The perception of value

For the past 2 Sundays I have had a Great Art Giveaway – I literally gave away my art and people could put an anonymous donation in the pot if they wanted. I shifted more pictures and made more money than I have in the past 2 or 3 years of selling my art.


I opened my picture storage cupboard and thought to myself  ‘I can not paint more pictures just to stay in a cupboard”. I closed the door, walked away and did not paint for months.

The urge to paint is there but the will is not. I am not showing in a physical gallery and have now left the online galleries due to their commissions, ‘special offers’ and ‘discounts’ (which the artists have to suck up and shut up) and the plethora of really poor, low priced art flooding the market. I am tired of it so just show my work in local group shows and at my own open studio so I have no incentive to keep being creative.

My thinking behind the Great Art Giveaway was to clear space in my cupboard and in my head. While I have pictures cluttering both, I have no desire to create more.

So, I put out all of my older work, the ‘end of lines’, those pieces that were part of a collection or body of work which is in my past, on the floor in my pop up gallery at home. ‘Help yourself, put a donation in the pot if you want’.

I would rather those works were on someone’s wall than sitting in a cupboard so I’d be happy to give them away. Of course I am, as usual, totally skint and we have vet and dental bills and are saving up to record an album with Milton Hide, so donations were very welcome. And people were generous, practically everyone leaving something in the pot.

So, does it work, letting people put their own value and worth on a painting? It seems to. Has it de-valued my art? Well, the total I got in donations was far less than what the pictures were originally priced at but I got something, I cleared space, I saw people enjoying my art and am happy in the knowledge that those works of art are now ‘out there’ and not hidden away. That’s raised its value dramatically in my opinion. All of the pictures in the giveaway had their original price so people know what a bargain they got. My latest works and my future works will be priced as usual – time will tell if those will sell. But in the meantime, they’re going back in the much clearer storage cupboard until I feel the incentive to exhibit again.

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