It’s Important to Support Living Artists

21st January 2020 4 minutes read

There’s always going to be a market for artists such as Warhol, Picasso or Kahlo as every art collector would love to add a piece from these greats. However, there are plenty of living, breathing artists out there who are producing works of great quality and equal relevance as artists from the past. Apart from having an immediate impact on their careers, investing in living artists can change the future of art as a whole. To ensure we have a constant flow of quality art we need to invest in todays artists. Supporting living artists can go further than the world of art and can affect the entire society. In this article we will look at a few reasons why you should opt for buying art from living, working artists rather than the deceased.

Help Artists Develop Their Talent

Only a minority of artists make a living selling their works. Most of them have to take waged to support themselves. Others give up on a career in art completely, faced with a lack of interest in their work. Investing in living artists early in their careers is the best way to ensure that they keep on working and develop their talent. Financial security helps artists to invest all of their time and effort into their art. This means they make more works of better quality.

Contribute to the Local Economy

When you purchase an artwork from a living artist you may not think about investing in the artists local economy. After all, artists have to spend that money somewhere and it will likely be in a local shops. Additionally, as any other small business owner, an artist has to pay taxes that are later invested in the infrastructure of the country as a whole. So when you purchase

an artwork by a living artist you are indirectly contributing to the entire nation as well as the artists immediate neighbourhood.

Invest in Collective and Personal Narratives

Artworks often communicate a story about a place, a culture or the artist’s personal history. By investing in these pieces you are allowing these narratives to be seen and helping preserve these stories for future generations. David Hockney, for example, painted numerous landscapes of his native Yorkshire that portray the natural splendour that may change immeasurably in the future. Kawaii-inspired art by Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami helped spread the popularity of Japanese “culture of cute” globally despite its roots being in Shogunate 11th century culture.

Many artists use their art to overcome personal traumas, experiences or conditions. Yayoi Kusama, for example, uses art to deal with her obsessive-compulsive disorder and hallucinations. Buying art from living artists can help them defeat their personal daemons and use art as a tool for improving mental health as well as bringing issues into the public domain that may not be possible in more structured environments.

Support Social and Political Movements

Sometimes art depicts the personal views of the artist. In 2008 American artist Shepard Fairey created an inspiring portrait of Barack Obama to support his candidacy for the upcoming

elections. In 2018 Marina Abramovic made the “We Are All In the Same Boat” poster to get Italian authorities to allow boats full of migrants to enter their ports. Banksy is known for his support of Palestine where he painted numerous murals, while Tania Burguera’s art frequently reflects on censorships and the lack of freedom in communist Cuba. By buying works from living artists who support a certain movement or a cause, you can help them achieve their philosophical, societal or political goals, widening the scope of their art.

Commission an Artwork that Suits Your Needs

Many artists are open for buyers to commission more personal pieces. If you have a specific idea in mind you can commission an artist to make a piece according to your desires. Or if you just want to modify an existing piece (let’s say to adapt the size of the artwork) you can always ask the artist to remake one of their works to better suit your needs. This can sometimes be a little tricky and needs a careful negotiation between the parties but the piece will be truly yours.

Get an Indisputable Proof of Authenticity

There are a lot of convincing art forgeries out there and sometimes it’s hard even for the experts to guarantee the artwork’s authenticity. But if you buy art from living artists you can be certain of its genuineness. When purchasing art from living artists you are its provenance.

Earn Money if the Artist Succeeds

Banksy prints once sold for £150. Jean-Michel Basquiat sold his first painting for $200. Now their works are worth millions. By buying art from living artists who are yet to make a name for themselves, you can acquire art inexpensively, profit if the artists finally make it big and show how clever your purchases are. You could end up with a lot more money than your initial investment and if you keep the piece you’ll always have something beautiful in your home. If you ever get the chance watch a lovely little documentary called The Vogels to see just how clever buying can rocket you into a whole other world.

“Buy Art from Living Artists, the Dead Don’t Need the Money”

As morbid as this quote from artist Guy James Whitworth might sound, it is frighteningly accurate. Unlike the old masters, living artists really need your support. By investing in a future Picasso, Klimt or Rembrandt, you will do everyone a favour; theartists, their causes, yourself and future generations.

Richard Veal