Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Value of Art...Who's to Say?

Assemblage Art Doll by Angie Nelson
Here's Junk Baby again...this post is her official adoption announcement....but, first I want to talk about something that has been on my mind for several days since reading about a situation over the weekend.

Junk Baby is in my Etsy shop today. Since she's my first assemblage art doll I'm selling her for less than most of the same craftsmanship listed there...not that I  believe she's inferior, but for the mere fact that the other assemblage artists have developed a following, will be producing more and are making a living in their specialty...like I do with floorcloths. Assemblages, to me, are new and fun for now. I may make more and I may not.

When I was in college many moons ago, my instructors stressed, fussed at, and humiliated us design students until we completely understood the meaning of "craftsmanship". Long before graduation, we knew if we were to pass our final project everything thing must function and everything must be made to last the test of time.

Circa 1980 college design class project..yes, that's dirt under it!
One of my favorite college design class projects still sits in our living room. I designed and made it in 1980...and, yes, it is now considered vintage. I made an A...it was my first A in design class and it finally came in my first semester of my sophomore year.  We could probably use a new coffee table now. I would actually love a large leather ottoman...but I continue to use it because I'm practical and it's still in great shape, despite two rowdy kids and a husband that props his feet on it every night.

I try always to put the same work ethic into everything I do, whether it be my art or cleaning the horse's stalls. Thank you Misters Norris, Johnson and Slack.

What sparked this post is that I saw a status recently on Facebook by an artist friend where she had been asked by someone, "what is the lowest price you will take for your (art piece)?" My friend was not as much insulted as she was hurt. I will tell you, the piece in question was a one of a kind, and masterfully created. She is a collected artist, and a named artist/designer for these world wide special collections. She was hurt because she'd spent probably the same amount of time the potential buyer had spent at work the last few weeks, and was in actuality asking less than a dollar an hour for the time spent designing, researching and painting the piece...not to mention the supplies.

If you're an artisan you understand this already. The potential buyer probably meant no harm whatsoever, but if she had stopped to think before she questioned the price, she may have been more sensitive. If she didn't feel like the piece was worth the asking price, would it have been more desirable to have, if it were actually worth less?.....Exactly. Why would she want something from a collected artist that had a depreciated value?

Given, the artist only knows how much time was spent working or painting or whatever is required to make the art, but can she put a price on the time spent thinking and planning and starting over to make it perfect? Not usually. That part is free to the buyer.

The value of art is always what it's worth to the owner, not the artist. To the artist it is a chunk of their soul -who can put a price on that? - and we always want to keep it...but we know when our hands are gripped tightly around something then we can't hold the tool of choice and create anything new...so we let it go...at a fair price, most always to the buyer's advantage.

...and in the words of Forrest Gump, "that's all I'm going to say about that."  Except...good luck on your sale my friend...you know who you are!

So, back to Junk Baby...                                            

She's signed and comes also with a Certificate of Authenticity

Today, she goes up for adoption to a new family, as junk lovers - ME - are not good parents to junk babies...they tend to push them aside when new junk comes along. Sad, really but true! 

I love you Junk Baby!

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