It’s a situation we all find ourselves in. There’s a birthday, anniversary or celebration looming. We’ve busy lives, have totally forgotten about it and now, it’s upon us! We indulge in a spot of hasty internet shopping or pop out and grab the closest affordable thing to us… But are we happy with it? Well, not really.
It happens time and time again where convenience shopping for presents is, well, just simply more convenient! We would all rather the simplicity that supermarket shopping brings us and yes, on the odd occasion that includes me too. Now it’s not something I’m particularly proud of especially when you consider that I spend my days trying to promote the benefits of shopping with local artists and craftsmen. So what if shopping was different? What if when we looked at the calendar and noticed it was dads birthday, that we went online and found a local artisan to do all the hard work? Why should we bother, especially when so many major companies offer speedy next day delivery and a wide range of products? Well, other than doing your bit in this harsh economy to support and protect the local ‘creatives’ around you, you’re getting a unique and beautifully crafted piece that’s tailor made to your needs. Something bespoke. You’re telling your friends and family that you’ve really thought about the gift you bought them; an original work that was created by hand with care, consideration and oodles of talent.. Not a mass produced item that they may already have.
“When buying from an artist, you’re buying more than just an object. You’re buying hundreds of hours of failures and experimentation. You’re buying days, weeks and months of frustration and moments of pure joy. You aren’t just buying a ‘thing’ – you’re buying a piece of heart, a piece of soul and a moment of someone’s life. Most importantly, you’re buying the artist more time to do something they’re passionate about.” ~ Rebekah Joy Platt
Lets take out the feel-good-do-good part of this equation and just look at how it benefits you. When you contact an artist or crafter you have a choice. You can buy an item that they’ve already created (great for a bit of last minute shopping and you’re still getting something that’s one of a kind) or you can commission them to produce a totally unique piece and usually, you can dictate the budget you’re working with. That’s it. You pick up the phone, have a chat about the product you’re hoping to achieve and voilà, they do all the hard work for you!
‘So let me get this straight’ you say… ‘I ring the artisan, tell them what I want and how much I can afford and they create, wrap and post it to me or the lucky person receiving it?!’ Well, yes! It’s as easy as that. No fuss, no hassle, no rush hour traffic to contend with. Simple.
Yet, for some reason, artists and craftsmen are constantly having to persuade people of their worth and convince them that the ‘art’ they produce (in all its forms) is a worthwhile purchase.
Here in the Gower and Swansea we have a remarkable variety of talent. Whether it’s fine art or illustration, sculpture, glass works, jewellery, textiles, pottery or photography (to name but a few), we have it in abundance. I simply cannot stress enough how rich the community of local ‘creatives’ is, and it’s right on our doorstep at our disposal.
Speaking as an artist, I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to own an original piece of art. Something that inspires emotion, sparks memories or ideas and becomes a central point for positivity, pride and conversation. Paintings we see that we can’t forget. Paintings that draw us in and won’t let go. Whatever the reason behind it, we know we don’t buy art because of its practicality, we buy it because it speaks to the soul.
In an age of fleeting digital photographs, television advertisements and rolling billboards, there’s little visual stimulation quite like the permanence of painted art. An object that lingers and waits until you’ve finished looking – not something that flicks on, off or over before you’ve had a chance to compute. This is why we buy it.
Art for some is nothing more than a display of wealth or the process of adding a splash of well coordinated colour to a room. To others it’s a dream. It’s a framed conversation starter, an escape from reality and a chance to get lost. We all wish we owned an original piece of art, but few of us ever get the opportunity. In fact, few of us realise we can all own art, it just depends on how far we’re willing to venture into it. “Art is expensive” (I’ve heard this a thousand times) but it’s really the thought of art that is expensive – in reality, it doesn’t have to be. Though many people buy works with thousands on the price tag, most art is and will always be, affordable. Ok, ok, you may not be able to get yourself an original Botticelli (or I’d have a dozen all over the house) and its true that some art really does have a hefty value, but there are a million pieces out there by artists, crafters and designers that create because they can’t imagine doing anything else. Look for these people. Look for those who love what they do and know why they do it. It’s not for the money – that’s the ‘result’ – but for the simple reason that they need you to see, feel and be a part of their work just as much as they are. These people want you to be part of their journey and don’t ask you to re-mortgage your home to achieve it.
As an artist I strive to give people the chance to be part of this exact journey; to immerse themselves in the all encompassing creative process. I work and produce art that’s affordable, because it’s more important for me that everyone has the chance to buy, own and pass down a piece of art. Its an investment for the soul. I consider my works to be vibrant, bold, expressive and free, but like the multitude of arts and crafts that are produced on the Gower, what they inspire, is entirely up to you..