Fire Water

"All of us are a little unbalanced in some way."
After watching the documentary My Kid Could Paint That, about a 4 year old girl named Marla Olmstead, who managed to sell her paintings for thousands of dollars, I decided to give abstract art a try for myself... I could use the cash. If anybody knows a gallery owner, please put in a good word for me. You can tell them I'm 4 years old if it helps sell the painting.
"Fire Water" by Jonathan Hugstad
Who is setting the prices of these paintings and why are people paying so much? Can a 4 year old really paint as well as a 50 year old Master? What role does marketing play? Is it mystique or mastery that people are most concerned with? An article called This is Not a Vermeer provides further insight into these questions in a five part series, exploring the roles of art appraisers, buyers, sellers, and even art forgers. It may surprise you to know, for instance, that the Mona Lisa was not really famous at all until it was stolen in 1911, chosen because it was one of the smaller paintings in the gallery and could more easily fit under the thief's coat. Watch the documentary The Man Who Stole the Mona Lisa for more details. But what about Mona Lisa's smile? As it turns out, nobody really noticed it until it was gone. Sounds familiar. Maybe there is a deeper lesson in that smile after all...
Is art valuable because it's good or is it good because it's valuable? 
What is the value of art? Should it be measured in dollars or delight? What is art for anyway? The video below attempts to answer some of these questions.



If pain is a part of the human condition, as the video says, then maybe so is art, a natural development to counteract the pain that comes with being human. If the value of art is tied to it's ability to help us heal and feel and shift our perspective, then maybe a better valuation would be to measure it not in dollars but in degrees of deliverance from what ails us.

The painting above was made on a particularly gloomy day in my life and although I had never attempted abstract painting before, just the act of pushing paint around the paper became therapeutic. It allowed me to express some of the emotions I was feeling and release some of the thoughts that were swimming around in my head. By giving the noise in my brain a shape and a form, it became easier to let the thoughts go.

Of course art isn't restricted to things like painting, music, photography, writing, and film. It can be anything that helps you to rebalance and breathe life back into this world. In this way, art is probably best described as invaluable. Pay what you will, create as you like. But if something is obtained purely for it's monetary value, it's not really art anymore, it's an investment.

If you want to check out some other two dimensional stuff I've made click here.