I’ve decided to start a new series here on the blog. Â I will share things I’ve noticed. Â I see little things here and there, and wonder about them. Â I thought about starting a different blog to house these thoughts, but how many blogs does one guy really need?! Â Here’s he first in the series:
I was in San Francisco a few months ago, and I noticed some things about art. Â I was in a beautiful high-end art gallery near Ghirardelli Square. Â The salesperson took quite a bit of time with me and walked me through several art pieces. Â Reproductions of the art in question were selling for $60,000 and $70,000. Â This was an enjoyable experience.
After visiting the gallery, I stopped to watch a street artist one block down from these same galleries. Â She was dirty, a bit rude, and looked destitute. Â She asked if she could draw a picture of me for a dollar. Â I declined, but ended up giving her a dollar after she chided me for taking a picture of her.
It took me a few minutes of reflection to notice that she was engaging in the same creative process as the artists whose work was on sale 300 feet away: making art for sale.
This made me wonder about the value of art. Â It it only display that makes a piece of art valuable? Â Is it availability? Â I realized as I handed her the crisp dollar bill that I was paying with a piece of art: a portrait of George Washington, that’s available to anyone willing to provide a dollar of value in exchange. Â I briefly considered the possibility that the George Washington portrait pointed to availability driving value, but I realized that the street artist in front of me was willing to provide me with an original for a very small amount of money.
I realized instead that the value of art comes from context. Â The salesperson in the gallery was willing to learn about my taste and sell me on the story of the pieces of art I was considering. Â The person on the street was not cognizant of the source of her art’s value. Â If she was, she would be able to charge me for the application of her talent.