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Why Buy Art?

March 31, 2017

 

 

A landscape by Ryan Brown hangs in our foyer.

Also in our collection are two small still life paintings by Michael Chelich (below).

Over the past two years Joe and I have started a very modest art collection. Since I am an artist and can make just about any image I want for my walls, in whatever color I want it, a question that often comes up is why we purchase art from other artists.

 

Why buy original art?

 

 Owning an original work of art is relational, you have a relationship with this object that you live with and look at every day, it affects your life in subtle and beautiful ways. A truly great work of art will make you think and reflect, and as you go through life, growing and changing, the work of art will end up changing with you. You will see new things in the lines and shapes, the brushstrokes and texture will speak to you differently each year. While people generally think about this in terms of abstract art, akin to the way we think about cloud-gazing, it is applicable to representational artwork as well. The narrative of the painting will mean something different to you at different stages of your life.

 

Additionally there is a relationship between you and the artist who crafted the work. There is something truly special about owning something that another human being labored over, poured their heart into, spent years learning and training to be able to create. You own not only a product of their hands, but a line of thought, an emotion, a little piece of themselves that they offer up.

 

There is something evocative in owning an original, something no one else has. In a world where we live in houses that look just like each other’s houses, drive cars that are essentially all the same, follow trends in clothing and decorating, owning something completely and utterly unique can be a joy.

art collecting speaks to an older part of our souls, the deep satisfaction of possession and the incalculable benefit of being surrounded by beauty.

 

There is solidity to buying original art. So many luxury items are manufactured with a planned obsolescence. That is, in order to keep you shelling out the big bucks on your phone every year, they make a new one with a slight upgrade, just to put the old one out of style. Planned obsolescence comes with a built in sense of deprivation and restlessness, making the purchase of an item about the moment of purchase rather than the pleasure of ownership. While art is not immune to the vagaries of fashion, it is not constrained by trends. No one looks at a Raphael and thinks it is old fashioned, or so 500 year ago. While there is a high associated with the purchase of a beautiful work of art, art collecting speaks to an older part of our souls, the deep satisfaction of possession and the incalculable benefit of being surrounded by beauty.

 

Once you have original art in your home you realize that no print or reproduction can come close to the quality and vibrancy of an original painting. Simply put, the technology that we have at hand cannot reproduce a painting’s color, value shifts, textures, or subtleties. Sure, you can get a nice image from allposters.com, but that is all it is, an image. Then on top of that, any printed image is guaranteed to fade, to change colors, to alter in some way. A well painted original artwork can last hundreds of years. Even a painting that is created with inferior products will outlast a print by decades.

 

Finally, it is the number one way to support the arts. While we all like to think that we support arts and appreciate art being made in our communities, buying art from a living breathing artist is the best way to show that support. Art making is an expensive, time consuming activity, and buying art allows the artist to keep making art. Simple as that.

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