Thursday, May 28, 2015
Why DON"T people buy art?
It's not easy selling art quilts, is it?
At least I've not found it so....I thought at first that people don't buy fiber art because they think it's more difficult to clean - or will gather more dust....of course neither is true. Think of a "dream catcher" - nothing catches more dust than one of those! And how often have you laundered a calendar or a poster?
Having visited several different homes recently - new acquaintances, I think people simply don't buy art at all. Perhaps the odd poster, or dust ( sorry, dream) catcher...but not real art. Even the tallest walls are depressingly empty, around the windows might be fancy drapes with succulent valances, on the floor, beautiful Chinese or Persian rugs, quartz in the kitchen and the most luxuriant fittings in the bathroom...but no art. Why not?
Why don't people buy art?
Like everything else there are probably lots of reasons but some of the chief ones I've come across are:
1. Money: Real art (i.e. not a reproduction) is seen as being too expensive. And quilts certainly are expensive - the amount of time it takes to make one, if truly reflected in the price, would make them monumentally expensive. Nearly as much as a tv, or a computer, or a year's supply of phone cell coverage or a few month's worth of eating out. And we know how much more important THEY are!
2. Supply and Demand: There are a lot of objects and services out there competing for money. There are all those expensive electronics to buy and then their service plans, and the extra insurance we all need these days (though sometimes I REALLY wonder about that!). There are a LOT of things we can spend out money on!
3. Hidden value: Few see the value of owning art. You never see people comparing the paintings or wall textiles they've bought. At a social event, frequently everyone is whipping out their smart phones (very smart most of them because they make people feel instantly better about themselves for owning one!), or their iPads, trooping out to look at the new car ...and I'm sure in some places, their artillery! but rarely do you hear "oh you must come and see this wonderful art quilt I just bought".
Have you ever seen a tv program about owning art? And yet look at how often all those other products are seen in adverts: the cars, the computers, the clothes, the fancy houses, even the recreational drugs to be taken in the bathtub! Society as a whole doesn't value art probably, in part, because big business isn't out there advertising it!
4. Fear of looking foolish, uncertainty: It's easier too to judge the cost of a car - if it's bigger and faster and shinier then we know it's worth more. Hard to judge that with art work. People are unsure of the value of a piece of art - whatever medium. They worry that others might think they've spent too much, that they've been taken for a ride (and not in a big, fast, shiny car!) The average perception of the value of something called a quilt is based on Walmart prices...craft fair prices.
They're worried that they're making a mistake, they don't know whether or not they'll still love the piece in a year's time... If you think about it, it does take quite a lot of guts to drop a grand on something that you're unsure of. That's a lot of money for most of us to justify spending. And most art quilts cost even more than that: in a show like Quilt National, I bet there are very very few pieces that are not well over a grand.
5. Lack of knowledge: most people have absolutely no idea how much a piece of art can enrich a room, how it can simply make you feel good to look at it. When we make our art quilts we feel very good! We've pulled it off, we've got our idea out there...in reality. That's a great feeling for us. But will it make others feel good to look at it, will it enrich Their lives as well as ours in having made it?
Is that so...and can we convince them that it is so?
6. Unconsciousness of the continuity that owning art work gives you. this is especially true for those of us who have moved a lot in our lives...every time we've moved the first things I have unpacked and hung are the paintings and hangings; immediately our surroundings become home. The dearness of the familiar composition is something that's hard to convey unless you've done this.
Alas, knowing why doesn't really help the cause....every art quilter I know has a cupboard full of the beautiful creations, all rolled up.....
how do you feel?
And, if you have been, thanks for reading!! Elizabeth