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Artist Manifesto

Why my coffee mug collection matters to me!

Artist Manifesto

Standing up to the Art World!

A Short Essay by David Zermeno

A Lesson in Art History...

Having studied the biographies of the great artists in the history of art, it's always the same old story: The artist dies without ever being appreciated during their life and then is celebrated by the world after death...  As an artist, I feel very strongly about this issue, so this is my manifesto about standing up to the art world!  Every art history book and Hollywood movie about an artist tells "the same old story..." The artist struggles living pennyless, never being appreciated and valued until they were being carried away in their casket...  After death, the art world finally comes in to value the artist and profit from the art collection that took the artist a lifetime of hard work and struggles to create. Take Van Gogh, for example. 

Van Gogh: A Case Study

The art world never valued Van Gogh during his lifetime!  Van Gogh had a big advantage as he confronted harsh realities of the artworld.  His brother, Theo, was an art dealer and yet he spent his life as an artist living in poverty...  Not even having an art dealer in his family was enough for Van Gogh to profit from his art and succeed in the art world while he was alive.  Did you know that Van Gogh sold only one painting during his entire life?  The 400 francs he was offered for that painting was probably enough for Van Gogh to buy more art supplies and feed himself for a few weeks. Van Gogh would have died of starvation were it not for some small tokens of support here and there from Theo.  Yet today the art world continues to make millions in profit from Van Gogh and so many countless dead artists who throughout the history of art who have gone to their deathbeds never being appreciated and valued by the art world.  It's a well-known dark secret in the art world that artists are worth more dead than alive.  Van Gogh spent his entire life never being valued...  Yet just that one painting that Van Gogh sold for 400 Francs was recently resold to a museum for 101.7 MILLION.  Yes, 101.1 Million with an "M"!  Do you think that's fair that those millions don't never benefit the artist?


Don't you think that artists should be  

the ones to profit from their own art?

The Truth about the Art World

The art world is not a "pretty place".  Today the art market continues to treat dead artists like commodities in the stock market.  The collections of dead artists constantly fetch millions in the auction houses that only the rich and powerful and large museums can afford...  And how many images of artists' work have you seen that are mass produced online and in gift shops making millions in profits from the works of dead artists with mass produced reproductions as prints, posters, t-shirts, and especially art mugs. Let's face it, most artists never profit from the reproductions and commercialization of their works because the art industry is literally a multi million dollar business that does not benefit the "living artist".  Yes, we all know it.  As an art director and collector, I can't tell you how many times I've heard art professionals utter the phrase when referring to the sad truth about how millions are made in the art market: 

"The best artist is a dead artist." 


My Message: "Value Yourself!"

We all have intrinsic value as human beings.  As an artist, I decided I wasn't going to wait until I was dead to be "valued" by museums in the art world.  That's why I've created ZERMENO MUSEUM.  It's my way of standing up to the art world!  This is my way of inspiring you with this important message: value yourself!  That's why I'm using my art collection to inspire others while I am alive!!!  


My Mission

My mission and purpose is to make sure I inspire you to value yourself. And how can I do that if I don't even value myself by profiting from all my hard work as a living artist?   That's also why I've broken the rules of the art world and turned my home into my own unique artist museum with its own online gift shop.  Even though I have been offered very high prices for my works, selling them is just not part of my mission!   For years I've refused to sell the American In Paris collection for high sums of money to wealthy art collectors.  Fortunately I even own the reproduction and copyrights to all my works. I've come under sharp criticism for this, but I refuse to live in poverty like so many other dead artists being constantly treated and traded as just commodities on the art market!  

An Artist with a Cause!

So how could I inspire others to value themselves if I never even stood up for myself while I was alive and just sold out to the art world?  You see, I come from humble beginnings.  Fortunately, I have accomplished a lot in my life. So I know the value of hard work. That's why I will always stand up for the hardworking and disadvantaged little guy!  I will go to my death fighting for the disadvantaged and this worthy cause!  My original works of art and my large personal art collection are NOT FOR SALE!  It's not that I think I'm so great.  That's not the point.  It's just that I am using my art collection for a cause. And that cause matters deeply to me!  Having spent many years as a teacher, social worker, art director, and community leader, I know many of you go through life without ever being fully acknowledged, recognized, and "valued" for you own unique contributions to our communities and our society. This is especially true for an artists and the role that the arts plays in the world.  My personal mission is to inspire the disadvantaged like me who somehow still manage to succeed against all the odds!!!  


My Gift to You!

My art collection is my personal gift to YOU and the world!  It's taken great courage for me as an artist to break the rules of the art world and create my own museum. So I created my own unique artist museum here in the art world as an underdog.  Why should I wait for the rich and powerful in the art world to value, and discover me when I'm dead like the countless artists throughout history who never profited from their art?  After creating a nonprofit with art programs for low income families, I dedicated two entire years of my life to getting a degree in Graphic Design from the School of Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts.  It wasn't easy, but eventually I became a designer.  Now I design my own coffee mugs!  

My Gift to You!

Having my own Art For Coffee coffee mug collection gives me GREAT JOY and satisfaction because I've proven that I value myself without needing museums to pronounce me "worthy & valued"!  It's always best to lead by example.  So, yes, I now have my own art mugs that you can afford and enjoy just as much as I do in my own home and unique artist museum that I've created for art & inspiration.  This is My Gift to You!   My Art For Coffee mug collection is my way of inspiring you with my important message:

"You don't need someone to discover you. 

The best person to discover you is YOU!"



That is why my art mugs matter so much to me!!!  So if you appreciate my deep commitment to the arts, I thank you for your support.  Above are some of my favorite art mugs, but you can choose your own favorite from a much larger collection of Art For Coffee mugs directly in the museum gift shop.  When you purchase an Art For Coffee mug from the gift shop, it means the world to me because you're supporting the underdog and are saying: ​

"I value you as an inspirational artist!"​


If this is your intention, then I deeply thank you for your support!​


David Zermeno

Director, Designer & Artist

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