The value of purchasing artwork


Victoria BresnahanGeneral Assignment Reporter   

Whether it is through her colorful cow prints or ceramic work, Traci Henri loves to make people happy with her artwork.

“I was in here working yesterday and some young man who knows it’s me—but I don’t have any classes or know him—he came around the corner to where I was in here and thanked me for the prints,” said Henri, a senior and print shop university assistant. “They’re for free. I love making people happy.”

Henri said anyone can own one of her cow prints by grabbing one from the envelope outside the print shop, she said. In addition, she said she was once commissioned by a friend to create several of them in different colors for his mother’s birthday. Although he did offer to pay her, Henri said she let him take her dinner instead.

In addition, Henri said she has sold work at Southern’s annual pottery sale this past December. She sold smaller pieces such as keychains, and she said most of the work was priced under $15.

Art professor T. Wiley Carr, who has sold his artwork in the past, said whether it is an object or painting, he thinks the pure reason art is purchased is because it will be engaging and pleasurable to look at.

In addition, Carr said some may purchase artwork for the monetary investment it may incur over time. In this way, Carr said art becomes a commodity.

“Gallery dealers take a percentage; it is very common for it to be at least 50 percent,” said Carr. “then there are some art galleries who take an higher percentage, but they charge a higher amount. So, by being represented by those galleries, they are taking a bigger thing. But that’s the reality of it.”

In addition to co signing his work in a gallery, Carr said he has done “art as service” or non-profit projects. By choice, he said he affiliates himself with these galleries due to their vision of supporting artwork and bring it into communities.

Jenna Palermo, a junior and art education major, creates original prints to sell amongst potential buyers. Palermo said she has also been commissioned to draw tattoos for clients—currently she is designing a tattoo based on the master sword from the video game Legend of Zelda.

“Honestly, I usually go for money, but if someone wants to trade me something, I am fine with that,” said Palermo. “If someone wanted to give me clothes, I will make them art for that. Or a big thing to do is trade a piece for a piece.”

Palermo said she would sell a smaller piece for $15, and larger ones could be priced at $25.

“I am not going to gouge someone for $200 for something that took me two hours to make,” said Palermo.

With the creation of social media sites such as Instagram, Palermo said viewing art has become “a little less special.” However, she said she has used social media to showcase her own art.

“I don’t hate technology,” said Palermo, “I just feel like we have lost a little bit of that, I don’t know, I want to say that uniqueness. Just the fact that it is special.”

Photo Credit: Victoria Bresnahan

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