Thursday, May 08, 2008

Matching Your Soul - How to Buy Art

Bring Me My Kitty Treats... Now, © 2008 by Jeane Vogel
22x22, $300
See it at the Soulard Art Market Photography Invitational, opening May 15

It happens every once in a while. A woman will walk into my booth or my studio with paint chips and fabric samples.

"What do you have that matches this?" she asks.

Every artist cringes a little when she hears that. It means that the art is a decorator accessory, not a statement. It's not that we artists mind that much, but we want our work to be so much more than a pretty picture that picks up the color of the cushions.

This year I added a line to my artist statement. Most people ignore it but a handful have made it a point to cheer. It reads: "Art should match your soul, not your sofa."

Art doesn't just hang or your wall or sit on a shelf. Art demands a relationship. What do you bring the work? What does the work say to you. Does it make you think? Does it make you remember something? Do you have some sort of reaction? Are you inspired or repelled? Does your impression change over time? Can you have a conversation about it?

Next time you're walking around an art fair or gallery looking for something new, pay attention to the work that speaks to you. THAT's the one that will match your sofa, because it matches your soul.


thorngren said...

I am dealing with this from a potential buyer, who wants me to drive the painting to her house to see if it matches. I am so angry.
Right now I am avoiding her calls. She doesn't deserve my work!

Hilary said...

Ha! This doesn't really bother me, I don't think. I mean, if it's really only about matching the sofa or the drapes, then I guess it's a little silly, but truly, what do I care? (This is the I-need-a-new-roof-so-I'll-take-what-sales-I-can-get me talking, probably. I wish I were in the financial position to be able to avoid buyers on principle!)

And I might be guilty of it myself, a bit. If I like much of an artist's work and I see one piece that has a palette that goes with my living room (or bedroom or dining room or kitchen) I might pick that one. I am drawn to those color schemes. That's why they are in my house already. For me its not solely about matching, per se.