Whether you, yourself are a photographer, or simply an art enthusiast, we all must admit that there are certain things about the art world that are incredibly frustrating. Some of those things are the myriad barriers that stop us from enjoying artwork. I’m not sure where this problem comes from, whether it is born out of a sense of elitism or perhaps the demand simply isn’t high enough to make it easy to purchase art.
Whatever the case may be, let me tell you about some of my frustrations when it comes to enjoying art. If you are an enthusiast that wants more art in your life, then maybe some of the solutions that I’ll propose will work for you!
The High Cost of Prints
If you’ve ever been to mid-range or high-end galleries, then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. The cost of a photographic print is sometimes astronomical, unaffordable to all but the wealthiest people. Sometimes costs will be $1,000 or $3,000 or more, and even at the lower end of the range, costs around $500 can make it so that you may buy a piece once in a very, very great while, if at all.
Sometimes the costs are tied to the name of the photographer, with famous photographers often getting much higher prices for their work. Other times, the costs are simply what the artist and gallery feel the work is worth, or what is needed to pay the high costs of producing and marketing it. The images aren’t necessarily artistically better than less expensive pieces of art, although there are instances of groundbreaking artistic vision.
So, with the cost of prints so astronomically high, how can you enjoy them at an affordable price tag? My answer is to go out in search of local artists. Number one, local artists certainly need the support of their communities in order to keep producing their work. Two, you’ll find local art that is often just as beautiful and thought-provoking as the expensive stuff, but priced more reasonably. Here are a few places to check:
- Look for local artist’s cooperatives. These are businesses co-owned by all of the artists involved, so they have a vested interest in bringing art to their communities that sells.
- Go to art shows. This is where you’ll find a lot of up-and-coming photographers looking to make their way in the world through print sales.
- Small-time galleries will often have great photographs at much more reasonable prices than high-end galleries who spend much more money on advertising and overhead.
- Check out the images at locally owned coffee shops and restaurants. Often, artists will ask the business owners if they can hang their prints up on the walls, and in cases like this, the prints are usually for sale.
Framing is Expensive
So you have purchased a print, or perhaps you had one of your own images printed for display. Now you want to frame it and hang it. Unfortunately, the costs of framing are yet another barrier that can prevent you from enjoying artwork.
Fortunately, however, there are inexpensive framing options, although some of those options aren’t always the kind of quality that you would like to hang on your wall for years to come, particularly when it comes to department store frames that can be had for a few bucks apiece. Another issue with factory-made frames is that you won’t find them in unusual shapes or sizes. That leaves you with high-end custom framing, which can cost just as much as a high-end print.
There are some other options, however:
- If you frequent thrift stores, make sure to check out their frames. It will be tough to find a collection of matching frames, but for a single image, you can often find very well-made frames that you can reuse or save in a closet until you have a need for it.
- If you don’t want to pay the high cost of custom framing, you can always make your own frames. In fact, many photographers have small woodshops devoted solely to making frames. If you don’t print many images, however, this can be a costly and time-consuming process.
- Look into alternative ways to display photographs. You can have your own images printed as gallery wraps, or you can use thumb-tacks to pin them to the wall for a more urban look. If you don’t want to cut your own mat board, you can also display your images in floating frames, sandwiched between two pieces of glass that you had cut to fit a frame that you have chosen.
There are many, many alternative framing options out there. Simply search online, and you’ll find an affordable and creative option that is ideal for your own work or the art that you have purchased.
We Believe Art Isn’t Necessary to Survive
Sometimes we are our own barriers against purchasing or printing and framing art. If you have ever admired an image, and thought to yourself, “No, buy it or print it, there are bills to pay,” then you are certainly not alone. We are, by necessity, focused on the big stuff – paying the bills, putting food on the table, and so forth.
Amid all that, it doesn’t always occur to us to go out and find photographs to decorate our homes with. Sure, many people hang art on their walls, but it is often the kind of mass-produced art that is purchased on a whim while browsing a department or home décor store.
The simple fact is, however, that art enriches our lives in meaningful ways. It is just as important to your mental wellbeing as a nice bed or cozy chair is to your physical wellbeing. For that reason, you should always make sure that you are leaving room in your life for the enjoyment of art. If you aren’t in the habit of going to galleries or art shows, then try it and purchase a piece or two that you can enjoy for decades to come. And if you have produced your own images, but haven’t gotten around to displaying them, then do so, and reap the benefits of being able to enjoy your newly displayed work each and every day.
It seems like something always comes between people and their enjoyment of photography and other art forms. Use these thoughts, and your own creative ideas, to bring down the barriers that are preventing you from enjoying the printed photograph.