A few months ago I stumbled upon a local website acting as an online art gallery. It featured many local artists, some good, some not so good and everything in between.
Being new to the whole “art online” thing I was surprised to find that some of the pieces were in a reasonable price range. I then got it into my head that I wanted to be a collector of fine art and I saw this site as a way to become just that. For me this was a radical concept. As an artist myself, one would think I have enough of my own art on the walls to preclude buying someone else’s.
I spent a long time viewing the works of several artists and bookmarking my favorites. Over the next few weeks I went almost daily. One artist in particular kept drawing me back, and on an impulse I emailed him to say I admired his work. He sent me a wonderful reply and a relationship was born.
I knew I wanted to buy a painting from him; it was just a question of choosing the right one and ensuring I had the funds. Eventually I made my choice and purchased my first painting. After a short wait, the painting arrived. I couldn’t wait to see it in the flesh as I had only seen it online. It was even better in reality and I was truly happy with it.
This artist and I still maintain an email relationship based on our current work and latest blogs. Notwithstanding the fact that I love his work and want to buy more, this artist is also showing an interest in me and I what do. This relationship ensures that I when I’m ready to buy another work of art he will be the first one I will go to.
Now I want to share with you how this painting makes me feel. When I look at it, I feel pride in selecting a great and unique work of art. Additionally I know that while it was a fair price, it was quite a bit of money and this gives it added value.
So to anyone who wants to sell their art too cheaply—don’t! You are depriving your collectors an important dimension of owning your art.
Think about Ferrari: they only make a limited number of cars a year, which means that not everyone can own one. This uniqueness alone makes them special. But it’s not just uniqueness that matters. Would they be as special if they only cost a couple thousand each?
A work of art is like that, just more so. In the case of an original painting, that one painting is the only one of its kind—ever. Posters and prints of original art don’t give you the same feeling. You may have an exact replica of the original, printed off and framed, but you know it’s just a cheap imitation and you won’t feel the same way about it.
And there’s another unique sensation that I get with this artwork that I purchased. . . I can sense the artist’s touch. I can see where he placed his brush just so, and it becomes almost a communication between him and me.
Now why can’t I just get this “feeling” by going to a gallery and looking?
Well let’s take a look at our Ferrari example again. There’s joy and pride in owning one that you don’t get from just seeing it pass by. Also, I personally selected this piece, so there is meaning in the choice I made. I ponder on why I chose it, why I like it, and how I feel about all that.
So my advice to anyone thinking about buying some original art is this: do it! You won’t regret it. Find an artist whose work you really like that fits your price range, select your favorites and consider them a while.
Eventually one piece may keep drawing you back. That’s the one for you.
Personally I like looking at new and unknown artists. If I love their work and buy it while they are still fairly unknown, the prices are much lower. If I’m lucky and demand for their work grows, then I’ve also made a good investment—although I never purchase with the intent to sell.
To all of you artists out there who think that you can’t also be collectors, think again. The feeling you get from owning someone else’s art is much different than owning and displaying your own. And I for one, would highly recommend it.