We’ll always remember the first time we laid eyes on that art. We’ll remember our reaction, and when we tell stories about the experience, our appreciation will grow. We’ll remember the sense of validation that we felt when we acknowledged those emotions, the way we were cheered, inspired, or even stimulated to experience something on a darker level. The unconscious was made conscious when we interacted. Art that resonates with us is, quite simply, good art. There is no better measure.
When we look at an artwork and get that immediate feeling, the kind of emotional response that makes us question what just happened, it is almost always a reaction to an original creation. There’s something about the energy that emanates from the artist’s hands that connects with us. We want to surround ourselves with the experience of being in its presence and know more about it and about the artist who created it. It’s like getting to know someone better in a relationship when we first feel that spark.
What makes original art so precious? It's not just because it's creative, but because it’s one-of-a-kind, not mass-produced in a factory. It is definitely more expensive in most cases than reproductions, posters or ‘gicleés’ and not everyone can justify the expense of the original work over a reproduction. Believe me, I’ve been the poor student. But looking back, the posters I bought, the IKEA prints that ‘adorned’ my walls in my younger days are long gone. The artwork that I bought when I travelled, or purchased from an artist directly, from a gallery or at an art fair, those pieces are still in my life and have meaning to me. Maybe they were my gateway to buying more expensive art (yes, I buy other artists’ works!) when I could afford it, but more importantly, they gifted me with an experience of joy and appreciation that department store art could not.
There is a wide price range for original art, and I don’t pretend that money isn’t a factor when deciding on a purchase. Sometimes having a reproduction makes total sense. We can't all own a Richter, Picasso or Kandinsky, but before you automatically assume that you can’t own something that you love, consider a few things:
- This is likely something you will enjoy for the rest of your life. It doesn’t fade away or get worn out. It will bring you joy, like an old friend who’s there for you whenever you need a smile.
- Your home is your personal space. It says a lot about who you are and what matters to you. Your surroundings affect your mood, your outlook and your self-confidence.
- If you’re buying posters to fill a space on your wall, then replacing them over and over, are you really saving money? Buying what you love and keeping it is like a good relationship.
I know many artists who offer reproductions of their original artworks and I’ve done a very few limited ones as well. These are artists who take care that the quality is representative of the original work and that the print run is limited. It’s important that the buyer is aware of the difference between an original and a copy (a gicleé is often misrepresented as original, but is in fact just a photo of the artwork that is printed on canvas and whether signed or not, it is not an original).
When you choose to buy art, choose because you love the work, because it enhances your life and is worth every penny that you spend on it. There is no greater reward for the artist who created the work than to know that it has enriched someone’s life.