by, the older stuff by John Blanche, Jes Goodwin, Mark Gibbons, etc. I see no reason to believe that the design principles or sculpting quality will take any meaningful detours. GW have a house style that's bigger than any individual.
   
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soviet13 wrote:
But when you look at who sculpts the best, most prestigious new releases it's people like Darren Latham - a generation of top class sculptors who grew up on, and are still inspired by, the older stuff by John Blanche, Jes Goodwin, Mark Gibbons, etc. I see no reason to believe that the design principles or sculpting quality will take any meaningful detours. GW have a house style that's bigger than any individual.


Well, yeah. But I was talking about art and game design, neither of which can just be 'saved' as CAD files and tweaked and reproduced indefinitely.
Keeping the sculpts more or less the same (at this point, it wasn't the case in the 80s/90s) is just a matter of not being idiots with the backup files.
[AoS, Warcry and one-off games get the better deal here, because they do get a lot of new sculpts, lots of which are quality and they absolutely take some detours away from the old design principles. 40k on the other hand is pretty much stuck regurgitating, with a lot of overblinged gak piled on the basic space marine shape.]

Just flipping through rulebooks, the art style has changed drastically over the editions. In some cases for the better, but I'd describe a lot of the main rule and ALL of the codex covers so far as bad or even worse: bland and boring.

This message was edited 5 times. Last update was at 2021/10/20 02:50:20


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With regards to the sculptors I think we can generally agree that while nobody is being "replaced" there are certain still some brilliantly talented people on the team who aren't part of the Old Guard. Ray Dranfield's terrain has been without a doubt some of the best kits GW has put out and the modularity of it all is amazing.
For artists, its subjective in a much greater way. I won't deny that John Blanche is very important to Warhammer but at the same time I'm not a big fan of his particular art style. But that's how art works and there is no right or wrong way to portray 40k in pieces of art.
   
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Versteckt in den Schatten deines Geistes.

 Gert wrote:
... Ray Dranfield's terrain has been without a doubt some of the best kits GW has put out and the modularity of it all is amazing.
Two problems here:

1. Ray now lists himself as an Age of Sigmar scenery designer.
2. All recent GW terrain has been far from modular. In fact, GW's terrain is taking inspiration from their regular miniatures, and become more and more set and non-modular.

That's why this new LotR set interests me so much, as they talked it up as being modular. I want to see how.

Industrial Insanity - My Terrain Blog
"GW really needs to understand 'Less is more' when it comes to AoS." - Wha-Mu-077

 
   
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Austria

there are 2 different trends seen with GW here

The newer designers learned "art" with the computer. This is not necessarily bad but you can spot that those never learned basic "rules" of anatomy or how bodies move by doing the classic "studies" instead learned to "copy, paste & adapt" basic concepts that need to be done only once
You can see this with Artworks (BT Codex Cover were you "know" that something looks wrong but cannot spot it without a trained eye), but also Sculpts (every model from a design cycle having the same basic pose sometimes mirrored, in 40k and AoS, with a theme going thru, like the tactical rock or models standing on hair/ropes)

The other one is that designers do not play the game because they like it but it is needed for the job
You get different results of you just play to see if it "kind of works" and go on, or if you like to play and want things to work so you can have fun. This is different from choices were the management stepped in and forced different decisions or took the first draft to print.
The people (on all kind of levels, from the designer, department leader, to the management) not playing their own games is a trend not only happening at GW but is also seen with Computer games were the "balance" department makes decision without ever played a game on their own (WG's World of Warships being now famous for this)

Of course both help to increase the number of releases as doing all models from scratch and play the games takes time that can be saved that way to speed things up and make more money in the same time
How long you can to that depends on how long the community accepts rushed products, because there is a breaking point were it is too much (lets see how changing the 1 year cycle to 6 months for Underworlds turns out)

 H.B.M.C. wrote:
as they talked it up as being modular

"modular" as it can be used in LotR, 40k, AoS and Warcry, but I hope that it is more as it looks promising (but if it turns out to be a fixed set, I can get it for less from other companies)

Harry, bring this ring to Narnia or the Sith will take the Enterprise

M41 - Alternative Rules for Battles in the 41st Millennium (40k LRB Project) 
   
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your mind

 kodos wrote:
there are 2 different trends seen with GW here

The newer designers learned "art" with the computer.
Spoiler:
This is not necessarily bad but you can spot that those never learned basic "rules" of anatomy or how bodies move by doing the classic "studies" instead learned to "copy, paste & adapt" basic concepts that need to be done only once
You can see this with Artworks (BT Codex Cover were you "know" that something looks wrong but cannot spot it without a trained eye), but also Sculpts (every model from a design cycle having the same basic pose sometimes mirrored, in 40k and AoS, with a theme going thru, like the tactical rock or models standing on hair/ropes)

