Do you think that generally, people are more appreciative of, and more likely to pay more to artists that can create realistic art? (as opposed to the abstract or a caricature)
Not necessarily. The editorial world leans HEAVILY towards simpler, flat-colored, illustrations or caricature (though the editorial world also pays quite poorly) and the fine art world leans HEAVILY towards the abstract. However, unlike the former and the latter, realism is persistent. It’s not always trendy. It’s not always what’s in-style. But subsequently, it’s also never *a* trend. Realism is timeless because it’s directly drawn from us and our world.
On some level, the same thing applies to photography even though you are always capturing realism. People can and have capitalized on gimmicks and trends like HDR, old-school filters, tilt-shift, heavy-compositing, and so on—but those things will fade in and out of style, photography that captures realism with real lighting, real proportions, and real effects will persist long after the fads. Music? You think auto-tuned, wubwubwub, grossly synthesized, raps about current luxury brands of current cars, clothes, and jewelry will persist? No. They’ll sell now, they’ll be relevant in this moment, but personal rap—that which hits on notes of the rise and struggle—that’s what has and will continue to have power.
Have I missed out on many jobs because of choosing realism and the time-investment that comes with it? Most definitely. Have I and will I continue to be criticized because it doesn’t express deep, abstract, thoughts and emotions? Yep. I choose realism because I love it, I love creating, and I plan on still doing it and loving it for the rest of my life… or ideally just until I reach a status where I can literally just fling random shit at a canvas and sell it for millions.. You know, the American Dream.