Today’s Price of an Artist’s Soul


My best mate and business partner for 20 years, Tony Graver, sent me a text the other day, with the image you see in this post’s header. Being an airbrush artist for over 30 years, I have watched him work his magic on surfaces ranging from brick walls to tree stumps to trendy bars to billboards. Jahan Mehta of Selvel One says, “Tony’s creative genius, I guess at times can border madness.”

These days we hear reports of paintings and sculptures of great artists getting auctioned for astronomical sums of money. Everything has a price, they say, and this is the reason why people who can afford it, are happy to prove that they have the heart and the mind to value creations of artists. Pricing the priceless are the appraisers who are given the task of finding out the price of a piece of art for the purposes of insurance. The fact remains that even though a painting or a sculpture may carry a price tag just because it is sold and bought like an object; it remains priceless in the eyes of the artist who creates it.

A piece of art is a result of long hours of hard work and many years of sweat of the artist. It reflects the hopes and aspirations of the artist as well as his despair and dejection. If some pieces of art have come into existence, it is because of the inspiration the artist receives from the life they live and the beauty they see in it every day. There are countless paintings and sculptures that are a result of pain and suffering that the artist went through or saw from close quarters.

If you are a lover of art, you feel great when you are able to get your hands on a piece of art, for a bargain. You feel that you have a right to own an object as you have paid a price out of your pocket. What is often conveniently forgotten is that what is just an object for you, is a creation of the artist just like a mother gives birth to her child. Hundreds of hours of labor of the artist have gone into making the perfect creation. You can see that you are buying something hard and tangible. What one cannot see in that creation is the joy and the ecstasy, the pain and the suffering, the tears and the sweat of the artist. You may be paying a price that you think is more that the object deserves, yet you fail to realize the fact that this creation is made up of small pieces of heart and soul of the same artist. You are taking away his creation, a small piece of his life. And a small piece of his soul.

This is the reason why artists consider all their creations invaluable, and you should remember this feeling of the artist when you are buying a piece of art.

This goes out to my friend Tony, and to all the artists out there who have parted with a bit of their soul in their every creation and for the art lovers who bought that piece of soul. If you know an artist or an art lover, please share this with them.

@Mukeshmanik is a Serial Entrepreneur and the M-I-C at Encyclomedia Networks, a creative agency that loves to create head turning designs made by artists.

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