The other one is that designers do not play the game because they like it but it is needed for the job
You get different results of you just play to see if it "kind of works" and go on, or if you like to play and want things to work so you can have fun. This is different from choices were the management stepped in and forced different decisions or took the first draft to print.
Spoiler:

The people (on all kind of levels, from the designer, department leader, to the management) not playing their own games is a trend not only happening at GW but is also seen with Computer games were the "balance" department makes decision without ever played a game on their own (WG's World of Warships being now famous for this)

Of course both help to increase the number of releases as doing all models from scratch and play the games takes time that can be saved that way to speed things up and make more money in the same time

How long you can to that depends on how long the community accepts rushed products, because there is a breaking point were it is too much
Spoiler:
(lets see how changing the 1 year cycle to 6 months for Underworlds turns out)

 H.B.M.C. wrote:
as they talked it up as being modular

"modular" as it can be used in LotR, 40k, AoS and Warcry, but I hope that it is more as it looks promising (but if it turns out to be a fixed set, I can get it for less from other companies)

This ^^ .

   
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 H.B.M.C. wrote:
 Just Tony wrote:
Given how badly the Chaos players are STILL whining about the loss of Codex 3.5 I'd say calling him replaceable may be borderline incorrect.
Pete Haines was as much a part of the problem as he was the solution, given that he gave his army super rules and gave 1KSons "2 wounds" (which, contrary to what they may have said, did not have a lot going for them).

Hell we invented a special character for him - Lord Hainous - for an enemy leader.


Don't forget the atrocity that was the Dwarfs 6.5 army book...

www.classichammer.com

For 4-6th WFB, 2-5th 40k, and similar timeframe gaming

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 CthuluIsSpy wrote:
Its AoS, it doesn't have to make sense.
 
   
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I also miss Andy Chambers. His games were my favourites from GW, I loved BFG, 40K 3 and 4 and Gorkamorka.

But things move on. I can still play old games if I want to.

I think the arguments in the thread show that GW has changed, but is still successful, and certainly more successful than at the end of the Kirby era. Even if I don't like some of the changes, I can't deny the game seems to be doing well and be very popular. It's just that it's not to my personal taste any more. But I'll not begrudge the people who do like it their fun, I've got older games or other games to think about.

I would like it if 40K steered in a direction that suited my tastes though. The main reason I hang around 40K general is to keep an eye on things and see what the game is like, if it's worth trying out. At the moment, I'd say it's about 50% good stuff I wanted them to do back in 5e when I played and 50% really off putting stuff for me.

   
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Longtime Dakkanaut




Voss wrote:
soviet13 wrote:
But when you look at who sculpts the best, most prestigious new releases it's people like Darren Latham - a generation of top class sculptors who grew up on, and are still inspired by, the older stuff by John Blanche, Jes Goodwin, Mark Gibbons, etc. I see no reason to believe that the design principles or sculpting quality will take any meaningful detours. GW have a house style that's bigger than any individual.


Well, yeah. But I was talking about art and game design, neither of which can just be 'saved' as CAD files and tweaked and reproduced indefinitely.
Keeping the sculpts more or less the same (at this point, it wasn't the case in the 80s/90s) is just a matter of not being idiots with the backup files.
[AoS, Warcry and one-off games get the better deal here, because they do get a lot of new sculpts, lots of which are quality and they absolutely take some detours away from the old design principles. 40k on the other hand is pretty much stuck regurgitating, with a lot of overblinged gak piled on the basic space marine shape.]

Just flipping through rulebooks, the art style has changed drastically over the editions. In some cases for the better, but I'd describe a lot of the main rule and ALL of the codex covers so far as bad or even worse: bland and boring.

That is corporate decision, not lack of good artists. GW at some point (esp. for AoS) went for cheap, blurry style that basically was there to hide that the art was 1:1 copy of the models.
The newer designers learned "art" with the computer. This is not necessarily bad but you can spot that those never learned basic "rules" of anatomy or how bodies move by doing the classic "studies" instead learned to "copy, paste & adapt" basic concepts that need to be done only once

That is quite offensive to most digital artists I can think of. You always had hacks and good artists/designers. If anything, modern fantasy/sci-fi gaming art is miles ahead of the...deviantart doodles you'd find in old RPGs.
   
