A market for artists such as Warhol, Picasso or Kahlo is always lively, as everybody wants to add a piece from these great masters to their collection. However, there are plenty of living artists out there who produce works of equal quality and equal relevance as artists from the past. Apart from having an immediate impact on their career, investing in living artists can change the future of art as a whole. If we want to have a constant flow of quality art in the future, we need to invest in the artists of today. However, supporting living artists goes beyond the world of art and can affect the entire society. In this blog post, we will go over a few reasons why you should opt for buying art from living, working artists rather than the deceased.
Image by Aaury Salas via Unsplash
Help Artists Develop Their Talent
Only a minority of artists make a living selling their works. According to research, three-quarters of US artists make less than $10,000 a year from their art, which is why most of them have to get a side job to support themselves. Some even give up on a career in art completely, faced with a lack of interest in their work. Investing in living artists early on is the only way to ensure that they keep on working and develop their talent. Without money or other jobs to worry about artists can invest all of their time and effort into art, and make more works of better quality.
Contribute to the Local Economy
When you purchase an artwork from a living artist, you are also helping the local economy. After all, artists have to spend that money somewhere and it will likely be in a local boutique or a grocery store. Additionally, as any other small business owner, an artist has to pay taxes that are later invested in roads, healthcare, air force etc. That way, when you purchase an artwork by a living artist you are indirectly contributing to an entire neighborhood.
Invest in Collective and Personal Narratives
Certain artworks communicate a story about a place, a culture or the artist’s personal history. By investing in these pieces you are helping preserve these stories for future generations. David Hockney, for example, painted numerous landscapes of his native Yorkshire, that portray the natural splendour that might not be around forever. Kawaii-inspired art by Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami helped spread the popularity of Japanese “culture of cuteness” around the globe.
Sometimes artists use art to overcome their personal traumas or conditions. Yayoi Kusama, for example, uses art to deal with obsessive-compulsive disorder and hallucinations. Buying art from living artists can help them defeat their daemons and entice them to keep using art as a tool for improving their mental health.
Image by Yoshitomo Nara via Hyperbeast
Support Social and Political Movements
Sometimes artworks are depicting certain political, societal and philosophical views of the artist. In 2008 American artist Shepard Fairey created an inspiring portrait of Barack Obama to support his candidacy for the upcoming elections. In 2018 Marina Abramovic made “We Are All In the Same Boat” poster to get Italian authorities to allow boats full of migrants to enter their ports. Banksy is known for his support to Palestine where he painted numerous murals, while Tania Burguera’s art frequently reflects on censorships and the lack of freedom in communist Cuba. By buying works from living artists who support a certain movement or a cause, you will help them achieve their philosophical, societal or political goals.
Commission an Artwork that Suits Your Needs
Many artists are open for commissions. If you have a specific idea in mind you can commission an artist to make a piece according to your desires. Or if you just want to modify an existing piece (let’s say to adapt the size of the artwork) you can always ask the artist to remake one of their works to better suit your needs.
Get an Indisputable Proof of Authenticity
There are a lot of great art forgeries out there and sometimes it’s even hard for the experts to guarantee the artwork’s authenticity. But if you buy art from living artists you can be certain of its genuineness. When purchasing art from living artists you will receive a certificate of authenticity with the relevant data (e.g. the title, size, date, artist’s signature…) that undoubtedly proves that the artwork is original.
Image by Gabriela Gomez via Unsplash
Earn Money if the Artist Succeeds
Did you know that Banksy prints were once sold for £150? And that Jean-Michel Basquiat sold his first painting for a mere $200 but now his works are worth millions. By buying art from living artists who are yet to make a name for themselves, you can acquire art inexpensively and profit when artists finally make it big. You could end up with a lot more money than invested, or (if you are not planning to sell), at least you’ll always have something to brag about to your friends.
'Buy Art from Living Artists, the Dead Don't Need the Money
As morbid as this quote from artist Guy James Whitworth might sound, it is frighteningly accurate. Unlike the old masters, living artists really need your support. By investing in a future Picasso, Klimt or Rembrandt, you will do a favour to everyone – the artists, the causes they support, yourself and the generations to come.