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Why do people buy art? Top 5 reasons

This was a hot topic among artists and buyers who thronged last weekend at Bath Art Fair.

So I thought I'd delve a little deeper, having been both a seller and a buyer there it intrigued me, 'why buy art'?

pictured above - Chloe Elliott Schmid paintings and Dyffryn Glass at Bath Art Fair 2023

I mean it's 'just' a painting right? so why do I, and billions like me spend our hard earned cash on 'just' a painting?

#1 Emotional response

the main reason. From promoting a feeling of contentment and stillness, to evoking a memory. Connecting to a feeling seems to be the reason that most people buy art. Have you ever seen at a piece of art and thought: ‘I need that because it makes me feel xxx? It's an emotional reaction. When art makes you feel something or remember something, that's the best reason I think for buying art. For me it's an exciting when that happens, and I know I want more of that feeling in my living room and life.

#2 Investment

sometimes people will buy art because they have been told it will increase in monetary value, but in my opinion art is not real estate. It belongs on your wall in in your heart. Not in a vault. Also ... there's a herd mentality about buying 'the next big thing' that doesn't sit easily with me. Ask yourself, who is benefiting from this? see point 5 below.

A painting I bought because of an emotional response recently does have the added benefit of being an investment. I imagined my children and grandchildren growing up seeing this painting in our house and associating memories with it. One day it will hang in one of their homes - my kind of investment.

#3 Love of art

for some people purchasing art for the love of art is enough. They fill their homes with beautiful art and objects. It makes them feel how, and who, they want to be.

#4 For impact

Some people like to buy art because it makes a statement. They buy because the art is controversial, different and interesting. Sometimes people buy this type of art to start discussions or make a point.

#5 Supporting artists

I love visiting graduate shows and local art shows and buying a piece from artists who are in the early stages of their careers. Speaking as an artist, it's the most incredible life changing event, to sell your first painting. Buy buying from an 'emerging artists' you are funding their development and potentially their ability to affect thousands of peoples lives for the better. Prices at local art shows and graduation shows tend to be very reasonable too, so they are a great place to start or grow your collection.

"'[Art] has always been a stable nourishment. I use it.It can change the way I feel in the mornings.." – David Bowie

Art fairs are great places to buy art. You get to meet the artist, talk about their works, see many, many different pieces and hopefully find a favourite piece to take home

We bought two pieces of art at the weekend. One because we thought it was the best piece in the show, we both were drawn to it and we could see it in our home, that our family would like it, and that we could look at it and be entertained. Also it was piece painted by a former student of mine (@sarahheatherart) and had that history. The other painting, more my decision, I bought because it immediately reminded me of a trip my husband and I had taken several years ago.

Here's one I bought at Bath Art Fair from Paul Browne

Interested in starting your own original art collection?

You really don't need an analytical reason to buy art. It doesn't need to match the wall paper, it doesn't need to be a popular artist featured in magazines. All that matters at the end of the day is that you love it. And that's not something that can be categorised.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about why you buy art, leave a comment and let me know.


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