Why buy art?

Why buy original or custom artwork from an artist?


context photo of wool self portrait
24″x24″. Coffee-dyed watercolour paper, ink, acrylic paint Fabriano paper, acrylic yarn. ~2008


Original or custom artwork really gives your home a different feel than a mass produced print from the mall, commercial posters, or just hanging photos. A piece of artwork elevates the atmosphere in your home. Buying art from an artist you admire makes you feel connected to them through the piece of work and allows you to develop a deeper appreciation of the artwork when you see it everyday. It gives you a warm sense of humanity when you can see the original brushstrokes made by the artist’s hand or just knowing they spent hours with the material to make it what it is. Some people even become long-term friends with the artist. It will preserve the positive feelings and your interpretation of the artwork, and in a way, this makes it your own. It will be close to you and likely inspire you!


On a practical level, original art accumulates value, not depreciates in value. It’s higher quality, it’s made with better materials and meant to survive more than a hundred years. It’s archival. Art is considered a luxury item, unlike mass-produced products that often just end up in a yard sale or thrift store. It can be passed down over generations and become something part of the family or home. It can be used to increase property value. It gives a sense of sophistication to your home or office and is a great conversation piece for visitors. Besides, who likes to be in a place with empty walls?


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If you’re considering buying an archival quality print, it is also a worthwhile investment. It will be appealing on the walls, more durable, and resemble the original artwork fair more accurately than an inexpensive print. An archival quality print can acquire value just like original art, however usually in smaller amounts, and be resold at auctions. It has all the same previously mentioned benefits, but it’s a good alternative if original art is out of budget or the art will be in rough environment (eg. garage, bathroom, dirty workshop).


For the artist, it is much needed support. ┬áCenturies ago, it was normal for artists to be supported by a handful of rich patrons. That is hardly the case in present times, and so creating art and balancing survival and life has become far more difficult. We are all humans and there are only 24 hours in a day – it becomes impossible to create while working full-time in a job that’s either mentally or physically demanding, or both. Paying artists supports their lifestyle – being that artist – and gives them the ability to focus on their art instead of exerting their energy in other forms of unrelated employment. Beyond the enjoyable task of painting, artists spend time cleaning, filing paperwork, marketing, researching, planning, and practicing and experimenting to improve their art practice. We romanticize the artist lifestyle, yet to become a successful artist, it really does take hard work!