A while back my bud Dan asked me to run some pins over to Spoke Art, just a few blocks up from me here in the city. He had a large coordinating piece in a show they were opening that day, so I was there five minutes before the gallery opened. Once in I dropped off his merch, and took a look around the show, Suggestivism Resonance, curated by artist Nathan Spoor. It was a gorgeous collection of work, but the piece that just really struck me was The Float, by Australian artist Nick Sheehy. I feel silly saying "it spoke to me" but... it spoke to me? It just felt like something plucked straight out of my heart, and I was in love.
A while back I read an article in The Stranger by Jen Graves, titled Buy Art! In it, Graves breaks down not only the why's of buying art but also, and probably more intimidatingly, the how's. Two passages stood out to me, and I remembered them at this moment:
This is you. You want to own something that means something to you. The pleasure of an original thing is that, like anything you truly love, it attaches itself to the original part of you and builds it like a muscle, makes you feel more like you. It also connects you to someone else, the artist—but you don't have to tend that relationship, it's just there, simple, pure. You never have to meet the artist if you don't want to, but if you want to, you can ask the artist all about this thing you now have, and you will find that the artist also wants to hear what you see in it, and eventually you will both agree that neither of you really penetrates what the thing fully is, which is maybe why both of you love it so much. Let's say you have a couple more criteria: Maybe you would prefer art by someone local, someone who does not have a leg up in the 1 percent game of the international art world. And: You do not have money to burn.
Here's what you should know about what is affordable—a vital fact: Every gallery wants to help you buy something if you love it. (They are not in this for the money because what money?) Pay what you can every month, with zero interest. This is common. This is how it works. A work of art that costs $1,200 looks like it's out of reach; I know I can't spend that right now. But $100 a month for a year? How much was that last night of going out? How much was that sweater, dinner, cab ride? And you are paying how much in rent? Want a work of art enough and you will have it. It's not about affordability. It's about knowing that this is possible, and knowing you can ask to make it work. Knowing that dealers and artists want you to ask to make it work. The good ones don't care how much money you have. They care how much love you have.
So, following that advice, I asked if I could buy Sheehy's piece and if I could break up the payments over a couple months. It was nowhere near $1,200 but still more than I could drop in a single purchase. "Of course!" came the reply.
And that is how, a few months later, I have this gorgeous thing in my house. I love it so much, and could not be more happy.