There seems, for some reason, to be a lot of mystique around the buying and selling of art, as if it's some secret elite process involving special handshakes and millions of dollars. Today, I'm going to lift the veil and dispel some myths for you about the process of buying and selling art.
1. Galleries Are Intimidating, I Can't Possibly Go In There: I get it, the idea of walking into a pristine white walled space and being greeted by a well dressed lady (or gentleman) while you're in jeans and flip flops on your Sunday afternoon stroll gives you the heebie jeebies. Or maybe you shudder at the thought of attending an exhibition; all those wealthy people standing around, champagne in hand, discussing important things. You instantly feel judged, assessed as less than worthy. You shouldn't be in there, you think, as the staff begin discussing the mood of a piece or the artist's point of view. Calm down and get over yourself, you're just fine. You know why? Because no one is thinking anything bad about you. Galleries are made up of people, people who are trying to earn a living, just like you're trying to earn one in your job. They're there to help you find work that you love and that will fit your space and your budget. They want to make you happy; hell, they want you to be delighted because they want you to come back. And here's a secret, when they're off work, they're in jeans and flip flops too.
2. Original Art is Expensive, I Can't Afford It: You watch the news, you see the stories about how some painting recently sold at auction for millions of dollars and instantly conclude that you can't possibly afford an original work of your own. Well, maybe you can't afford a million dollar piece, but the truth of the matter is there's great original art out there at pretty much any price point you can imagine. There's amazing art out there for just a few hundred dollars. And when you're dealing directly with an artist, there's no harm in asking if they can help you out a bit on price or if they can work with you on a payment plan. Many will. Just remember not to lowball too much so that it appears insulting and if you make a payment arrangement, stick to the terms, again, like you, the artist is trying to earn a living. Just like you at your job, you get a paycheque ever two weeks, well, the artist gets one if and when he or she sells work and like you, that paycheque has to go toward things like food, rent, clothes, heat, etc. The image of a starving artist may be romantic in the fairy tales, but in real life, it's total crap, no one does their best work, whether it's typing, doctoring, driving or painting when all they can think about is where their next meal is coming from.
3. Original Art is Nice, But I Got Some Art From Over At the Department Store for $49: Grrrrrr! No honey, no you didn't. What you got was a print, a mass produced, machine made print, It might be cool looking, but its not the same thing at all. Original art, like a painting, is so much more than the image it projects. You can feel the texture of the paint, you buy it because it reflects something about your personality, your hopes, your dreams back to you. You know it was made by an actual human being. And here's the kicker, for that $49 you spent, you probably could have either made a down payment on an original you really loved or bought something outright at a local art fair from a young artist just starting out but brimming with promise and talent. Imagine how cool you'd be then? A few years later, rather than wondering where to toss that wretched print you're sick of looking at, you're proudly pointing out that original you bought from the promising young artist you "discovered" at a local art fair. You were there, in on the ground floor, before he or she was well known; your faith, your investment, helped get them there!.. Now that's pretty freakin' awesome!
4. I Need to Find A Piece That Matches The Colour Scheme In My Livingroom: I hear this one all the time and it makes my blood boil because it's so common and so false! You don't add art to a room, you add a room to art! A good piece of art transforms a space regardless of colour scheme. It fits anywhere, in any room, with any décor. It adds emotion, it gives a room life, and it adds a special reflection of the collector's taste and personality!
That's enough for today. I have to go paint now. No point writing about buying art if I'm not creating any to buy, is there. ;)