Blog: What Is An Artist's Value
Posted on August 07 2021
Featured image: May Blue Bird
What is an artist's value?
How, as an artist, would I like to get paid? What is my value to the others who would like to pay me my value in a sense? What is the value of my creative work? What does it says to you and to others? Is it decoration? Does It look nice and it match? Does what I create have any other value to you, the one who will pay me for it?
I had a glorious experience of being paid by several recent lovers of “Art.”
The couple who purchased “The Creative” was one of them. When they were deciding whether to purchase the work, I left them alone.When I checked back to see if they had any questions I could feel, actually feel what they were feeling as they were looking at it.
Concerned about the cost and how it will effect their budget did not have near the weight in their decision making as how they felt about the work. The overwhelming aura surrounding the painting was the connection the painting had made with the wife. Her feelings towards the work made their decision easy. There is no doubt in my heart that every time they look at the work that the same treasured feeling will return. The work will be timeless for them. I love sales like that. They valued the work perhaps more than I actually did. I knew it was a "one in a million" piece and that there would never be enough money to pay for it. So, my value didn’t come from the amount paid for the work but from the value the two of them placed on the work.
That is the value of my work. That is how I love to be paid.
How do I wish to be paid for my work? I recently sold another piece that I called one in a million, “Creative Contraptions.” I had no idea that this particular couple were looking at the work. So when they stopped for a minute and I walked over to them and asked them if they had any questions they said, "No, but we would like to buy this piece."
I was surprised. They asked me to tell them about the work. But before I answered I asked them to tell me how they felt about the work. I didn’t want to spoil whatever it was that they were experiencing towards the work with my ideas about it.
The husband began and what he said was exactly what I have said about the work. The value of the work for him was exactly the same as the value that the work had for me. My visual language spoke to him. Not only was this a glorious way to be paid but when they paid me for my work they understood and thought of my value as an artist was very important. They valued and understood creatives.
How do I wish to be paid for my work? My work,“The Judge,” was recently sold. I could have sold it before it was finished. The person who bought the work so loved the piece and she so believed in what I could do additionally to the work sight unseen, she said she would buy it as is. I couldn’t do that – but what an honor and privilege it was to be told that.
Marketing “Art” is nothing absolutely nothing like marketing wall décor. It is a completely different experience.
How an artist is paid has varied over time and history. Today one is told that they can purchase a work of art through XYZ, a popular volume setting art market website. I recently saw one that was advertised where the owner actually matched the colors in her dress to the chair and to the painting. It was overwhelming. Overwhelming!
The idea that a buyer would connect to the actual artist has disappeared. The idea that a buyer would talk about their work and show passion for it, has all but disappeared.
For the creative artist to survive and stick around and keep creating, experimenting, making exciting work and not continue to slowly disappear, our culture needs to support this form of innovative thinking. And by support I don’t mean governmental support. This kind of support only comes from another one-of-a-kind person.
The question that needs to be asked is, "What will historians be saying about the 21sat century and its creatives?" What is said about creatives, for the most part ,determines what kind of work that they create or don’t create. The path well traveled is not the path that creatives take, but it seems to be the path most "want to be" artists take. Will this less traveled path survive over the politics of the day, of the fast paced impersonal art market place? I hope so. But I am no longer sure.