Now that I am less occupied with the works of art I created for the Venice Architecture Biennale, I have the time to write a post that I wanted to publish for a rather long time.
It is about the economics of art and the role that buyers, collectors, commissioners , and patrons play in my life. Since I look at this relationship both with the eyes of a curator — who has been an art gallery director — and with those of an artist — who has moved across cultures, you will find that my perspective will shift from time to time. I will not always be writing from the perspective of an artist or a curator, but at times I will be a hybrid creature, concerned with the legacy of my works of art and how to avoid their financial exploitation at the expense of those who have supported my career over the years.
I would find few things as loathsome as for my works of art to skyrocket in price to benefit a few at the expense of those who have stood by me in the past through many years of hardship and difficulties. So, if you are a flipping collector, one that flips works of art to gain some money in the short term, I am not the artist for you. Please, go and flip somewhere else. I am not a shopkeeper who is trying to make a fast buck by turning around objects, selling them to other people who will buy and flip them for profit. That is a world that has never interested me.
If it seems that I am bluntly cutting out some of my possible buyers, I hope that by doing so I will find those who are:
a) more interested in the realization of seminal works of art and projects;
b) buyers and collectors who value owning something that only they possess;
c) commissioners and patrons who enjoy sponsoring a project that is unique and will acquire, in time, a place in the long history of art.
There is something else, I am at a point in my career in which I want to solely concentrate on my works of art, without any distractions, and finding the right buyers, collectors, commissioners, and patrons will allow me to do so.
You will find that many of my works of art are for sale on Saatchi Art at the moment, besides the gallery that represents me, because it is one of the more reputable and reliable online platforms. I chose to utilize Saatchi Art during this pandemic period, since I have slowed down my travels but not my work. It has its issues of course, but overall it offers a good and reputable service.
In the first section of this rather long post, I tried to offer an overview of my approach and answer the questions that most often are asked by buyers, collectors, commissioners, and patrons. I wanted to give you, the reader interested in purchasing my work, easy access to answers you might be looking for. I thought it might help to know each other a little more and understand 1) what it is that I am after and 2) why I only sell original, one-of-a-kind, works of art and not multiples.
I hope you will find it, if not enjoyable, at least helpful. The answers provide a clue to the type of artist I am and the type of buyers, collectors, commissioners, and patrons I am interested in working with.
This post will hopefully facilitate the encounter of two minds and provide the opportunity for a ‘moto dell’anima’ (assonance with another soul) in the discovery that we share some of the same values, outlooks on the world, respect for the works I have done with all the time and sacrifice that went into them, and appreciation for what you would like to achieve with your purchase or commission.
To sell soulless mass-produced objects is not for me. If I wanted to be a merchant I would be in commerce or flipping houses or doing some other job that was mainly and solely concerned with money. For these reasons there are rules with my works of art, enshrined in a contract with my obligations as well as those of the buyer, to ensure the works of art’s long-term viability.
If after having read this preface you decide that I am not your type of artist, please know that there are so many out there to choose from and support who might be closer to your values and modus operandi.
I also work as a curator, therefore, I assist buyers by consulting with them and recommending artists that would be suitable for and add quality to their collections. I understand the multiple nuanced reasons behind buyers’ and collectors’ choices.
Thank you for having read this preface and here are my answers to questions I have been asked in the past. I hope you will find them useful.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS TO GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER
Do you do multiple prints of the same works of art? No, I don’t. Once the sale has happened, the object has been shipped, and it is in the hands of the buyer that is the end of it all. Only one object will exist, no longer in my caring hands but yours. Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Damien Hirst are the artists whom I appreciate the least in the way they historically mass-produced and sold multiple versions of their works of art.
Why the prices are so high? This is simple, between production costs, research, travel, and living expenses, works of art have a cost. The works of art reflect that as well as the fact that they are one of a kind. In earnest, if you look at the percentage that is taken by Saatchi Art and the production and living costs, the works of art are priced in a very reasonable manner. Here is a breakdown of commission percentage and costs for your convenience, just to offer an insight.
100,000 = 1,000 shipping + 34% Saatchi percentage 35,000 which leaves 65,000 that are taxed at approximately 40% = 39,000. This does not include materials, equipment, and other costs for the production of the works of art or living expenses.
If I wanted to buy more works of art would I get a discount? If you were to buy a whole series you would get a discount. The reason is that I prefer for a collector to have a whole section of my works of art and to take care of them. I do not like to split them up. Particularly when they are a series connected by a logical thematic thread. If for example, you were to buy the whole series of Tools for Catching Clouds or Órthos, there would be a substantial discount. For the purchase of single works of art, there are no discounts.
