31 October, 2008


Self Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin
o/c, 1888
van Gogh

Early in my career as an artist I was advised to
never give away my art. The idea is to establish your value, and often people who get something for nothing hold that something to its ticket price.

Maybe one model for the uncertain economic times we are living in will be for the (established) artist to now, sometimes, gift his art. The goodwill can't hurt, and there is that old word: exposure. My own path has been to donate at least one work per year to organizations.

An artist can also give time, expertise and labor.

One of the great examples of generosity in art history can be found in the life of Vincent van Gogh. He loved humankind, and really created his inimitable body of works for our enjoyment.

Here are musicians Chet Atkins and Don McLain performing Vincent, which is about VVG's unselfish love. Find the words to the song here.

The youth here may not remember this song, but those of us in the 50 plus category will now go for a tissue...

“I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people,” Vincent van Gogh.


jafabrit said...

I LOVE giving art away, maybe not my more time intensive pieces, but it has been a rewarding experience (free art fridays). FAF has been good for marketing and helping establish our village as an fun art place to visit. What I have seen is that intent and context speaks volumes, and the value of what I do as a whole isn't something I am unhappy with personally or professionally.

I say whatever works for the individual artist and what they feel comfortable with. There are no rights and wrongs.

harry bell said...

I've given art to friends (often as presents on significant birthdays) who have supported me by buying in the past. My experience with charity auctions, however, has been so dispiriting that I've resolved to do it no longer.

Casey Klahn said...

You have a wonderful generosity with your FAF. I admire it greatly, Corrine.

They do a similar thing on the Oregon beach, where art glass balls are hidden on a certain occasion to highlight some kind of event. When I was a child, we lived at the beach and found Japanese glass floats - so it is reminiscent of those times.

I fully understand your position, harry. I take a very close look at auctions/raffles - which can many times overshadow the sales of art when that is the primary meaning of the event. Also, a tendency can exist to de-value otherwise well-established prices.

A few of my very close friends and family have some of my pieces as gifts, too.

Rita said...

What a fantastic post Casey, and very timely as well. I don't fall into the 50+ category but love the song as I've heard it many times thanks to my 50+ parents. ;)

I too have gifted pieces to family and very close friends. If I'm approached by a charity to donate a piece I always check into them first to make sure there's nothing shifty going on.

I think donating is great exposure and it gives me a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling inside. You just can't beat that.

Anonymous said...

I love giving my art out and I've given a lot to my family. I never seem to hesitate in giving anyone who shows real admiration for my work the piece to go away with. Sometimes I feel that may be why I am not rich yet..... lol

Though I can't say I have never felt a painful pang when giving out my art, I still believe it's a great thing to do.

Thanks for the wonderful post!!!!

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