FREE SPEECH ZONE | For love and money: Six reasons to buy local art


Just because you can’t afford an original Monet or Picasso doesn’t mean you have to settle for bare walls or cheap reproductions. Local art is affordable, and you may be surprised by the wealth of talent that exists in your own city. If you need a bit of encouragement, here are six reasons to “buy local”:

1. Original works are alive

Direct from the artist’s hand, an original painting or sculpture may be more expensive than a copy, but it’s alive with the artist’s spirit and vision! Nothing mass produced by an anonymous person or machine can come close to the sense of vitality that emanates from an original work of art. Why fill your home with machine-made kitsch when you can own original and affordable works of art created by respected local artists? If your budget is tight, you can ask the artist or gallery about leasing work, paying by layaway, or buying sketches rather than a fully finished work.

2. Meet the artist

It’s rare that we ever get to meet the people who create the products we buy and use daily. Buying local—from food to wine to art—is popular for a range of economic and social reasons. When you buy from local artists, you can learn their backgrounds, follow their careers, and even arrange a studio visit to see where and how the magic happens. Sure, buying local helps the local economy, but more important, it builds relationships that can last a lifetime.

3. Choose your scene

Local artists often paint familiar scenes, capturing the beauty and uniqueness of neighborhoods, farms, and local rivers, lakes and mountains. Artists also accept commission work. If there’s a scene that holds particular fascination for you, or that relates to your life in a special way, ask a local artist to capture it on canvas.

4. Enhance your well-being

Like meditation and yoga, art can be a relaxing and spiritual force in your life, whether you practice it or simple look at it. Surrounding yourself with local art that is unique and meaningful provides a sense of comfort you can’t find in commercially manufactured products.

5. Become a collector

Have you ever collected coins or stamps? Most avid collectors are attracted by the beauty and rarity of these treasures. Original art work is unique—one of a kind. You’ll never walk into someone else’s home and see your art on their walls. True collectors buy art for love, not money. They take pleasure in being surrounded by beauty, knowing that there is special meaning in the art they have personally chosen or commissioned. Since much local art is affordable and collectable, whether you collect by artist, genre, medium or style, you’re likely to find what you want right in your own backyard. If you’d like to start collecting art but aren’t sure how to judge “good” art from “bad” art, contact an art consultant or take a class to build your confidence. But remember, even the critics and historians don’t always agree on what’s good or bad art. Buy a piece of art because you love it, and let your own sensibility and intuition be the best guides.

6. Art as an investment

If you agree with Andy Warhol that “Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art,” then you’re likely to focus on the investment potential of art. There’s no denying that some forms of art have become a commodity whose prices are dictated by dealers, auctions and market forces. The national and international art markets are generally geared toward works whose prices can range into the millions, whereas local art market prices usually run from $100 to $5000. But, even if you believe that art should be primarily about investment, you can still benefit from buying local. Many local artists are early- to mid-career artists, which means their work is still affordable and will likely increase in value as their artistic skills mature. You have the advantage of buying these early works, and watching the artist’s reputation—and your investment—grow.

Free Speech Zone
The Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. The opinions expressed in the Free Speech Zone and Neighborhood Notes, as well as the opinions of bloggers, are their own and not necessarily the opinion of the TC Daily Planet.