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Eye of Terror

 kodos wrote:
there are 2 different trends seen with GW here

The newer designers learned "art" with the computer. This is not necessarily bad but you can spot that those never learned basic "rules" of anatomy or how bodies move by doing the classic "studies" instead learned to "copy, paste & adapt" basic concepts that need to be done only once
You can see this with Artworks (BT Codex Cover were you "know" that something looks wrong but cannot spot it without a trained eye), but also Sculpts (every model from a design cycle having the same basic pose sometimes mirrored, in 40k and AoS, with a theme going thru, like the tactical rock or models standing on hair/ropes)


If only there were rules for that tactical rock or inspiring pose. Missed opportunity.

Would not blame the computer. 40k was a child of the times, the people inspired to create it have long since left the building. The people maintaining it are distant from the influences that brought it about and probably don't have a way to reconnect with that world.

The anatomical correctness of the black and white drawings from Realm of Chaos books is probably inferior to that of most modern artists. But they have a sublime, evocative sense that captures the imagination and translates into something else in the mind.

Were I to fault the current artists, it would be because Codex covers are starting to look like the backings of G.I. Joe blister packs from the 80s. Just depictions of an action scene absent any context.

 kodos wrote:
The other one is that designers do not play the game because they like it but it is needed for the job
You get different results of you just play to see if it "kind of works" and go on, or if you like to play and want things to work so you can have fun. This is different from choices were the management stepped in and forced different decisions or took the first draft to print.
The people (on all kind of levels, from the designer, department leader, to the management) not playing their own games is a trend not only happening at GW but is also seen with Computer games were the "balance" department makes decision without ever played a game on their own (WG's World of Warships being now famous for this)


Do you know that for a fact? I suspect there's a mix.

Also, GW's previous CEO (Tom Kirby) was thoroughly immersed in the game, and that was not an entirely good thing. Current leadership brings a different set of competencies that have allowed the company to become financially viable. I'm not sure you can have financial stability and visionary leadership at the same time.

Given what it costs to play 40k, it means more to know the company will still be around in a year than to have 'perfect' miniatures. Just my take, but that does matter to people.

   
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 H.B.M.C. wrote:
Two problems here:

1. Ray now lists himself as an Age of Sigmar scenery designer.
2. All recent GW terrain has been far from modular. In fact, GW's terrain is taking inspiration from their regular miniatures, and become more and more set and non-modular.

That's why this new LotR set interests me so much, as they talked it up as being modular. I want to see how.

How is Ray being an AoS terrain designer a problem? He still designed the Sector Imperialis, Sector Mechanicus and Zone Mortalis kits all of which can interact and mix together. Those kits are all still on sale, so what's the problem?
   
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Austria

 techsoldaten wrote:

Would not blame the computer.

I mean the original 40k artwork was not anatomically correct or even realistic, but the surrealism worked because it was never meant to look "real"
with the change in style and a more realistic look, those things start too look wrong

but this is not a GW only problem, some people name it "photoshop virus" as just composing different parts into one new picture makes work easier but also let minor errors get in
and than you end with something like the BT Cover were the different parts of the body look like the are meant for different pictures which gives a surrealistic result but are meant to have a realistic look (Ork Codex Cover has the same problem but there you get away with "Aliens")

it does not mean that it cannot look good, but you still need a good artist who not only knows what he is doing but also knows basics physics & biology to get "realistic" results

Do you know that for a fact? I suspect there's a mix.

hearsay, as I don't work there or even close to GW, just what people are telling and what you get from designers commentary, interviews etc.

Harry, bring this ring to Narnia or the Sith will take the Enterprise

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Eye of Terror

 kodos wrote:
 techsoldaten wrote:

Would not blame the computer.

I mean the original 40k artwork was not anatomically correct or even realistic, but the surrealism worked because it was never meant to look "real"
with the change in style and a more realistic look, those things start too look wrong


I get your point, and believe you get mine. The closer we come to photorealism, the less opportunity there is to convey mood and atmosphere.

Which gets into one of the ways I believe GW is failing: they are separating the games from the fluff. Visually, there's little to suggest these characters are actually operating in a battlefield of the far flung future, or that some ancient enmity exists between opposing forces. Just background colors showing off the bling carried by a certain figure.

Don't know if that's going to capture the imagination the way it once did.

 kodos wrote:

but this is not a GW only problem, some people name it "photoshop virus" as just composing different parts into one new picture makes work easier but also let minor errors get in
and than you end with something like the BT Cover were the different parts of the body look like the are meant for different pictures which gives a surrealistic result but are meant to have a realistic look (Ork Codex Cover has the same problem but there you get away with "Aliens")


Another way of looking at it: the art has become a commodity, produced in the most efficient manner possible. GW has achieved Pulp Grimdark, lacking the deep, immersive setting that distinguished the game from others that attempted the same.

