Gwenn Seemel (who is an artist and art advocate) recently put up a video decrying the common sentiment that Art is a luxury. Her position is that we all need art and we do already spend money and time on it. So it is false to say it is a luxury.
For example, Gwenn points out that TV is a big part of our lives and TV is art (since it includes storytelling and connection).
Also consider that movies, books and clothing are a part of our lives. Most people have something hanging on their walls or decorating their homes even if it is only a poster.
People spend a lot of time and money in their gardens and lawns to create a pleasing yard. (Yes, it’s art.)
So it is more a matter of how much money we want to or can spend on art. Not everyone can afford $300 or $3000 for a piece of art but we all need beauty and creativity in our lives. So perhaps it is more accurate to say that independent artist’s works and one of a kind art may feel like a luxury.
Everyday factory art vs independent artists. Walmart vs locally owned store. You need art. It’s just a matter of how much you want to spend.
We can afford art from an art factory e.g. Hollywood since they have a audience of millions and can charge small amounts. Mass produced is cheaper. TV gives is away for free (or for your eyeballs on commercials).
You can buy a bookcase (some assembly required) made of wood composite from a big box or you can buy one from the Amish. The Amish furniture will last many lifetimes. The prefab one will end up on the curb after moving it a few times.
I recently moved and needed additional prep space in my kitchen. So I bought a kitchen island handmade by a local artisan. Pricy, yes. But also functional, a striking conversation piece and it makes me smile.
Art is creeping into our public lives. In Madison, Artful Crossings is a initiative to add art to pedestrian crossings. I have four paintings selected to be installed at crosswalks this Spring.
Art is invading our recreation. I teach at Paint Nite where people have a few drinks and paint along to instructions for a few hours. People leave relieved, refreshed, exhilarated, proud and empowered.
So don’t deny the positive impact art has on you. Acknowledge that we do need art.
Try to stretch a little in your consumption. Maybe once is while you can afford an independent one of a kind art. Attend Museums, receptions and art fairs.
How is art part of your life? Why must you have it?