The real incentive to progress has been – and always will be – a desire to self-improve. This has little or nothing to do with the simple satisfaction of basic needs like food and shelter. Today, basic requirements in the modern world are much more sophisticated. The millennial family, living in a big house with electronic gate, art, a dish washing machine and luxury car, have a domestic infrastructure that would make a sixteen century person gasp were they briefly reincarnated.1 Buying art is a highly and emotionally satisfying practice, and here are 5 good reasons why:
The feeling you get when you know it’s original
Original works of art have a certain energy about them that reproductions and mass-produced decorative items simply don’t have. Perhaps it’s the pleasure of buying something timeless. You know just by looking at it that you have a clear sense of the “hands of the maker”, that another human being made it, not a machine. You know there might never be another one like it, ever.
Self-love (which makes it a wonderful gift)
When you buy art, you buy it for you. We dream of luxury because luxury is self-transformative and self-love at its highest level. What better way to self-indulge, after months of hard work, than to buy art and express yourself? Art allows those who own it and the artist who creates it, to represent their beliefs, feelings, hopes, convictions and philosophies visually. Whether your taste is classic or avant-garde, there are plenty styles; modern, contemporary and pop art; and they all come in various themes, from social commentary, politics to environmental commentary. A person who believes in the empowerment of women or is a feminist, which is both social and political, might choose to cover their homes with artworks created to uplift women like female soldiers (below). It is about appreciating some of the finer things in life, in which case it’s appreciating yourself and African stories if you are a collector of African art. Contemporary art is the best genre that tells current stories as they happen now, like the painting of Marikana Widows below. Nowadays you can even buy contemporary art online at your own convenience.
Art Makes You Feel Alive
We’ve all been to those bare-walled mansions and townhouses that are cold and unwelcoming. Art revives lifeless interiors- homes as well as businesses- and transforms them into unique, beautiful and engaging environments. Buying art doesn’t just offer a sense of community, it engenders feelings of success, cultural and social distinction. Some say that it even fills a spiritual void. The term commonly used by collectors, however, is that buying art gives them a “high”2
Art commands respect for the people who own it
It is true, a work of art reflects and sometimes even magnifies the personality of the individual who owns it. The impact of an impressive personal art collection can be likened to that of a great museum, and certainly increases the esteem of the owner among their peers. In fact, many of the great personal art collections either end up in museums or become museums. These museums are frequently visited by South African tourists in Europe or America and are starting to be built in South Africa like Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town.
Pleasure or investment
Those who are so inclined realize that art is a tempting investment. Star-studded events like the FNB Joburg Art Fair which attracts thousands of collectors from all over the world makes it harder to resist a purchase with an investment in mind. But before you go on a wild shopping spree, it’s important that you understand the purpose of your purchase. If it’s purely for pleasure, the artist’s profile does not matter, but, if you choose to buy for pleasure and investment with the potential to auction the artworks in future, you should buy right and know what you are buying. Find a gallery or online art specialists or visits art fairs to know which artists to buy. And as the saying goes, “You live but once. You might as well be amusing”.