People Want To Surround Themselves With Images Of Faith
For many decades, artists who were inspired to paint scenes from the Bible or other inspiring works also picked up secular illustration or design work to cover the bills. The market for Christian art was relatively small and hard to break into, even as a well-known artist. However, demand is rising yet again for religiously themed works. Affordable offset, and Giclee printing options are also helping these artists distribute their works to a wider audience. As more people decorate their homes and offices with images of Jesus, artists like Akiane are finding that inspirational work can support them financially.
The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-grant/a-small-but-growing-windo_b_1015090.html) attributes the rising interest in Biblical themed art to a need for more positive thinking. As news networks become even better at reporting all of the natural disasters and other unpleasant things that happen on a daily basis, many people are taking refuge in their faith. If there's a blank wall in their home, they might choose an uplifting painting with a Christian theme to help lighten up the day.
Compelling artwork with a positive message often becomes most popular during hard times.
Art collectors and curators play a large role in any niche, but they aren't the only ones determining what sells in the market of Christian art. Many people driving the sales of inexpensive prints are homeowners and business operators making personal purchases, according to The Huffington Post. They simply want something that illustrates a favorite inspiring story. While they may not have enough money to collect dozens of originals, they can afford a few high quality prints. It's also easier for independent artists to build a marketing base that supports them full time when they have buyers directly interacting with them through the Internet.
These people don't consider themselves collectors, but they are motivated to make a purchase when they feel connected to a dedicated artist that shares their faith.
Icons vs. Art
While many sects of Christianity have discouraged their members from keeping imagery related to their faith, modern believers tend to have a more open attitude towards inspirational art. A fine line is drawn that separates the enjoyment of an illustrative scene and worship involving the image, according to Times Higher Education. The art that becomes most popular strives to remind viewers of a virtue or warn them against making a transgression.
Even Rembrandt's most classic works used subtlety and drama to display an important story, all within a fixed scene.
Building the Foundation
The modern demand for inspiring imagery may have kicked off with the success of Thomas Kinkade and his soft focus scenes depicted charming log cabins, pastoral cottages or sleepy small-town farms. Blooming flowers and trickling creeks transported viewers to a more peaceful time and place. While his artwork wasn't specifically religious in nature, its sense of serenity struck a chord with many who live by Christian values. The Huffington Post says that his success with people who would otherwise not purchase art has opened up the entire field for many other painters and illustrators. Growing numbers of Christian bookstores, galleries and other retail outlets are also making it easier to connect with a market that is ready to buy. Both narrative artwork and inspiring portraits of the Virgin Mary or Jesus are growing in popularity among mature adults ranging in age from 40 to 60.