Do you sell and work with everybody? Yes and no. I sell to buyers I like, collectors I trust, work for commissions I find exciting, and engage with patrons I respect. So, I sell to a range of people as long as they understand and are willing to take care of the works of art they buy and ensure the visibility of the works of art by allowing their participation in international shows at top-tier institutions.
How do you ship? I ship from Italy, where I am at the moment, with a reputable international shipper. It depends though. If for whatever reason I were to execute a painting, an installation, or do my printing process in New York, for example, I may travel to the printers to supervise the printing process and ensure that everything is as it should be. I would then have the work of art delivered to the buyer, collector, commissioner, or patron.
If a work of art gets destroyed will you replace it? This is an important question, one that I have often discussed in my curatorial lectures. The answer is: yes, if I am alive and, after that, if I agreed with the buyer and the collector the curatorial guidelines in the sale’s contract on how to substitute the work. If the work is destroyed after I am gone, there will be a series of legally-binding frameworks in place. It is of course easier to substitute or replicate a work of art that is made from a digital file than something made of marble that is destroyed. Although, in some cases, I have left guidelines on how to do that if it should happen. Legally, I am not obliged to substitute anything after it has left the premises. I will consider it and generally do it if they are works of art that can be printed or can be executed mechanically, with a clear understanding that the owner will cover the production costs. It is more complex and nuanced if it is a painting, an installation, or a sculpture.
Is it true that you sign your works of art with your blood? Yes, this is true. I sign all the works of art on the back with a bloody fingerprint together with my signature, the title of the work, and the date of creation. Also, the work is photographed and registered with a lawyer with the name and information of the buyer to ensure proper documentation.
Is it true that you destroy your works of art and why do you do that? Yes, it is true. Over the years I have destroyed many of them. I never wanted to keep storage facilities since I am not a museum or a collector. Also, scarcity increases value.
For example, this recent slate of works of art for the Venice Architecture Biennale will be destroyed after a few years, if unsold or not acquired by a museum. Their value will be added to the cost of the next group of works of art.
My time, all my expenses to gain my accumulated experience, my travels, my living expenses, and the hardware, software, tools, and materials I use for a work of art or a series have a cost.
Can you explain that better? My costs of living include my education (my MA and my Ph.D.), the travels to attend exhibitions and conferences, books to buy, the materials for the works of art, the software and hardware, and all the related costs to function and create in a post-postcapitalistic environment. Then there is the time that goes into the creation of the works of art. The costs of keeping a studio, a house, and paying all the related bills necessary for a professional creative environment. These are costs that many people do not factor in. All of these costs are calculated in the pricing of my works of art.
Is it true that you currently are selling time? Yes, I am currently selling yearly slots of my time. It is an experiment and I am curious to see how people will react to it. All the works of art produced during that year belong to the buyer. It can be more convenient for buyers, collectors, commissioners, and patrons to own a year’s worth of production around a specific theme. 2022 is dedicated to a project titled The Lady and the Revolutionary Parrot.
It is a bargain for the buyers and it frees my mind. At the end of the year, the buyer will get a minimum of twelve works of art or more. It depends on the type of project I am working on. I have not invented anything new, I have gone back in time and adopted old practices of mecenatism and patronage.
Do you or the buyer choose the project? This depends on the buyer. If I can realize the project I want, theme unknown and no questions asked, the year is less costly than if I were to be commissioned for a project that the commissioner had chosen from a list of projects I had proposed to them or something that they chose they wanted me to realize around a specific theme, issue, or location they were to propose.
Do you have a slate of projects to choose from? Yes. I have a long list of projects that I want to realize. Unfortunately, I have only thirty years ahead of me, if I am lucky, and therefore there are only thirty yearly projects that I can reasonably realize. As time passes it will become more and more expensive to purchase a year of work.
This is because with age I will need assistants, I will be slower, and there will be cumulated costs from previous years.
Can one buy more than a year? Yes, people can buy as many years as they wish to. All thirty years if they want. The structure is well-thought-out and flexible enough to satisfy the specific needs of buyers, collectors, commissioners, and patrons. Even if they wish to realize a really large and complex project.
Why do you sell time? For two reasons: 1) I want to spend my time doing works of art, solely concentrating on creating as my main activity; and 2) I want to realize a series of art projects that I believe are important. Selling time yearly allows me to have the peace of mind of being able to do so.
What if you don’t sell anything, works of art or time? I will keep producing works of art as I do now. The costs of today and the past years will continue to accumulate on future works of art, making them even more costly.
Perhaps, at some point while I am alive, I will finally be ‘discovered’ and given some long-awaited award for my artistic career and my acceptance speech will be something along these lines, which many may have thought of at least once in their lives but no one has dared to give: Well, it took you, bastards, long enough to realize I am a genius. I would like to thank myself. Fuck you all. Thank you very much. Good night!
