A right to beauty: Buy my art, but only if you can
For a few months now I have been thinking about the impact of art in our lives. What is the purpose of making art, why should you buy art and how should your experience of art enrich your life?
Beauty is a right. Its benefits; joy, intellectual challenge, a sense of controlled order in chaos and pleasure, should not be the preserve of those who can pay for it. This question of willingness to pay versus the ability to pay is an interesting one in the current circumstances.
Some of you know I have been part of an economics book club, I am trying to use this to re-think the structural foundations of economics and therefore our society. Some of these ideas are shaping my thoughts on this. We are all questioning the role of capital as a store of wealth, a form of distribution, a key to unlocking entrepreneurial potential and insurance of welfare in old age. I am not sure I want that to be the only purpose of my work. I would like my work to bring joy, inspire the viewer to live up to what they could be, a kinder, more generous and courageous human who tackles injustice big and small. I want my work to remind the viewer that they have inherent dignity which cannot be bought or sold.
I have been thinking about my role (and duty) as an artist:
to make beautiful things or experiences,
to provoke thought and prick consciences,
to create spaces for conversation and encounter,
to shape a positive vision of society,
to pass on something worth having, culturally, to the next generation
to amplify good,
Some conclusions at the moment are as follows.
If you love a piece of my art, but cannot afford the suggested price then pay what you can and I will send it to you. This work cannot be resold in the future and must be donated or freely gifted.
Those who can pay the suggested price or more, will do so with the right to re-sell, knowing they are funding not just the continued creation of this kind of work but also supporting a specific value system. You will know that buying a work supports all the hidden costs of making art; artist materials, putting on shows, the time to train in and research techniques, joining residencies and hiring a studio etc. In addition, you will be supporting community art workshops and projects as well as works donated for charity fundraising.
There is a direct opportunity cost of spending time in work for sustenance, that time could be better spent on making meaningful and important art. You will be supporting my independence to make work that is critical and holds an unapologetic mirror to society.
I am writing and making political art. I am building structures to support more equitable socio-economic systems that are resilient and prioritise the most vulnerable members of our human family while respecting the planet. This takes time, energy and resources, your support makes this possible.