As Nora Haime said, “Buying art is the same thing as falling in love” and I agree.
However, people buy art for many different reasons. A popular reason to purchase that 36” x 48” abstract oil painting is, as you may have guessed; “It matches the couch.” That quote has become even more common in the art world. “They bought that painting because ‘it matched the couch’.”
Now for big-time collectors, that is a small-time reason to buy art. But, for those of us who are decorating and need something on that empty wall above the sofa, it’s a perfectly good reason to purchase a certain piece of art.
There are many other reasons in which one will purchase a specific and original work of art. In economical terms, art is considered a luxury item. This means that art sales are up in times of economic prosperity and that sales decrease during times of hardship or monetary stress. The higher the price of the work, the more luxurious it becomes.
As a luxury item, art is purchased in regards to gratification and desire. Whether the craftsmanship and quality are what pulls you in, or you simply “fall in love” with the art; it’s extremely personal. There are many times I feel connected to a particular piece of art and I am not even sure why. Initially, it just “grabs” me and it won’t let go.
It stops me dead in my tracks and I am falling for it. I stand before it and stare as I try and count the ways in which I am.
I look at the colors and consider the brush strokes (if it’s a painting). I imagine the artist alone with the canvas, late at night. Soft music plays in the background as she hums along. She is leaning in, and the bristles of her brush are their intimate point of synthesis. It is her painting; it comes from within her. It’s a piece of her. And now it is here, a divine element of the artist herself is hanging before me.
As I stare, I contemplate the style. I imagine the artist’s influences and I think of all the things that the painting reminds me of. I think of a particular era or famous artist that may carry the same likeness. I am reminded of the day at the museum when I viewed the works of this possibly influential artist. I remember the cold marble of the front steps of the museum as I sat on them to eat lunch that day. I am reminded of the chicken cheesesteak with extra mayo, that I bought from the food truck on the corner. I am there again and I am connected. I have gone from determining the style of the painting in my art-history-class-cluttered memory to the front steps with the sun on my face and a springtime breeze at my back. My own personal memory and experience bring me even closer to this work of art
And it is beautiful.
I stand before this painting and keep looking. I keep counting the ways in which I’m falling. We have only just met, but I feel as if we have known each other for years, as if it has always been there.
This painting is so familiar to me, like an old friend.
I think about where I would hang this painting and which room it belongs in. Because it does belong, right? I imagine it will hang on the wall adjacent to my front door for all to see. Every person who enters will be struck by its incredible detail and it will become the focal point of not only the room, but the entire house! It will hang there for years and I will feel the need to stop and stare, again and again. It will be one of my most prized possessions and I will talk about it with my children. They will point out shapes and tell me what each shape reminds them of. Each of us will talk about our favorite colors in the painting. I will explain the process entailed and the value of the painting. I will dust it and care for it. It will be home. And one day, my children will inherit it.
Its value is far greater than the number on the price tag that I haven’t even looked at yet. But honestly at this point, it doesn’t really matter. As long as I don’t need to refinance my house, this painting is coming home.
And I have fallen.