The bank issued rent checks for the apartment’s use, as they paid all the bills for food, pressing, laundry, and liquor. These the local merchants sent directly to Raymond’s very own bank officer, a Mr. Jack Rothenberg, a formidably bankerish sort of a man excepting for the somewhat disturbing habit of wearing leather tassels on his shoes. Raymond believed that the exchange of money was one of the few surviving methods people had for communicating with each other, and he wanted no part of it. The act of loving, not so much of the people themselves but of the cherishment contained in the warm money passed from hand to hand was, to Raymond, intimate to the point of being obscene so that as much as possible he insisted that the bank take over that function, for which he paid them well.–The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon
Sometimes I wonder why people buy one artwork over another.
Does it represent where you are in your life or where you want to be? Is it the design and the colors? Is it fashionable or trendy? Does it draw you in for reasons you can’t explain?
Every person has many reasons behind decisions as intimate as the selection of art. Yes, intimate. Think about it. Artwork is placed in prominent locations within a person’s inner sanctum. The bedroom, the living room, even the front yard are your own domain. They are both private locations and semi-public representations of who and what you are.
Placing something over the living room couch means putting it on frequent display. It is something you view, repeatedly, every day of your life, for as long as the artwork remains. That’s significant.
All human beings instinctively recognize that frequency of viewing equates importance and will respond accordingly. Those reactions may range from shock to admiration, depending upon the artwork and each individual’s own interpretation of it.
Artwork has meaning. Significant meaning that extends far beyond anything the artist attempted or intended. Which brings me back to my original question – why choose artwork A over artwork B?
I’ve posted things to the Wild Raccoon Market that inspire this line of inquisition. The very purple (and simply wonderful) Sacred Sisterhood of Wonderful Wacky Women is one such item. This is something that could either represent the wacky women in my life (past and present) or the wonderful women I wish were in my life (present and future). Hanging this image could say “this is who I am and I proudly recognize that fact.” Alternatively, it could say “this is who I wish to be, and I am working to create that reality.”
Another image inspiring inquiry into the purchaser’s intent is the striking and almost mesmerizing Waiting for Signs. This print contains the following text:
“I used to wait for a sign, she said, before I did anything. Then one night I had a dream & an angel in black tights came to me & said, you can start any time now, & then I asked is this a sign? & the angel started laughing & I woke up. Now, I think the whole world is filled with signs, but if there’s no laughter, I know they’re not for me.”
Since this is currently hanging over the top of my desk (waiting for it’s new home), does that mean I am recognizing that my life has begun and waiting-for-signs has ended? Or, does it stand as a reminder that action must be taken each and every day, signs not-with-standing. Is it an acknowledgement of what is, or inspiration for what should be?
I suspect most people spend very little time mulling over these sorts of questions when selecting artwork for their home or office. It’s a pity, really, because this sort of digging has a way of turning up nuggets of potential for a conversational goldmine.
In my opinion.
Take it for what you will.