Why do people buy art?
And especially in a world of uncertainty and constant disruption, why do people buy art?
As an artist and an art gallery owner, I’ve considered questions like this for a long time. The best answer I know of? Because living with art is one way we know we’re human.
Consider the following.
Owning original artwork has a positive effect on the environments of people who own it, which inevitably enriches a life. It inspires us to look at the world in a different way. Your choice of art reflects your individual personality. Art humanizes and transforms a room into a livable environment. Buying art supports artists directly, allowing them to continue with their creative process, which in turn continues to improve the quality of life for all of us. While mass-produced prints and images can bring colour to a space, handmade beats factory-made any day.
And yes, there’s really no argument anywhere here, but…what really inspires art buyers in making a decision to bring a particular artwork into their personal ecosystem?
I think about some of my own collection.
A large abstracted suburban landscape in fractured pastel brushstrokes of big, blocky, two storey houses and their ubiquitous foundation plantings. I bought it because I so admired the way the artist saw these ordinary elements in that citified environment not as ugly and beneath consideration, but as something he could turn into a beautiful geometry of light and shadow.
A small acrylic painting on wood of a cat stretched on its back with paws reaching out at the endless length cats seem to have, in a bronze metallic space of green…lizards! It’s called “Field of Geckos”, and it has lovely lines in its drawing and movement in its stillness, and it’s like every cat who ever dreamed in the sun.
A medium sized painting in thick, sweeping, knifed-on oil of an Irish rainstorm enveloping darkened purple mountains and a rusty winter bogland, and the sun almost going to break through in a few more wet minutes. This one looks like it was done quickly, before the artist herself had to dash for shelter from a wintry yet not quite threatening sky. I bought it as I was leaving Ireland after three months in a cottage on an island in the same winter as the painting was made, because I wanted never to forget what that world felt like.
A hand-coloured linocut print of a roughly outlined hare leaping past green and yellow fields with flowers in the foreground, all simple shapes and colours, and as alive with the life of hares as you can imagine in something that captures a single moment. This one came home with me because I really like hares and had once upon a time been enchanted to see their March dancing.
Did I have disposable income when I acquired each of them? Not really. There was no genuine hardship, but I knew there would be other things I couldn’t have if I had these. Do I regret any one of those other lost objects? Not for a minute.
All these artworks, and the others around them that aren’t described here, have made every wall they’ve been on better, and my life better for that, from the first time I hung them. I can see the places I bought them and feel the excitement I knew then. They have memories attached for all the years they’ve been with me. They tell stories. My stories. They began life to tell the artists’ stories, and now they tell mine.
They make me more human.
Do you own artworks you feel this way about? What are your stories they tell?
For more artworks that can tell your stories, please go to Grasslands Gallery Online.
Thanks for reading,