Friday, October 3, 2014

Beetles and Bargains and Duds, Oh, My!

Drawing "Great Egret" pencil
You want to get a good deal – everyone does. You shop around, compare prices, and look for the best buy. If a larger project is needed, you get bids or estimates, at least you should. What you probably don’t do enough of is compare quality.

When I started my family, it was imperative that I save money and shop wisely. Being inexperienced, I sometimes chose an item based on its low price. I discovered sooner than later that my bargain wasn’t so great after all. In fact, it was a dud. Our family started calling these misbegotten finds “bδrgains.” I learned the hard way that you truly “get what you pay for.”

Your purchase may seem sweet at first, especially if you saved money. But if you want something to last, you can’t always take the cheapest product offered. Don’t get me wrong, there are quality items frequently on sale. These are the jewels floating on a sea of choices. When you find them, you should eagerly snatch them up if your budget allows.

"Cafe' Costa Rica"  12 x 12 acrylic on canvas (SOLD) prints and giclees available
On that same note, why do people expect quality artwork to sell cheaply? Yes, I’ve seen some beautiful canvases cranked out using spray paint and fingers; a sign that the artist is trying to produce something inexpensive so he can earn money quickly. Will the artwork surpass the buyer’s expectations? Will it last more than a lifetime? Maybe. Will the artist be able to sell enough “street art” to make a living? Debatable.

When we demean our artwork by pricing it alongside other bargain basement items, we reduce not only its current value, but its intrinsic worth. The education of the artist and his or her innate talent and acquired skills are belittled and undervalued; and once the price is set, it may be difficult to ask for more.

"Broken" mixed media on 11 x 14 canvas (SOLD) giclees and prints available
Just as there are graffiti artists who have tremendous talent and an obvious love for creating art. A street artist’s skill may be obvious to any passersby. People may watch and admire. They may be truly amazed at what they see. Some will see star potential and buy, but others will hesitate because of the lowly backdrop the artist has chosen for his demonstration.

In the same way that artwork presents best in a frame, the surroundings you choose to show off your wares may cast doubts on a potential buyer’s mind. Will they see a hidden gem in the midst of nearby muck and mire? Or will the asphalt and concrete be a turnoff?

Once I bought some soup beans on sale and eagerly took them home. I opened the first bag and washed the contents in a colander under running water. All of a sudden the beans came alive! Black beetles scurried to the surface trying to breathe. I was horrified. After examining the bags, I decided that several others contained these creepy crawly insects. I returned them all to the store where I’d purchased them. They gladly gave me my money back rather than allow the hideous bugs to escape.

Realtors have a saying: “It’s all about location – location!” The same is true for fine art. How you present your work says a lot about who you are and how you see yourself as an artist. Do you want to appear cheap or classy; as a professional or a novice? Image counts in dollars and cents.
(Coconut Point Art Gallery) -- Bonita Springs, FL