Nobody needs art. That’s the truth. You can survive without it, and decorating your home doesn’t, and shouldn’t take precedent over eating or paying bills. Not that I look at art as “decoration”, but most people do, and I understand that no one should go into debt buying it. However, I have walked into so many otherwise beautiful homes and found them with no art on the walls, and I have to admit, it always kind of shocks me. Blank walls shock me. A print of a famous work on the wall makes a statement about perspective and taste. It’s art, really art, even if it’s a reproduction; selected because it moved the viewer to purchase it. But… a blank wall? That is just wrong.
The perception is that “normal” people cannot afford to buy original art. And depending on what market you are looking in, that can be very true. But anyone can be a collector. You just have to collect at the right time in an artist’s career. And honestly, I think it’s the perception that no one can afford it that drives the price of art up. If an artist can sell to someone on the street, or out of their studio, as well as out of the gallery, and have an income flow, they don’t have to charge as much for their art. Just like any other commodity, if you sell enough of it, you can, and should, keep the cost down. But this is not how the art market is run. Unfortunately. It is considered a “luxury” market.
As for me, I have set my pricing the same inside and outside of the gallery. They take from 40 to 50%, but that is okay. I need them. I need to expand my audience in any way I can, and my art looks great in a gallery setting. I don’t want anyone to think they are going to get a better deal outside of a gallery. I want the galleries to make the sale if they are good enough to represent me, and feel it is a fair exchange. I am showing in three galleries as I write, and the question is, will you go? I hope so.
I suppose you have wondered why I have posted this with a picture of a dog. The reason I have posted this with a picture of a dog in it is this: yes, there is always the commission. Almost any resourceful artist I know finds multiple ways to make money. If painting a 5″ x 7″ portrait of your dog buys me more studio time, well yes, I will do it. The buyer on this little piece also purchased the digital image, because with digital images, you can make a 5″ x 7″ work of art… bigger. There’s a thought. And anyone who sees this picture of their dog in their home will know for sure that it has value. And that’s alright by me, because the answer to the question “Who needs art” is… I need art, that’s who.