They say artists don’t become famous until they die.
Considering that most art pieces purchased (either by seasoned collectors or novices) are from dead artists, this assumption seems to be true.
Sadly, a massive group of living contemporary artists are being overlooked simply because they are still alive and creating art today.
While you may have your eyes set on a Van Gogh or Warhol, there is awe-inspiring fine art being created right now by artists who are just as talented in their own right.
In this article, I will share a few important reasons you should be buying art from currently living artists.
(This article may contain affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you make a purchase)
Before we get into why you should buy art from living artists, let’s discuss why art from deceased artists is so popular in the first place.
The reason for this is because they will never be able to create new pieces of work, therefore creating a limited supply for potential buyers.
Once these pieces are purchased by a buyer with no intention to resell, such as museums, the remaining pieces are even more limited. Thus, prices continue to increase.
This is the reason for million-dollar price tags on artwork from famous deceased artists, such as Van Gogh and Rothko.
Because there is a limited amount of original work available to buyers from deceased artists, the majority of serious collectors focus on these pieces almost exclusively, thereby driving up the price of their existing artwork due to scarcity.
The work of well-known deceased artists available to purchase is significantly decreasing due to more and more late artists’ work finding forever homes in permanent collections or a museum.
Paintings by great artists like Rothko and Van Gogh appear less frequently for sale in the art world today. When these scarce paintings do emerge, they sell for millions of dollars.
It’s clear that the rarity of owning a piece by a famous dead artist is what makes the practice of buying deceased artists’ work so commonplace in our society.
While there may be a widespread desire to purchase pieces from these renowned artists, modern-day creators need the support of the art market in order to grow to their full potential.
These modern artists create pieces that have just as much beauty and value but rarely get the same recognition.
Purchasing contemporary artwork from living artists versus deceased artists should be your top priority. Here are seven important reasons why:
1. Helps Current Artists to Further Develop Their Talent
Many of today’s artists are required to work additional jobs to compensate for the lack of support from art collectors.
When buyers purchase from living artists, it allows them to pursue their passion and expand their knowledge and skill.
Because of this, they will be able to produce pieces of greater and greater value over time.
In order to keep a talented, upcoming artist motivated and working towards their career as a professional artist, we must buy their artwork in the present day.
In addition, by allowing present-day artists time to put forth a concentrated effort, they will be able to produce a larger quantity of work than they otherwise would be able to while working on their art only part-time.
2. Current Art Supports Important Social & Political Movements
Only living artists can produce new work that reflects upon our current social and political experiences in the world.
For these artists, their work is a way to express their inner thoughts and emotions regarding current events.
By purchasing their work, buyers can help support art that expresses our prevailing reality.
Artists communicate many ideas and thoughts through their works of art.
From political views to societal or philosophical views, artists are trying to convey a message. By purchasing these pieces you allow their thoughts to reach a wider audience.
3. Get a Customized Piece For Your Collection From a Living Artist
Another benefit of purchasing original art from a living visual artist is that it allows the buyer to purchase a customized piece for their art collection.
There are always opportunities to buy a custom commission piece from an upcoming artist.
Yes, buying completed artwork is convenient, but what if you have your own ideas but no talent to pursue what you want.
A great way to support these current artists is to commission them for a custom piece.
4. Living Artists Provide Indisputable Proof of Authenticity
Another issue that can arise from the works of deceased artists are imitation pieces.
Because these counterfeit pieces exist, it can be difficult to assure the legitimacy of the work.
It is an effortless task to prove the legitimacy of living artists’ work because they can provide a certificate of authenticity as well as other forms of proof.
By purchasing artwork from living artists, you can avoid art forgeries and be positive that it is an authentic piece of artwork.
5. Work by a Living Artist May be a Really Good Investment
It is a well-known fact that artwork value increases over time.
This gives buyers the opportunity to purchase modern artwork at a relatively fair price, and later turn a larger profit as the value increases.
As an art investor, you can search for outstanding work by emerging artists and purchase one or more pieces that will increase in value over time.
Can you imagine if you had purchased one of Van Gogh’s paintings while he was alive? It would be worth millions today.
Fact: Van Gogh died a poor, relatively unknown artist.
6. Living Artists Contribute to the Local Economy
Buying artistic pieces from modern living artists inevitably stimulates the local economy.
When these artists have a steady stream of income, they are then able to spend more money themselves.
A living artist is able to take their profits and spend them in other local businesses, therefore making a positive contribution to the local economy.
Buying original artwork from an active local artist raises the boats of everyone in the community.
Guy James once said “Buy art from living artists, the dead don’t need the money.”
As jarring as this quote may seem, it speaks volumes on why it is so important to support modern artists.
Being a “patron of the arts” includes supporting the artwork of those actively producing new works.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why you should buy contemporary art from living artists as opposed to artists that are deceased.
If you’re still not convinced, I suggest looking around at a local art gallery or attending a nearby art fair or exhibit in your area to discover upcoming artists.
Their work is likely to surprise you and blow you away!
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