Have you ever bought a print? It’s nice – it fills the empty space on the wall, but after awhile you barely see it hanging there anymore, and it’s sitting a little crooked but you just don’t care. Art is not supposed to be like that! You don’t care because the print is a pale comparison to the original thing.
When you discover that original art is actually attainable, and that anyone can have these amazing objects, you kind of have a “eureka” moment. Remember when you used to think that Olive Garden had the best spaghetti carbonara ever, and then you went on that trip to Italy and WOW, holy crap. You had no idea how delicious real carbonara was supposed to be. OK, maybe you don’t like carbonara, but the point is, until you buy your first piece, you don’t really know what you are missing! (I’ve mixed in some cool art in between my soap-box rants.)
1. Prints are evil.
No they aren’t, but let’s face it – you only buy a print because you can’t have the original, right? But the thing is you can. There are so many emerging and established artists out there that create a huge array of incredible work that you CAN have. They aren’t Renaissance masters, but are you excited by the fact that there are thousands of people with the exact same print hanging in their living room? Artists today provide infinitely more interesting choices than what you see picked out for you at the big box stores.
To me, the point of art is that it is something unique, its value is in its intimate and personal nature. Doesn’t buying a mass-produced print seem inherently against what art is about? The problem with prints is it has to be non-offensive in any way to the general public for it to be viable to be mass produced. So it doesn’t leave much room for individuality, quirkiness or personality. What you choose to display on your walls and look at every day is your opportunity to express yourself and have a point of view. I like to think that I don’t see the world the same way as the other 10,000 other people with the same print. I am excited when I can find an artist that has a similar view or aesthetic sense as I do.
2. You don’t have to be uber rich to collect original art.
The old stereotype was that people who could afford original art were so wealthy, they were inventing ways to spend it. The truth is, there is fantastic art out there for $20 or $2,000,000. Reproduction art from Pottery Barn costs $600, I can think of so many original pieces I would rather pick up for that amount. Your experience discovering and finding treasures to hang on your wall can make your life richer. It’s so rewarding to curate your own little art gallery in your home.
Buying art from an artist is a great deal for both you and them, you gain a special piece of art that you love, and the artist gains the ability to continue to spend time creating. There are few artists that can survive on their art alone. Another way that you are contributing to the art world is by being an engaged audience, which is also important. I guess there are artists out there that create for themselves only, but I think the majority feeds off of having others experience and respond to their creative efforts.
Are you convinced?
There are many great places to find art that speaks to you – and online is a really exciting place to get a feel for what you respond to and also purchase from. There are artist blogs/sites, gallery sites with portfolios and online original art retail venues like zatista.com where you can see hundreds of examples of styles and subjects. If you don’t live in a metropolitan area it may also be hard to find a gallery that expresses your style, so the internet is great to explore outside your area. But if you do find a place that appeals to you, stop in! Many cities have Art Walks on the weekend that are fun to browse. Start small, find something that won’t break the bank, but be sure to buy a piece that makes you feel something. You will be amazed at how much personality a mere object can add to your home.