The value of art


The thing is – we can’t help it. As a species there are many things about the way we behave that might want us to hang our heads in shame. A wanton disregard for the welfare of each other, the planet and a love of conflict have plagued our history. Of that there is no doubt. But one of the unifying things has been the need of mankind to make a mark to celebrate aspects of life.. Whether it be on the wall of a cave, the shimmer of a papyrus roll, the plaster ceiling of a Vatican  chapel, a cheap canvas from The Works, the wall of a London building, a sketchbook, a piece of wood……… something impels us to create a visual impression of the way we see and experience the world. Some may call this art. But the thing is – as soon as you name it, you draw a line between those who can do it and those that can’t. The very way we speak about art emphasises that false distinction. It becomes something to be revered, either from a point of view of cultural snobbishness, or decried, as much of contemporary art in recent times has been. And all of this, matters as much as the breath on a frosty windowpane for what matters is the work itself, not what we think about it. Banksy’s work is valued by many simply because they have heard of him. He has become a “celebrity” artist, in this  media-governed world we inhabit. His work is valued by some others because of its financial worth, to the point where the wall upon which it is painted is cut out and mounted, ready to be shipped to the highest bidder. So when I am asked to put a price on the head of one of my paintings, due to be exhibited soon at the Tullie Museum in Carlisle, its hard. Do I say not for sale, or do I bite the bullet and come up with a price, and if so how much?


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Left with the use of my left arm/hand only, after a serious motor cycle accident in 2005, I am learning to adapt to life with a brachial plexus injury and have developed a style of playing guitar using open tunings. I love drawing, painting and generally messing around in a fairly loose fashion. Can't describe myself as an artist, but perhaps a doodler with intent.

3 thoughts on “The value of art”

  1. Good piece, Keith. My Dad, who is a sculptor, realised he had been getting his pricing all wrong for decades when he was offered a commission he really didn’t want. He thought of a high figure and tripled it. It was accepted anyway. That must have made him think about all the money he had been missing out on all that time. But I am such a hippy manqué I think it is better that he didn’t make the money!

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