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It's the law of supply and demand in the free market of capitalism. Where there is a demand, there could be a supply to fulfill the demand. Capital investment must flow to where there is natural resources (material) cheap labour (manpower) to maximize the profit in the production process. Free Trade provides Western consumers with many cheap products from China and other developing countries. Art is not an exception from the free market.
Gene; most of the starving artist traveling market is made in US. I've seen assembly lines in the 1980's and 1990's in Miami as they hired artists(who would work for minimum wage) to build the canvases and paint their prescribed section(sky, trees, ocean, clouds, etc.). I responded to one of those ads is how I found out. I went on to be a sign painter which paid a little more per hour but not much.
There are some tent show artists who are mass producing their brand of low end art(art designed to appease the pub lic like jewelry) which is often very popular in sales in both the art festival shows and on popular art social web site's which have the ability to market inexpensive digital image prints.
This is nothing new, it's been going on for many decades and as Gene points out has done very little to promote art. Also there is an old saying that charity begins at home but our respective Western governments seem to keep finding new ways to give unfair advantage to foreigners at the expense of their own citizens by making a virtue of the dumping of cheap inferior goods and labour in the name of Free Trade.
In the early 1960's, a U.S, law was passed stating that art/ paintings could be bought from other counties and no tax would be charged. That is just the first step of a great fraud.
In China, they have artists turning out paintings like an assembly line. I was told this directly from a man who use to go there and buy a huge load of paintings for pennies on the dollar, ship them here tax free, and sell them in so called Starving Artist Shows, etc. He also had a warehouse full of Asian paintings and frames.
I have been opposed to this for many years. The original intent of the tax free status was to promote art, not to allow someone to run a business or have an unfair competition with other artists.
Those who buy assembly line art by the ship load should have a heavy tax put on them.
China provides cheap labour for international corporations in China to maximize their investment. Those capitalists in the West and China's newly established Red Capitalists make huge benefit from cheap, unsafe, and fake products from many polluted factories. The workers, farmers, artists, and other regular Chinese have been suffered from the worst form of exploitation by the Red Capitalist government.
Many Chinese talented artists have no choice but to work in those art factories at a low wage for their living survival.