The Beauty of Original Art
"The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable.
Practising an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow."
Kurt Vonnegut, 2005
People have been expressing themselves through art since the earliest times. Although the call for cave paintings isn't quite as big as it was 10,000 years ago, the principle of decorating interior walls with artwork remains the same. The means to produce artwork has improved massively down the years, with the introduction of new media and colours, and so there has been an general enhancement in the quality of fine art painting.
Art is a pastime available to everyone. The creation of fine art is enjoyable and fulfilling, and occasionally frustrating as well. There is a remarkable pool of talent in the community; artists who passionately pursue their creativity, and submit their finished works to the general public in the hope of appealing to a kindred soul. Because art is a very personal business, expressed in the chosen composition, the individual's painting style and their subjective 'eye' for capturing the composition's essence or quality. So different art-work is bound to appeal to different people, and the choice of artwork to hang in a home reflects that discernment. It says something about you; arguably more so than the purchase of mass-produced prints from a high-street retailer.
"It's a psychological commonplace that the motivation of artists is to paint on the great white wall of death some kind of graffiti saying: I was here.
And the patronage of art comes from a similar impulse: if you can't get your name on canvas, leave it on the wall or doors of a gallery."
Mark Lawson, 2004
Buying original art from local artists also serves to support the creativity within the community, and provides a story behind each painting bought. Additionally, there is the potential for investment; that you are buying the work of an artist who may one day become established, whose work increases in value over time.
It is little wonder that exhibitions and art fairs attract art lovers and investors alike. Limited edition prints have their place, of course, supplying the artist's signature to personalise the print. But nothing quite beats the actual original painting, and events such as the annual Cheltenham Open Air Art Exhibition provide a wonderful opportunity for the acquisition of originals at very reasonable prices.
"Art's deepest urge it to trap fugitive vision and passing sensation
- elation, horror, meditative calm, desire, pathos -
the feelings we have when we experience life most intensely,
before routine, time and distance dull the shock and veil the memory".
Simon Schama, 2004
Many art-lovers find themselves collecting the works of their favourite local artists as the years go by. They look forward to the week when 'their' artist will exhibit once again. Perhaps they are also tempted to commission that artist to paint a particular scene or portrait. Again, this is an aspect of the local art scene that is more personal and involved than mass-produced prints.
Finally, it is fair to say that fine art continues to flourish despite the media's concentration on the shock tactics of the modern 'pop' artists. There has always been the need for representative art, even after the historic introduction of photography seemed to threaten the whole genre. Perhaps that is because art presents the personalised eye on the world. From the earliest daubing of limestone walls to the intricate detail of modern fine art, it will always retain its human value.
Andy Lloyd, July 2004
"It needs artificial light. Like most good portraits. In print as well as on canvas".
Gore Vidal, "The Golden Age", 2000
"No lies he wouldn't
No junk no bits of string
And all the lies we subsidise
That just don't mean a thing
I've got to say he passed away in obscurity
And now all the vultures are coming down from the tree
So he's going to be in the gallery"
Dire Straits "In The Gallery", 1978