Why Do People Buy Art?

All kinds of people buy all kinds of art for all kinds of reasons, which makes art possibly the most fascinating commodity on the planet. Why? Because even though it serves no specific purpose, and has no measurable function or quantifiable value, it rewards people in countless ways. As such, every individual makes their own personal decisions about what art means to them, what value they ascribe to it, and what conditions, criteria, and reasons they have for buying it. What kinds of reasons, you ask? Here's a short list of some of the infinite answers to the art-buying question:

* They like/ really like/ love it.

* Emotional connection.

* To help raise funds for causes they believe in.

* To help raise funds for causes the artist believes in.

* Investment.

* Speculation.

* Decorative reasons.

* Fits perfectly in a particular space.

* It's the right colors.

* To support the artist.

* Friendship with artists.

* Because of who the artist is and what they've accomplished.

* Because of what they think the artist will accomplish in the future.

* It's by a celebrity who got famous before starting to make art.

* For scholarly/historic/academic reasons.

* They collect a certain type of art or artist and it falls within the parameters of their collection.

* To own the "right" names.

* Their friends own one.

* They feel like they're supposed to own one because people they know already own them.

* They feel pressure to buy one.

* Because if they don't buy it now, they'll never get another chance.

* Because they think art is scarcer than it actually is.

* They believe all art goes up in value.

* They believe art only goes up in value.

* They believe art can be cashed in like chips in Vegas or Certificates of Deposit at the bank.

* Social status.

* Something to brag to their friends or business associates about.

* To show how much discretionary capital they have to spend.

* To be able to meet or speak with certain people.

* To impress others.

* To intimidate others.

* It makes them think about things they believe are worth thinking about.

* It de-stresses them at the end of a hard day.

* It makes them feel good every time they look at it.

* Art makes great conversation starters.

* To keep (name of rival collector) from buying it.

* Because it's bigger and better than the one owned by (name of rival collector).

* They hear that (name of respected art authority or collector) likes it, so they decide to buy it before anyone else does.

* They get inside information that the artist will be having a significant gallery or museum show.

* They get inside information that the artist will soon be represented by a significant gallery.

* They believe it's a way to make easy money.

* They think can sell it to someone else for more.

* They know they can sell it to someone else for more.

* They know someone who'll pay more for it right now.

* It reminds them of a special experience, event, or time in their lives.

* It reminds them of where they went on vacation.

* They met the artist and really like them.

* They think it's a bargain.

* They're addicted to buying art, lack impulse control around art, would rather buy art than eat.

* Someone told them they should buy it.

* They hired an "art advisor" who told them they should buy it.

* A gallery told them they should buy it.

* They liked the story that went along with the art.

* They like what the art stands for.

* To show loyalty to a gallery.

* To get invited to gallery special events or dinner parties.

* To show galleries that they're a serious buyer.

* To move up in the hierarchy of who gets offered the best art first.

Kristin Farr artist art

(art by Kristin Farr)

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