The Art Collector & Me
He enters the studio from the daylight sun. He is neither old nor young. He is both deliberate and slow, intent on satisfying and inner glow. With hazel eyes darting to and fro, his pockets filled with wads of dough.
He looks for art that will appease his soul; hurried and rushed he thinks he must go. There is a work that strikes his eye, but if he left it there he thought he would die.
He becomes one with this art so dear, he paces the floor far and near. Is this the art he wants so clear, to honor his life and always be near?
Here he speaks poorly with cash in hand, ensuring the artist it will be grand. Take this stipend as I make my way and perhaps I will return in another day.
Poetry aside – more thoughts below.
The art collectors: we wish we knew more. You often enter our lives with stingy cash. Paintings are a commodity to you. Why can’t you fully grasp— that every painting that leaves the studio takes a piece of the artist’s soul with it.
“Oh” you collectors; you tug at one’s heart when you negotiate for our art. You say it would look great on your dining room wall. This provides little comfort. We immediately envision a high chaired child flicking Spaghetti-O’s with deliberate aim targeting our work with disdain.
I don’t know about you, but I overly covet my art. When some pieces leave the studio in a collector’s hand, the paintings look back at me, I can hear them say:
“You would do this to me after all we have been through.”
“The wee hours of the morning we shared.”
“My encouraging ideas that helped melt away your insecurities.”
“And when you said to me, I hope you sell for a goodly sum; you may have noticed my paint ran down the canvas like tears.”
“Don’t sell me! I am you and you are me.”
“We share so much, hour after hour, keeping each other company.”
“If it weren’t for me you would toil alone, trying to be creative with a brush in hand.”
“ We both know as I am carted away there will be a tug at our hearts, that will never go away.”
And this is how it goes. You make the art and hope it sells. But shortly after you deposit the check remorse sets in. You justify the transaction, with the desire to keep food on the table. Art collectors, or as I like to refer to them: walking enigmas; quickly to utter brain teasers that are riddles in a nomenclature that only they can understand.
The right ones, the meaningful ones drive up to your studio $160,000 cars. With their collectors eyes in the ready. Their wallets, checkbooks and credit cards are well hidden. Protected from us perceived financial genius artists, that are so verbally eloquent that we would soon have them in the poor house by loading them up with paintings they did not want. When the art collector leaves the studio, the artist is left feeling that he just spent an eternity with a Wall Street Titan who knew how to cut the best backroom deal ever.
As my paintings make their way to fashionable homes/estates that I most likely will never see. I realize that at least they have the privilege of looking down from the dining room wall at perhaps at Hermes Balcon du Guadalquivir table service. Maybe a Passifolia salad bowl filled with The Florette Sea and Earth Salad created by a celebrity chef. The value of those two items alone was substantially higher than what he aggressively negotiated with me for my painting.
But yet, I suspect his dinner guests looked up at my painting with admiration as they listened to him as he regaled them of what a favorable price he was able to negotiate for such an original and beautifully crafted work of art. Knowing my painting; it was probably blushing in a prideful way. And clearly knowing that it was way cooler to be in this setting than hanging around my studio tucked in with a bunch of other paintings that at this point seem to be like a family, brothers and sisters that were hoping to gain their freedom someday.
So the artists art lives on, sometimes as a hand-me-down, and if the work is really lucky it may end up in a world-class museum. Either way the artist rarely benefits financially, but I suppose there is some solacement in knowing that his or her art hangs with the swells, while the artist sits at an old uneven wood table eating a bowl of freshly made the gruel, seasoned with the knowledge that there is always another canvas to paint, and with luck, a collector will come by with a wad of dough that he has no need for, and desperately wants to cover his walls with your art.