The current style doesn't appeal to me, but it clearly conveys the economics of the situation. Feels like a statement.

   
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Art has always been a commodity. Artists want to make money with their art. GW just moved from the "anything goes, Johnny approved this piece cause he was on the phone that day" days into "manager consulted the lawyers to sign off on this" process that happens with any suitably large company.
   
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Hogtown

Cronch wrote:
Art has always been a commodity. Artists want to make money with their art. GW just moved from the "anything goes, Johnny approved this piece cause he was on the phone that day" days into "manager consulted the lawyers to sign off on this" process that happens with any suitably large company.


I'd argue that the quality is still far worse today than it has been in the past, despite having the same marketing inputs going into creative briefs. You can look at the work of David Gallagher, for example. He's an artist that very much received very specific briefs intended to sell kits. His instagram account does a pretty good job of alluding to the type of creative restrictions he was under, which were tightly bound.

His output, however, was still astoundingly better than anything GW has produced since shifting to digital:

Spoiler:

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/10/20 14:13:39


Thought for the day
 
   
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Gathering the Informations.

I like how you cherrypicked something awful to prove your point.
   
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 Kanluwen wrote:
I like how you cherrypicked something awful to prove your point.


Almost as if art is subjective…

I personally love all the pieces in that collection.



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If you break apart my or anyone else's posts line by line I will not read them. 
   
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 Kanluwen wrote:
I like how you cherrypicked something awful to prove your point.


I mean, I did start the post with "I'd argue."

Thought for the day
 
   
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Yeah, I was never a fan of that style, to me Kopinskis were the best illustrators GW had, but honestly, some of the new stuff in 2.0 AoS (once they actually assigned budget higher than $5 per piece) is just as fine.
   
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Gathering the Informations.

Cronch wrote:
Yeah, I was never a fan of that style, to me Kopinskis were the best illustrators GW had, but honestly, some of the new stuff in 2.0 AoS (once they actually assigned budget higher than $5 per piece) is just as fine.

Kopinskis for life...
   
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Austria

 techsoldaten wrote:

Another way of looking at it: the art has become a commodity, produced in the most efficient manner possible. GW has achieved Pulp Grimdark, lacking the deep, immersive setting that distinguished the game from others that attempted the same.

The current style doesn't appeal to me, but it clearly conveys the economics of the situation. Feels like a statement.


yeah, which would mean GW builds on the former glory as the current style does make money but misses the Grimdark that made them famous in the first place

(and the current art being an efficient product, being cheap but also forgettable while people still remember the old stuff)

Harry, bring this ring to Narnia or the Sith will take the Enterprise

M41 - Alternative Rules for Battles in the 41st Millennium (40k LRB Project) 
   
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Hogtown

Cronch wrote:
Yeah, I was never a fan of that style, to me Kopinskis were the best illustrators GW had, but honestly, some of the new stuff in 2.0 AoS (once they actually assigned budget higher than $5 per piece) is just as fine.


I disagree on subjectivity with the comparison. Kopinski was an absolute king though, agree.

Thought for the day
 
   
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Cronch wrote:
Art has always been a commodity. Artists want to make money with their art. GW just moved from the "anything goes, Johnny approved this piece cause he was on the phone that day" days into "manager consulted the lawyers to sign off on this" process that happens with any suitably large company.


I would argue that the goal of artists and nearly any other profession that deigns to create has been for the sake of creating and expressing and enriching. Few go into the arts for money; society values artists way too little to make it reliably profitable. The only reason most artists want money is to ensure they have a roof over their head 3 meals a day clothes on their back and the security to ensure access to such critical resources.

Some stray from this path. It happens notoriously in the music industry when the record label signs the band onto a lucrative deal but slowly grinds everything that made their music unique. Hence the term “selling out.” Take the profit motive out of art and you’ll tend to have wholesome and unique art constantly produced by artists because there would be no drive to create a derivative of an overused template to sell out. There would be no proverbial deal with the devil to sell your art’s soul.

The same thing could be observed outside of art. Vaccines have been developed and patented exclusively for the purpose of demonetizing the development of the vaccine because the scientist created the vaccine for the purpose of enriching the lives of others. Mayhaps the corruption of 40k is what happens when a collaboration of many artists gets exploited by people that do things for the purpose of making money. Think about all the discussions about how the lore and art and game has decayed in quality.

