About buying other artists’ art
Despite having said that I wasn’t going to do any more exhibitions this year, I have signed up to be a part of a pop-up show in Leatherhead, Surrey until the end of the year plus a local authority-run thing, which I am still not quite sure what I have agreed to do, but with the pop-up we are all taking it in turns to staff the exhibition.
Last Saturday was my turn and despite it being Ladies’ Finals at Wimbledon, a blazingly hot day when most sane people avoided the shops and one of the weekends most schools were running their summer fetes, we had 89 visitors. Folk popped in to see what we were up to; we are new and something different for people to see so it gave me the opportunity to chat to them.
I was asked three times on Saturday if I ever buy other artist’s work. The answer is yes, absolutely I do but I would like to expand on that as a couple of those people said that if I already create artwork myself why would I buy other people’s work?
As I have advised here so many times and do so when I speak to people at art fairs, always buy work you love. There is no exception to this. If you don’t like it and you are buying it because the colours would work in your space or you have heard that the artist is old and their work could increase in value when they die or simply you are being pressed to buy by a pushy gallery assistant, or the artist themselves, don’t. The work you buy will sit on your walls and you will see it every day, so why would you set yourself up for a bad day by looking at something you don’t like?
So, why do I buy other artists’ work? A few reasons, really. Firstly, I do have to love it. I have so little space to hang work that only things I truly love make it through the door.
Colour is normally the thing I am drawn to first. Hardly surprising as colour is what I’m known for first and foremost so combinations which I like, find interesting or haven’t necessarily seen before, are what draw me in. Although I am known for loving bright colours, I do love calmer, more subtle hues, too.
In the case of these two lovely little etchings by my late uncle Barry it is the minimal use of colour and a more tonal approach to his subject which drew me in. Add in that the inspiration for much of his work was the beautiful island of Guernsey, where he lived for most of his life and I visited many times as a child, and the connections for me are multiple. Colour, tone, love of place and love of and huge respect for such a talented man.
A recent purchase is this work by Mark Munroe-Preston. With this piece it was colour first, turquoise being one of the colours I love to use in my work, facing into purply blue, something which I may investigate further and then the copper and yellow colours which I haven’t put together, this piece just jumped out at me. The almost verdigris elements in the bottom middle are also beautiful to look at, too. I love nature and oaks are amongst my favorite trees (we now own a piece of ancient woodland full of beautiful oaks) and, finally, an unusual element.
The work is on aluminum. The artist photographs trees, here clearly in the wintertime, pick his favourites and puts them into Photoshop (other image editing software is available – Ed) and plays with colouring the images until he is happy. He then sends the files to a company who print them onto aluminium. He does produce work in series and the same image can be purchased in different sizes, which feels a bit like buying a super expensive print, but I was feeling rebellious, and I wanted to buy myself a gift so thought to hell with it and bought it. It now sits to the right of my desk, so I do get to enjoy it every day.
Another recent purchase was this painted sandstone piece call The Koru. The artist is from New Zealand, and she said that it is a piece of Māori art. This spiral shape is based on the uncoiling of a new silver fern frond. The Māori believe that this symbolises positive change and awakening and it represents new beginning, growth, strength peace and love. This shape is integral to the Māori peoples, appears on carvings and is often used by them in tattoos.
The piece really stood out to me when I visited the Talented Art Fair at Brighton Racecourse. I just had to have it. For those of you who know me personally this symbol has come to me at a time of great sadness and in the middle of years of trying to resolve family issues, which will likely run for some years yet, but having this piece just made me feel less stressed. I need less stress in my life.
The next piece I am going to share with you from my recent hoard is this wonderful work by the equally wonderful Stephanie Thompson. I have loved this piece for some time but wasn’t able to afford it until recently. I know that the way I see the piece is not how Stephanie painted it, but it doesn’t matter. I know what she is trying to reflect; I just happen to see it differently. I particularly love the dark elements of the sea and the moody grey sky. It speaks to me of something deep, hidden, unearthed and slightly frightening. What is lurking in the depths of those murky waters? It sets my mind racing and every time I look at it, I see something new.
The final artworks I am going to share were a gift from the gorgeous Anne Armes. These two pieces are small but powerful. Her use of colour and tone is beautiful, and the words – half legible, half hidden – give a secrecy to the pieces which is exciting. What exactly do those words say? The unexpected use of yellow/orange is genius. I would never think to put those colours together. So subtle and so beautiful. They are due to join the other pieces on my office studio wall for me to enjoy every day. Lucky me.
NB Just for the record, I do not get paid to endorse any of the people or brands I have mentioned above. These are all products that I use and genuinely believe in and people I truly admire.
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By Anne Armes