In June, Susanna and I started Embrace Gallery because we know the value of original works of art. We have experienced the joy of owning one-of-a-kind paintings and sculptures. We know that this art, though sometimes more expensive, is much more valuable than any factory-made reproductions for sale at the big box stores. We live in a world of fast fashion where price is very important in the purchase decision and things are designed to be thrown away instead of repaired. There are many costs to this kind of consumerism that are not reflected in the price tag. Instead of focusing on the costs, I thought it would be more enlightening to list some of the benefits of buying handmade originals.
No one in the world will have exactly the same painting. You will not see it in your neighbor’s house. Your selection makes you unique and your home unique. Each piece has its own story, the story of the artist and the inspiration behind the piece. As the owner of a piece of original art, you become part of the story.
Supporting artists and their communities
Buying an original piece of art allows an artist to spend time creating works of art that make our spaces more pleasant to inhabit. Mass-produced art is made by companies who are responsible to their stockholders, and therefore use the cheapest possible workforce. Give your money to the artist and it stays within the community.
Breaking the consumer-to-trash-bin cycle
An artist would never spend days creating a painting with low-quality paints on a low-quality canvas. One-of-a-kind pieces are quality items that you will cherish and hand down to the next generation. In the age of fast fashion, mass-produced goods don’t have to be quality, they just have to be on trend and inexpensive. Keep your purchase out of the landfill and reduce your carbon footprint by carefully selecting art that will last.
In a study I read comparing handmade goods to mass-produced goods, the authors explain that the love in love conveyance is the producer’s love for his or her work making handmade products. Love is evident in the years of work developing his/her skill, the planning and inspiration that went into the creation of each item.
According to the literature, this love is transferred from the creator to the user. This explains the indescribable difference between the feeling of viewing original art versus a print. I remember the first time I went to the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and viewed The Japanese Footbridge by Claude Monet. I had seen many prints, but to actually see the blobs of paint on the canvas–indescribable!
You may not be able to afford a Monet, but there are lots of works of art you can afford that will bring you more joy in their original form than you can get from a mass-produced print of a Monet. The Love Conveyance seems to be lost in translation.
Hsu, Yi & Ngoc, Nguyen Anh (2016). The Handmade Effect: What is Special about Buying Handmade. International Review of Management and Business Research, 5(2), 594-609. https://irmbrjournal.com/papers/1466711111.pdf