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macluvin wrote:
The same thing could be observed outside of art. Vaccines have been developed and patented exclusively for the purpose of demonetizing the development of the vaccine because the scientist created the vaccine for the purpose of enriching the lives of others. Mayhaps the corruption of 40k is what happens when a collaboration of many artists gets exploited by people that do things for the purpose of making money. Think about all the discussions about how the lore and art and game has decayed in quality.
People were complaining about the new art and lore ever since I joined online forums back in 2000 when 3rd edition was still fresh. There will always be complains as you won't ever get it right for everyone.

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But how unique is modern 40k art with respect to beyond 40k?

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macluvin wrote:
But how unique is modern 40k art with respect to beyond 40k?


Not a whole lot. A lot of it has a very 'deviantart' feel.


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Eye of Terror

Cronch wrote:
Art has always been a commodity.


Spoken like a true economist!

May ways to think about that point. Last month, I built a river table for our entryway. Many like it, none the same.

A friend came over today to pick up a doll house, she was talking with my wide and noticed the river table. She wanted to know where we bought it, was surprised to learn I made it. She wanted to know what kind of wood I used, what kind of saw, what kind of epoxy, etc. Her reaction made my wife feel good, she told me all about it afterwards.

Something about mass produced art: the impact is diminished with each derivation. When you have something unique - that cannot be a commodity - that's something special.

I get your points about corporate art and agree wholeheartedly. But lumping all art into a category like that is an error.

   
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Versteckt in den Schatten deines Geistes.

 Gert wrote:
How is Ray being an AoS terrain designer a problem?
Because he's not doing 40k. Duh!

 Gert wrote:
He still designed the Sector Imperialis, Sector Mechanicus and Zone Mortalis kits...
Owen Patten did the Zone Mortalis stuff, but alright...

 Gert wrote:
... all of which can interact and mix together. Those kits are all still on sale, so what's the problem?
If you haven't noticed, GW terrain kits don't tend to stick around all that long, and they certainly vanish from shelves without warning. Sector Imperialis isn't available. That range went bye bye a long time ago. Pretty much the only set still on sale is the low level ruins kit. Some of the sprues from it still exist, like the floors in the Derelict Factorum, or one wall sprue and the floors in the SoB Battle Sanctum Terrain, but the three main kits - the big building, the building with the multiple small statues, and the one with the two big statues - they're all gone. They don't sell them anymore.

Ryza-Pattern ruins? Vanished without a trace.
Thermic Plasma Conduits? Can't buy that box anymore! They show up in the odd combo box, but as a separate release, nothing.
Vertigus? Just gone, and taking with it the unique piece of terrain that wasn't available anywhere else.
And just now? Well, GWUS said that the Gang Stronghold is now OOP. What else in the ZM line is going with it?

So again, GW terrain vanishes from the shelves without warning, reason or any form of notification.

And it's also regressing. It is becoming less modular. One only need at the two most recent terrain releases - Octarius and Age of Sigmar - to see that.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/10/20 22:40:12


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 techsoldaten wrote:
Cronch wrote:
Art has always been a commodity.


Spoken like a true economist!

May ways to think about that point. Last month, I built a river table for our entryway. Many like it, none the same.

A friend came over today to pick up a doll house, she was talking with my wide and noticed the river table. She wanted to know where we bought it, was surprised to learn I made it. She wanted to know what kind of wood I used, what kind of saw, what kind of epoxy, etc. Her reaction made my wife feel good, she told me all about it afterwards.

Something about mass produced art: the impact is diminished with each derivation. When you have something unique - that cannot be a commodity - that's something special.

I get your points about corporate art and agree wholeheartedly. But lumping all art into a category like that is an error.


I’m certain there are economists that understand currencies besides money.

But are you saying that you produced art not for the sake of making money?

Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. -Kurt Vonnegut 
   
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Eye of Terror

macluvin wrote:
I’m certain there are economists that understand currencies besides money.

But are you saying that you produced art not for the sake of making money?


How economists classify art matters.

In a classical industrial framework, 'art' is classified as a commodity or idle labor. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has a classification system, the 27x section deals with artists.

https://www.bls.gov/soc/2018/major_groups.htm

Under this category, you will find entertainers, news casters, sports figures, art directors, and a few other major classifications. It's consistent with the idea of art as a revenue generating activity and with the idea of art as a commodity.

And this is probably appropriate, at a macroeconomic level. I'm not aware of any other method (outside maybe auction prices and asset management) for an economic concept of art. While I'd agree economics understand intrinsic value outside currencies, I'm not sure there's room for aesthetics in their worldview.

Hesitant to classify anything I do as art, probably τέχνη (techni) is more appropriate. I regularly produce works for the sake of satisfaction and curiosity without receiving compensation.







   
 
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