What's so wonderful about purchasing original
art or a print reproduction?
For You the Buyer:
Art and the appreciation of art is a very personal thing. If there's
a particular work of art that speaks to you, it does so in a way
that is special to you and you only. Perhaps it reminds you of
something or someone special or perhaps it represents something
you strongly believe in. Bringing this image into your personal
space even if only on a small postcard can help bring that inspiration
On another note, collecting art is serious business for some since
the purchase of art functions as an investment. Original works
and some prints, particularly signed giclees of limited editions,
appreciate in value. Original works are your best option or when
working with prints, purchasing one of a limited edition is your
best bet. A limited edition print should be labeled with a fraction
such as 3/50. This would mean that it is the third print out of
a total of 50. This makes the print more valuable than if there
were a total of 5,000 made. The smaller the number, the more valuable
the print. So print # 3 is worth more than print #25. Prints are
usually numbered in either the order they were produced or by
ranking the best quality prints to the lowest, with "1"
being the highest valued. A print can be a photograph, linoleum
print, silkscreen, woodcut print, etc. In addition, digital prints
are much more popular these days. Giclee prints are special digital
reproductions made of original works. They are described as being
the next best thing to the original because of the quality of
the reproduction and the inks and papers used. They are archival
and most are guaranteed a life of at least 80 years. Giclee prints
are usually made on cotton fine arts or rag paper and can also
be made on canvas. As an artist sells work and acquires more fame
throughout their career, the pieces you purchased increase in
value. In addition, the more an orginal work is exhibited, the
more it increases in value.
For collection purposes, always ensure that an art work, whether
a print or an original, is signed. It is a symbol of authenticity,
ties the piece to the artist and contributes to its value. Collecting
art should be viewed as a reciprocally beneficial relationship.
You not only support the artist by providing some funds that allow
them to continue their work, you also gain a work of art and it
becomes more valuable with the passing of time in the event you'd
like to pass it on to someone or later sell it to an art institution
Unlike most jobs in this world, art seems to be the only one where
you're not expected to be paid to work (and motherhood of course).
No, I'm not trying to perpetuate the whole "starving artist"
sob story. But honestly whereas just about everyone else clocks
in with a time sheet to collect an hourly wage or annual salary,
artists must determine for themselves what a sale price will be,
attempting to factor in the countless hours spent creating a piece.
However if the piece doesn't sell, you don't get paid, unless
it's a commission (meaning someone asked you to create the piece
especially for them and is paying you to do so). If ever you see
an artist's work hanging in a museum or other exhibit outside
of a commercial gallery, that artist most likely isn't being paid
to have their work on display, nor were they paid to create it.
The only income that would be generated is if the museum decides
to purchase the work for their collection, which is a longshot
in most cases. If an artist does sell through a commercial gallery,
then they are charged a commission or consignment fee, which will
be deducted from the total sale. Some galleries even make artists
pay for shipping expenses to and from the gallery. And believe
it or not other galleries actually charge their artists to exhibit!!!!
(ever wonder why I don't really exhibit in commercial galleries)
Not to mention how many artists are expected to front costs for
exhibits with the promise of being reimbursed as if we all had
a trust fund sitting around for this purpose. I and other artists
I know have been victims of waiting months (almost a year sometimes)
to get paid or reimbursed for expenses around someone else's event.
Not many of us have lawyers to follow up on this stuff which means,
we're "assed out".
Anyways, it is all very interesting that this is how things are
in this capitalist society. So here is where you find artists
with a "hustle" or gig they do on the side to earn income.
Even still many artists for survival purposes must get a full-time
job to pay an apartment rent, a studio rent (yup that would be
a second rent) and to support the family or if lucky, a mortgage.
How many times have you heard someone say "I used to be an
artist!" ? Many of us think that you can never say this in
past tense. I believe that this unfair capitalist society has
the ability to beat the artist right out of you. I create political
work because rather than allow the injustices to beat me down,
I use my anger and angst as ammunition and animo to create. You
see, the way this society is set up results in many artists taking
on other full time work or careers to ensure a steady income,
thus regulating their art to nothing more than a "side gig"
or hobby. I find this scary considering that artists of all disciplines
are pretty much the preservers and teachers of culture. For this
reason, I applaud any artist who has sacrificed to make art their
"full-time" job. But as for "side gigs", many
teach, as do I, and others, as do I, thankfully earn some income
through speaking engagements and presentations.
By the way, the purpose of these words is not
to scare those interested in pursuing careers in the art. It is,
like any other job a balancing act. And like most careers should
be, there is nothing better than committing yourself to your passion.
Doing so allows you to keep at it and figure it out. I also believe
that when you follow your path, things fall into place and blessings
inevitably come your way.
Purchasing art directly through the artist is the best way to
give support. Buy a painting or go to the record store and buy
a CD. If they sell out, they'll order more and keep the artist's
music on the shelves. If they don't sell, they'll assume that
no one cares to hear that artist. Buy a chapbook from your favorite
poet. Take a break from Hollywood and next time you go to a theater,
instead of United Artists or Loews, check out a new Latino playwright's
work at La Tea, SEA, PRTT, Repertorio Español or any other
local theater of yours that supports new playwrights. Go to that
club and pay to see a group perform, they vibe off your happy
face in the audience. All these things tell the artist, "we
appreciate what you do and would like to see you continue to do
it". If you ever find yourself contemplating on dropping
$200 on a pair of shoes, to make Louis Vutton or some other rich
cat richer, take some time to consider the visual artists, poets,
musicians, dancers and playwrights of your community, struggling
to celebrate, preserve and promote your culture. Then consider
the work they do and the support they may or may not receive and
what you can do to sustain your creative community.
Mil gracias!, Yasmin
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© Copyright 2002-09, Yasmin
Hernandez. Under no circumstances should any of the images or
content of this site be downloaded, printed or reproduced without
direct permission from the artist.