This is from my blog post on RichBeyondBills. Please read.
Getting our hands dirty. Staying up way past late. Combating a growing number of reproduction art store. Making original works. Trying to educate buyers and the public. Seeing Ikea and other stores mass produce “art”. Fighting against the politics of fine art. Doing it for the love. Understanding a growing and ever changing business. Selling a piece of ourselves. Critiques that challenge our understanding of art and our work leaving us more concerned with perfection and originality. Living the dream and facing the reality which sometimes makes us wonder if the world is half asleep, not us…
Trust me people, this list of things could go on and on when it comes to processing what and who the artist is. The artists, with their creative minds and talented strokes, seem to forever be wanting to express what they feel is their art, and somehow we have been lost amidst a consumer’s society of mass produced ideas of art, prints and the ever growing challenge of defending price points and gallery mark-ups.
Some have been most fortunate in their success, being able to market and sell their work with rising popularity in a culture that seems to be on both sides of the sink at times. Either you’re hot or you’re cold, and the tap is always turning! As soon as someone receives a reward for what they do, as in an exchange either in product or monetary value, the game changes. The process takes on a new shape and the artist has now entered into production mode. It is not abnormal for those who do not create to assume that the artist is able to produce work like an accountant is able to sit at a desk and crunch numbers all day. Yet this is not the case. Art originates from another place, a place that few know of and many more do not fully understand. It is a process.
Do not misread the text, we are not aliens or special creatures, yet we are given gifts that seem to add life, light, inspiration, thought and much more to someone’s world, whether in small doses or very loud installments. We are artists and when it comes to applying our craft to the world at large, well, we fight against a growing population of uneducated buyers and collectors. We have left the explanation up to the artist themselves, or to the gallery which represents them. Most often, the “artist statement” is what best informs a buyer on the collection of work and then the transfer of conversation is left up to the buyer’s eyes and mind with the work they see before them.
So how do you purchase art? How do you pursue the idea of investing in someone’s creativity? How do you know the value of what you are looking at?
I would like to try and educate you on what I know at this time and hopefully shed light on how you will go about viewing original art in the future, making informed and wise decisions on investing in an artist, in original artwork and ultimately, their lives.
How do YOU purchase art?
Think about that for a minute. What makes you spend money on covering up your walls in your home, office or business? What do you think is fair value for the work? What do you actually know about the work or the artist? Ask yourself these questions. Many people often will go through these questions in their minds when looking at artwork, but do not understand what they are processing. Obviously, if you like the work, that is the first and most important realization. That is where you start. However, what if you do not know what you are looking for or you have never purchased your own art, leaving decisions up to your friends, an interior designer or someone with more time? Educate yourself. Simply done, take the time to Google an artist, viewing their work, their collections and their information whether it be previous clients, CV’s or the like. This only takes about half an hour of your time and makes up for a much better decision in the long run. After all, you live in your space, not your friends or your interior designer.
With the newly formed view on the art or the artist, take the time to reflect on how it may work within your space. Measure it out. Know the medium the artist used. Look at the price. Think of how it makes you feel. Think about these things and more, but in the end, make a decision.
How do you finally decide? That word, final, is received with apprehension in our modern day where things are changing on the hour and commitment is a topic that seems to be widely discussed in a variety of opinions. Since we are so often changing, we have allowed a market of price-friendly prints to enter into our homes and hang on our walls in frames build out of cheap wood. Artists have bought into the realm prints as well, making their art more “accessible” and more readily purchased which seems to be growing in popularity. Personally, I prefer original art, yet I do have two prints by an amazing artist in the UK currently hanging on my wall. I am unable to afford his original work at this time, so I chose to go the route of buying the prints. This is not a bad choice and it is completely understood. Often it is an older collector with the financial security whom is able to purchase original works. I would like to show you some options as a collector, whether you are young or old.
When you are desiring to own someone’s work, budget for that work by setting aside a sum of money each month. Sometimes an artist or gallery will allow payment plans with an initial down payment. Do not be afraid to ask either if you desire to go this route. It never hurts to ask. If it is important to you, you will make it a priority.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is my strongest point I would like to bring home today. Priorities seem to run our time, and indirectly, our funds. When we are younger we often prioritize experience and fun which can cost a lot if you travel, like looking the part, enjoy the life of the party or desire to have some type of status. It is not unfamiliar to spend hundreds of dollars a week/weekend in the pursuit of our experience. I would like to bring this to your attention however, that in the pursuit which sometimes is like throwing hard earned money in the toilet bowl, you are in fact proving to yourself that you do have the funds to purchase the art you most desire. Ikea art is filler art, if you haven’t noticed. The original pieces and prints they purchase and then mass produce are great, obviously, as they have purchased the rights while the masses purchase the reproductions at growing rates. This is also easy art. You do not have to think much about these purchases which makes it easy for you do to and easy for you to just hang on a wall. As rapper Nas says in his track Not Going Back, “Real millionaires spend 60 mil on paintings”, which is to say most people spend money on things that depreciate in value, making them look rich but in the end they are broke. Money goes to brands, fancy cars, high priced dinners and big tabs at the club, making the idea of art investment something that you do later in life, when established. Real investment appreciates and it sometimes takes a while, which requires patience. A lot of foolishly spent money is often the tuition cost to receiving this kind of education. I would just ask that you put some thought into your choices if in fact you love art, appreciate it and desire to have it.
If you are looking for an artist to commission a work, please just contact them via email or phone. Often commissions take longer to produce and may be more expensive than a piece within a body of already produced work, but again, just ask. Please be patient with an artist and make a formal agreement for the work, whether in contract or verbal agreement. This type of work is sometimes very personal so establish some good rapport with an artist and though you desire to share your ideas for the work, allow them to be who they are. In other words, if you commissiona piece, share your ideas but let them do what they do best!
I do have more thoughts to share, but will refrain at this time. I just really want to encourage you to look at your living space differently and to pursue purchasing original artowrk, whether is a painting, sculpture, photography or any type of creation from the hands of the hardworking artists.
And to my artist friends, the art world at large and those who desire to pursue art as a living – be also, patient. Create quality work, building integrity through your process and have faith that in the end that it will sell. Your time, talent and process are appreciated! But please, think of your collector and your buyer and do not cheapen the process in search of monetary gain. Our community at large needs integrity. Be patient. Create. And let what you love come through in what you do.
Thank you, that’s all for now,