Ever wonder why your paintings don't sell? Well, one reason is that "original" production paintings are produced in Dafen, China by the millions for practically nothing. Here are a few paragraphs from an interesting article about this subject.
Some five million oil paintings are produced in Dafen, every year. Between 8,000 and 10,000 painters toil in the workshops. The numbers are estimates: No one knows the exact figure, which increases by about 100 new painters every year. But it's not just professional copy painters who are drawn to Dafen - graduates of China's most renowned art academy also come here.
A few routine flicks of Wu's brush and a forest appears on the canvas. A small photograph he holds in his hand serves as his model. He's working on a copy of an idyllic French landscape painting, a lavender field in southern France. Wu can churn out between 20 and 30 copies in a day. When a large order arrives, he may have to paint the same motif 1,000 times. "We don't get a fixed wage," he says. "We're paid by the finished painting."
Wu receives the equivalent of 38 cents per copied painting. That means he earns between $128 and $385 a month - barely enough to cover his living expenses and send a little money home. But he doesn't complain: "It's much better in a workshop like this one, without a schedule." Once the painters worked in a factory owned by the company, where they had fixed working hours.
I have to admire them for their herculean efforts to produce like that. It's amazing.