All artists are story tellers, transformers of the soul.
There is no REALvalue to art.
Yet, imagine a world without it.
How devoid of soul.
Artists tell the stories of their time. They are the translators of human emotions.
They are the record keepers of the socio-political landscape of their generation.
Without art, life would be dull, void of color, poetry and drama.
Artists speak to and for the soul.
Think of how a piece of music takes you back to a certain time or relationship in your life.
Or consider how you feel when you hear poetry that speaks for your heart.
Imagine a stunning painting you can’t turn away from.
Art translates our emotions.
I am an artist who makes art because I have to.
I make art to beautify, to express and to process this human experience – for myself and for the collective.
I also sell my art.
And right there is the rub!
I write this essay to begin a conversation with you about the current commodification of art.
I want to change that paradigm and I want to start in my own life as an experiment with you.
Right now, art is sold as a one-time transactional experience. Each artist must put a “value” on their art, and so often that “value” relates to time and supplies spent on the piece.
I challenge this system, because art needs to be valued and exchanged in a completely different way. I can’t put a price on the thousands of hours and dollars I have spent arriving at this point in time, where I create a piece of art and then put a price on it for you. This is a simplistic, commodity oriented basis for pricing something that cannot be valued with this scale.
And really, when we look at the art world, and what collectors will pay for art, who sets those prices? Hundreds of thousands of dollars for a splash of paint on a canvas. At the other end, artists so often asked to donate their work for “good exposure,” to offer their talent for free. There is an imbalance of over-value and under-value in the system. None of this is real. And all of it is real.
Art is made to speak to and for the soul, to translate human emotions into some tangible form so we can better understand our own experience and the conditions of our time. Art is made to shift our consciousness. When a piece of art speaks to your soul, that is when you want and need to live with it.
And yet, how do we put a price on translating our emotions into something beautiful, lyrical or poetic? How do we put a price on shifting our consciousness through art? How do we put a price on something as intangible as a skill that translates emotion into something beautiful and understandable?
Art must be valued by the soul.
“Good” art speaks to some deep place in us that begs to awaken. When you say to yourself, “I must have that piece,” then you know something within you is on the verge of awakening.
It doesn’t matter if anyone else likes the piece you’ve chosen, it only matters that it speaks to your soul. We must trust our own choices.
For making art is a journey of trust. One artistic decision leads to the next and the next until resolution comes.
Just like life, we cannot rush our unfolding. We must believe in our choices.
So, I want to do a personal experiment with you, one that will have a direct impact on us. I want to invite you to consider looking at art in a new way when you feel drawn to owning a piece of art. Instead of thinking you will “buy” the art piece for a certain price to “own,” ask yourself, “What would my soul offer for this painting; to live with it and let it work on me?”
This self-reflective process engages you to ask a few questions.
First, why do I love this artwork?
Why does it speak to me?
What can I give in exchange for this art piece so I can live with it transform me?
It asks you to consider your own resources and what you genuinely have to offer the artist in exchange for their life energy and years of practice they bring to creating the artwork at hand.
Instead of having a one-time transactional experience of “buying” a piece of art, you enter into a relationship with the artist, and you find a price point for the exchange that speaks to the “value” offered both ways. There is no clear cut “price.” You, along with the artist, begin a dialogue around the artwork, what you have to offer, and together you find a value that works for both of you.
It feels uncomfortable doesn’t it?
It does to me.
As the artist, this system asks me to step into a place of trust that you, whoever you are, will value what I bring to the table in making my art – not just the piece at hand, but all of my years of study, practice, education, and inner work. And you, you must take a real look at your resources, what you value in life, why you want to live with this piece and make an offer on the piece. You must open the conversation with the artist. Your offering may also be something in non-monetary form. Perhaps you have skills that I’d love to trade for. Make the offer. See what happens.
The upside of this new paradigm, as I see it, is that art goes to the people whose souls are truly affected, regardless of monetary resources. The art then gets to do its job – bringing joy and transformation to someone’s life.
And you, as the “buyer” become more than that. You become a patron – someone who has a relationship with the artist, that is not about the “price” of any one piece, but rather you support and value the work the artist does in the world. There is an acknowledgement of the power of art beyond its commodity value.
You have stepped into a place of patronage, which is far more valuable. You have stepped into a relationship with the artist, which in the end, is what life is about: relationship|
this is the world I envision - where we change the paradigm of how art is circulated, and we find a way for you to enjoy the art that we as artists create. My art is not able to do its full job unless it goes out into the world to live with you. Lets try this!