Monday, October 10, 2011
Recently I had a glimpse of my own mortality. It happened after The Jane Goodall Institute sent us a short article announcing that one of the $40 Chimp Family bracelets we make for them, was the most fought after item in an auction and the winning bid was for over $400.
I called to find out why someone will offer to pay over 10 times the normal value and I was told that it was the last bracelet they had in stock, the bidders somehow understood that there will be no more… and assumed that the artist (yours truly) had died.
Calm was restored, Jane ordered more bracelets, they are back selling them at their normal price and she is allowing us to sell them to our stores now, as a way to promote her environmental work.
But, what really happened there?
I read somewhere before that over 90% of the money spent in art in America is to buy the work of dead artists, which adds zero to our culture. Think how much more beauty and creativity our world would have if people were supporting the work of living artists.
Next time you see original work that moves you, and is from a living artist, go for it. Pay no attention to salespeople trying to sell you an obscure print from a gone painter, they will try to tempt you with charts showing how much it has appreciated and predicting that it could become your best investment yet. Sadly, most people listen and buy old art, often without even liking the work. Ironically, if they pay high enough for it, chances are that they will not even show it since it will be locked up in a vault somewhere.
The lesson here is to stay away from $400 copper bracelets made by a famous dead artist and to avoid speculative schemes. Buy something because you like it, and because it is made by a living artist. This way the money you spend to add beauty to your life, it will also help create a more sensitive and creative world.
Sergio Lub, Oct 10, 2011