I enjoy making art and that takes priority over my art sales. I make art because I like to play, to produce something that never existed before; a new entity. I do it because it enriches my life and looking at other peoples' art takes me into another realm, into their world, be it past or present. In art there are riches to be had and not necessarily just the monetary kind.
I hope I never have to make art purely from the perspective of making money, because to me it shows, but then I've looked at a lot of art and feel I can tell when it's made to seduce a buyer, which always cheapens it. Maybe some buyers don't care about that though, maybe they like the commercial element or aren't even aware that it's there.
It can be tempting, though, to 'sell out' or become more commercial because one wants to get things moving - make some money. We all know what sells: rather conservative pretty pictures of animals, nice landscapes, boats on the water etc. Or if the work is abstract the default setting seems to be Abstract Expressionism and it took ages for that to usurp Impressionism. These two are linked by their use of colour, movement and visible brush strokes; they're generally quite pretty and decorative, hence their popularity. Abstract Expressionism is also popular with artists because it is easier to execute, there's a lot of it about on the internet. It always makes me laugh to see the prolific production of some of these artists. They have no problem producing a piece every day of the week...good luck to them though, don't get me wrong!
People do buy 'edgier' art but they are more likely to buy it if it's worth money or is by a known artist. I watched some programme a while back about the Summer Show at the Royal Academy and they were interviewing a celebrity about what they had bought. Sadly, they had spent most of their money on two small Tracey Emin pieces instead of choosing good work by the copious amount of unknown artists represented and that's mainly because of the investment. These kind of people do not care about the art at all really, just the money and the kudos of owning a piece by a prestigious and famous artist...
(Goes off to look for a relevant joke, couldn't find one but this one is quality)
Good joke that one by Iain. Thinking about it, I would feel happier about making more commercial work if it was specifically design orientated, but 'pure art' is sort of sacred to me. I don't know why I think that. Could it be that I still consider it one of the most important of human endeavours? Yes, especially these days, which seem rather bland, culturally speaking.