The Value of Art

Tina & Sophia, detail

You are a lucky artist if the work that you create with passion is recognized and accepted by society as meaningful in some way during your lifetime…or ever. How does culture come to value art? By the way, you are culture, so the question is really how do you come to value art?

I think that “love at first sight” does happen but in most cases the attraction and enjoyment of art comes with familiarity. How interesting that the roots of this word “familiar” come from family? Almost like that in accepting a work of art you are welcoming it into an intimate relationship. So much of this perception of value is learned. This is truly what appreciation is, the accumulation of value to the observer.

My nephew told me that he took his 2 year old son to a museum. He is teaching his son what our society holds dear in art history. My feeling is that having this background knowledge will enrich his son’s appreciation of art over his lifetime. He will become familiar with the language of the arts.

Paul Bloom gave a TED Talk about “The Origins of Pleasure“. In it he talks about “Essentialism”. What he means by this is that ” we don’t just respond to things as we see them, or feel them, or hear them. Rather, our response is conditioned on our beliefs, about what they really are, where they came from, what they’re made of, what their hidden nature is.” What is important here to me is that you can learn about “what they really are, where they come from, what they’re made of, what their hidden nature is”.

I feel that an original work of art carries a bit of the Spirit of creation in it. A mechanical reproduction does not have this. People perceive this value in art intuitively. That is why they will pay more for an original painting.  However, the perception of value has more than one source. This is where learning comes in. In order to enjoy something more intensely you need to learn about it. This is what appreciation is all about.

The philosopher Denis Dutton in his book “The Art Instinct” states “The value of an artwork is rooted in assumptions about the human performance underlying its creation.” My creation of an online presence and identity is to this end. To tell my story. To give friends and collectors the ability to find out about and understand where my art comes from and hopefully enhance their familiarity and appreciation with it.