You might have heard that in November a "long lost" Leonardo da Vinci painting sold at auction for $450.3 million. As astounding and kind of awesome as this is - what about the rest of us with normal size pocketbooks? And what about living artists who lack the accumulated status of centuries? Is art only a commodity for the super rich or is there an intrinsic value in acquiring original art?
Let's start with two qualities that distinguish visual art (such as painting and sculpture) making it unique among other art forms. The first is that it is the handmade original incarnation of a piece - it is the handwritten manuscript by your favorite author, so to speak. Somehow the published draft with all the handwritten red ink notes buried underneath. Visual art is the actual scene of the blood, sweat and tears the artist put in to perfecting the piece.
The second, is that it lasts. Unlike a live drama or dance it doesn't exist only in one moment in time. It is permanent and yet never looses it's power or spontaneity. It is the labor of rehearsal and final work in one - a single movement suspended in elevated stillness.
Think of an original piece of art in your home as having your favorite song played live by your favorite musician in your living room - except it is always the first time and you never tire of it. Is the physical texture of music, the entire song and a single stirring sound.
What's more - and most important is in any moment of openhearted viewing you step in to the world of the piece - that place of stillness and movement - and feel your own profound wholeness. That you are the protagonist of your own unfolding drama. Hopefully, you have a wordless flash of it all making sense, all your wrong turns and heartaches, all being Ok - all part of the skillfully designed plot of your life. Hopefully, you also have a flash of your own beauty inextricably tied to the beauty of the present moment.
Imagine starting your day off with that experience every day! That I believe is an experience worth having, an investment worth making.
What kinds of experiences have you had with art? Do you ever consider yourself the star of your own story? How does that affect your actions?
Please comment and share with your friends! I'm always looking to expand these conversations.