Joining the journey


One question that artists debate endlessly is "why does someone buy art" (or variations of that). I'm curious too, and it's a question I am asking you in earnest here. Why do YOU buy art? When do you buy art? (Please email me  or better yet, call me, and tell me why. I really do want to know.)


Here are the most oft-quoted reasons that we artists have heard over the years:

  1. I want to invest in an artist whose paintings I believe will becomes (more) valuable
  2. It makes my room / wall  / home / office / space look [insert adjective of choice]
  3. It goes well with my furnishings
  4. The painting reflects who I am or what I believe or what I aspire to be/do
  5. I want a painting to make me feel [insert feeling of choice]
  6. They're my relative/friend and I want to help them
  7. I want a special gift for someone important to me
  8. It reminds me of a time / place / person / event that's important to me
  9. I just like it / want to fill my space with something beautiful


All of those are very wonderful reasons for buying a work of art. Those reasons are easy for us to express to one another. They're very rational and logical. But I'd like to offer a couple of much deeper, emotional reasons for "why" that I'd love to explore with you and see what you think.


Drawn to Beauty

Humans are drawn to beauty and repulsed by what we perceive as "ugly." This can be at all levels whether physical, emotional, spiritual, or intellectual. "Beauty" implies goodness, safety, strength, and health. It's part of our internal emotional programming that we find almost impossible to ignore. The degree of perceived "beauty" helps us make decisions about what to eat, where to go, when to do something, who to help, love, or defend ourselves against — among other things.


Perversely, sometimes "ugliness" makes us feel pity or empathy for the person, creature, or situation, which causes us to do something we normally might not. (Have you ever thought — They're so ugly they're cute?) The perception of beauty is also greatly influenced by the culture and values in which we were raised. The saying, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" didn't just show up out of the blue. 


Would you agree ? If not, please share with me your thoughts about this.


Beyond Beauty

I would like to offer additional food for thought about why we buy art. "Beauty" is the initial attraction. Sort of like the top note of a bottle of perfume or the opening notes of a song. But the decision to buy a particular work of art I believe comes down to our hidden desire to become a part of that artist's journey. I believe this is especially true of collectors who buy multiple works of art from an artist.

Do you perceive something magical about someone who can paint, sculpt, write, compose, dance, etc. because you can't do those things as well as them? Or perhaps you're an artist yourself and you appreciate the mastery and difficulties it took to create a work of art or compose a song or whatever it is that you create? Or is it something else?


As an artist, I spend hours every day sketching, drawing, painting, experimenting, learning, and failing (besides doing all the other things I need to run my art business well). The joy for me is in the journey, and struggle to create something even more beautiful, even more evocative, even more "perfect" to me. Every time I pick up a pencil, pen, brush, pastel, and surface, I AM LEARNING. And only a few attempts out of hundreds are "good enough" in my eyes. I fail more often than I succeed. And I revel in this. Because every failure brings me closer. Perfection is a journey. It is not a destination.


It's my observation that people who buy art want to feel they're a part of that creative journey. For some of you, you want to get as close as you can get to the experience of creating art as you can short of crawling into my skin and head. For others, you're curious about how and why I make the choices I do as I am creating. All of you at one time or another hit me with all kinds of questions, which I always welcome and do my best to answer.


I totally get it because I feel that way when I watch someone else play an instrument, or sing / play music they wrote. I love music, but composing it? I haven't a clue how a composer hears music in their head and knows how to sound it out. I mean, look at Elton John! Bernie would hand him a poem and suddenly Elton starts playing music to accompany the poem on the piano. Geez? How does that guy do that? If I had the time and the resources, I'd be hanging out with as many musical composers as I could just to understand how it works in their heads. I want to be part of their journey as well.


What do you think? How do you feel when you buy a work of art? Do you think you're becoming part of an artist's journey? Does that intrigue you? Does that matter to you? Please share your thoughts with me via email or call me. I really want to understand. You see, as far as I'm concerned, you're a member of my traveling party whether you realize it or not.


And to all of you, thank you for joining me on my artistic journey. There's so much more to come.