I love buying art. Admittedly, that’s not surprising for an artist and an art lover; but there are all kinds of reasons to buy art. If you own art, you can transform any space – your room, your home, your office. You can make spaces comfortable, beautiful, and inspiring.
Buy Art for the Message
Art can contain ideas in words and images that encourage, challenge or inspire. I like to have art on my walls that remind me of the messages that are important in my life. That is why I’ve bought art from Scott Erickson and Karen Hallion. I connect with their work because it contains themes and messages that resonate with my life and values. This image of a tree from Erickson is a visual representation of perseverance in starting over. It’s an important reminder for me in my day-to-day life. Hallion’s work on my walls includes inspirational words like “express” and “wonder” connected to her portrayal of role models of mine: Georgia O’Keeffe and Wonder Woman.
Buy Art to Remember
Art can also carry memories. There are three art prints of famous paintings done by American artist Charles M. Russell on the wall at my parents’ house. One of them is called Jerk Line and features a cowboy trying to get control of a runaway stagecoach. It’s one of the first pieces of art my father bought and hung on the wall at our house. He chose that particular print because a copy of it hung on the wall of his barbershop when he was a kid. He looked at it every time he got his hair cut. That is how my dad was introduced to art of the American West and Russell became one of his favorite artists. The print connects with his love of the West, of cowboys and ranchers, of hunters and mountains. Now when he sees it, he’s reminded of trips to the barbershop and of good things from his childhood.
I have art on my walls that carry memories, too. After my great-grandmother passed, I inherited two paintings that hung in her house. Now they hang in my bedroom, and I think of her every time I see them. I also have art prints of famous works like Wassily Kandinsky’s Several Circles that reminds me of my very first trip to New York City. I had read about Kandinsky’s work but never seen it in person until I visited the Guggenheim Museum. The museum itself was an incredible experience and I bought this print in the gift shop to commemorate the trip.
Should I Buy Print or Original?
We can talk about why to by art all day, but eventually, the conversation needs to come around to what should I buy – print or original? Prints are photo reproductions of artworks, and they do have a place in the art world. To me the best purpose of a print is to enable people to enjoy famous works of art in their own spaces. The vast majority of people can’t afford an original Russell, Kandinsky, Picasso, or Monet; and so, you buy a print from a museum or online. And certain types of work pretty much require prints. For example, the Sistine Chapel fresco can’t be moved! And it isn’t readily accessible for most of us, so prints are a great way to see and admire Michelangelo’s work.
Original art is better than any print and it is important to buy original art when you can. Since a print is made from a photo of the work, it can only give you a lower quality representation of the artwork – especially when it comes to texture and dimension. The craftmanship, handmade marks and actual materials used to create the painting simply can’t be captured in a print reproduction. Everything is flatter in a print. However, with original artwork those elements come alive and make an impact, whether the work uses charcoal strokes on paper or oil paint on canvas.
Original Art’s Reputation
Sadly, original art (actually art in general) has a reputation of being unaffordable and difficult to acquire. And so, we hang mass reproduced images found at big-box stores on the walls of homes or offices. They might contain pleasant imagery but offer no uniqueness, little originality, and rarely contain a meaningful message. Cheap? Yes. Fills the space on a wall? Sure. But art – original art – does more than fill space. It creates interest, sparks conversation, displays personality. It adds value to the room. Original art is special. You get something unique and meaningful to you. Original art is different. You don’t have the same thing everyone else has on their walls.
I have two limited-edition original linocut prints by Salt Lake artist Tamia Wardle of TWStudio. These are not reproduced photo prints; they are original printmaking linocut prints hand stamped from hand carved blocks. One is of the Spiral Jetty and the other is of the Sun Tunnels, two land art sculptures located in Utah. I love the evidence of hand carving in the line work of the pieces and that there are only 25 editions out there so this is something special that only a few people own. They also mean a great deal to me because the locations the artist has captured have personal significance for me. Both were under $40 to buy, but they are original one-of-a-kind, handmade works of art.
So yes. Some original art sells for millions of dollars but there is a lot of original art out there that sells for WAY less. You can buy art for thousands of dollars, or hundreds of dollars, or pay as little as $40-50 for a work of art. Original art can be both affordable and obtainable.
One of the best reasons to buy original art is because accessible art (art we can afford) usually comes from living artists. When you buy from living artists, you are supporting a person’s livelihood and career. Original art is best purchased locally from artists in your area. Perhaps you find their work in a gallery, a local art exhibit, or an art market. Often you can even meet the artist and learn about how the piece was made or what inspired them. You don’t get that at a home décor section of a large store!
And when you buy the work of a living artist, they do a happy dance at your purchase. Then they give a sigh of relief because it is one step closer to keeping a roof over their head and food on the table and covering studio rental space and cost of materials. Best of all, it means someone enjoyed and connected to their work, and they can continue to create. I know that’s how an artist feels, because it’s how I feel when someone purchases my art. Every purchase someone makes means I can keep living and keep creating.
Be a Collector
So, if you see my art at a market – buy my work! If you see my art online or on Instagram and you connect with a piece, reach out and ask about purchasing it! I plan to have an online store but I’m not there just yet. (It takes time and effort to make art, and to sell art. But it’s worth it. Worth it to see my work hung on the wall in other people’s spaces, like in the photo below, and worth buying other artist’s work to hang in my own home and studio.)
Fill your spaces with art that speaks to you. Transform your home and office with art, whether it’s prints from famous dead artists or originals from living artists. Find what you like. Then make a local artist’s day and become a collector.