Why buy original art?

When contemplating art one naturally thinks of great artists such as Picasso, Monet or Matisse. One might consider contemproary artists who are at their peak and in the news. Damien Hirst perhaps or Tracey Emin. All of these are worthwile and while originals will be only atainable by the very rich reproductions are readily available.

So why buy original art?

The answer lies in the nature of fame. The mass media and technology allow the production of practically identical replicas creating a “winner take all” society. A society in which Michael Jackson is a global star while a performer of comparable ability may be unknown.

While not necessarily wrong this is not a true representation of art. An artwork’s merit is not a function of the artist’s fame. Picasso was influenced by suposedly primitive art yet his work is worth millions and the primitive art work is practically worthless.

It would be presumtious to define art but any definition must recognise that art is a cultural phenomena. Art is like a river running through society. Art draws influence from everyone and everyone is influenced by art. The work of Picasso cannot be divorced from his environment. Rather his work is embedded in his environement.

When one buys a reproduction one obtains a great work but limits oneself to that layer of art which the establishment deems great. When one buys an original one throws off this limitation.

By collecting orignal art one makes a personal statment and contributes to art as a whole.

The criteria for collecting orignal art is simple:

Does the art work for you?



  1. I do agree that people should buy artwork, however I have a question for you. What about digital artist and their art? Take Katsuya Terada for example, he uses a Wacom pad for all his work, so there is no original. Does it still have merit? I personally feel with the fast pace, full consumption society, prints is where its at….But to make the purchaser have an investment and/or feel something unique, limiting the prints to a set amount. I see people such as Tera Mcpherson and Shag due this to some extent.
    Talk to you again,

  2. Isaac. Sorry for the delay in answering this.

    What about digital art? An excellent question!

    In my post I didn’t intend to say that prints were not original art. There is a debate there of course but my point was that we should buy art from artists that we discover ourselves and not an image that is selected for us and framed and sold in a department store.

    I agree that prints are valid to. How else do you get an image from a computer screen into something tangible? It’s interesting what you say about making the purchaser have an investment and/or feel something unique.

    I usually limit the number of my prints and number them. We do seem to need this feeling of uniqueness don’t we. Part of me thinks that we should not bother and that if it were one of a trillion it should not matter. But then I acknowledge my own behaviour and how I prefer unique stuff.
    This makes me wonder about the rise of “luxury” items and how people seem to prize these. Louis Vuitton etc. Though these are made by craftsmen and could be termed art they are identical and have a mark of identity stamped upon them. Yet we don’t consider these to be worthless copies.

    Marketing perhaps?

    Good to talk.

  3. I try to number my prints as well…or do only one large one with the smaller ones open ended.

    i hope you’re right about the marketing question/comment. i graduate in two weeks with that degree! 🙂

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