WHO IS MY FAVORITE BUYER?
My favorite buyer is someone who has already decided what they want and like. They looked online thoroughly and with calm and have found the works of art that they want to have. They may have an issue with sizes, particularly when it comes down to prints or photographic prints. In this case, I am inclined to slightly alter sizes, with the clear understanding that only one print will be produced at that particular size. No other print of the same work of art will be ever done, not even at a different size. The price will not change if the size is smaller – as someone asked once. While it is relatively reasonable and easy to print at different sizes, I find that alterations in the size of paintings and sculptures lead to a new painting or sculpture. In this case, when the alterations are substantial, the work and time investment required starts to take more the shape of a commission. For example, I am not one of those artists who gets annoyed if someone wants to commission a painting with a particular color or with a set of measurements already pre-established.
On the contrary, I find it interesting and a challenge.
I find it less interesting when I am asked if a particular work of art already realized could be made in a different color or a different manner. There is a very strong set of reasons why a work of art looks the way it does. To ask to alter it means to ask the artist to alter the process of creation and the thinking behind it to bend the work to a need that has nothing to do with art and all with design and commodification. The answer, in this particular case, is always no. The reason is that art is being cheapened to respond to conditions that have little to do with art itself and a lot to do with a lack of understanding of what artistic processes are. If as a buyer you believe that a question like this seems normal and obvious to ask of an artist it means that we interpret art in a very different fundamental manner. I am principally interested in buyers who have an understanding of what fine art and artistic processes are and can distinguish them, at least intuitively, from design processes. For me, art is not made to solve a need or a decorating problem but to share a vision.
As I stated, in the case of works of art that are printed, the exclusive right of the buyer purchasing it has only one exception: it does not apply to museum or gallery exhibitions. The reason is simple, I retain the right to alter and produce previous works of art in different contexts and adaptations for museums and gallery exhibits only, not for further commercial purposes. For example: if I realized a photograph at 67 cm. x 100 cm. and sold it, I reserve the right to create a version 6700 cm. x 10000 cm. or to print that image on vases or cloth, for example, to use it in a video, or project it on a wall. The reason for this is that I wish to retain the freedom of production of works of art for future exhibitions.
This will also increase the value of the original work since being exhibited in international venues, in its original form or any other form, is one way that a work of art’s value increases. A knowledgeable buyer knows and understands this. Also, should something like this happen, I always ask if the buyer is interested in purchasing the new work of art or to purchase it and donate it to the museum where it has been exhibited with the clear indication that is their donation to that particular institution. The original buyers always have a right of first refusal. When buyers decide to support a new production for a museum’s exhibition or collection, particularly if they are buyers that I have known over the years, the works of art are priced accordingly.
I always keep in mind who has supported me in the first stages of my career. This is also the reason why I prefer buyers who will allow museums to borrow and exhibit works of art, who feel as invested as I am, and who have the intention of being part of my journey.
My ideal buyer is someone that enjoys my works of art, but who also understands that they have a responsibility towards the works of art themselves in ensuring their visibility, when necessary, by sharing them with the world to see.
It might happen at times that even seasoned buyers are uncertain about the works of art to buy. They are unsure for a complex set of reasons: is the new aesthetic area that I am exploring worthy of support? Or, is it too challenging and it will not provide them with a long-term investment value? I always suggest getting something that speaks to the buyer, forgetting everything else. No matter the reason for making the purchase or the need that it should absolve, I always suggest to my buyers to choose something that they are drawn to or challenged by. I have seen people displaying third-rate works of art by contemporary artists as a way of confirming their status with everyone knowing that despite the amounts disbursed the works of art would not hold their value. Art is a long-term game, in my view, and what may not be in fashion today will be highly prized tomorrow, and what is considered fantastic now might be outmoded and of no value in the near future. But more than that, for me it is a piece of my soul placed on the wall to speak to people.
For this reason, I demand more of my buyers and ask them to almost behave like collectors.
WHO IS MY FAVORITE COLLECTOR?
There is a difference between buyers and collectors. Although collectors are buyers and buyers might become collectors, the main difference is that a collector will own multiple pieces of an artist’s production.
My favorite collector is someone who enjoys my work, understands its roots, and emotively connects with it. Someone that wants to have it for themselves and keep it, more than turning a quick buck around. Someone that attaches greater value to their intellectual and emotive ability to have jumped on my bandwagon earlier on, more than someone who arrives at the last minute to get something, now that everyone else is doing so. I prefer an earlier adopter and shaper of taste to a follower of trends and fads. This expectation of collecting and collection generation generally goes a long way to explain why there are some rules I have put in place with my lawyer, to ensure that my works of art have a) scarcity, b) are easily identifiable, and c) are tracked every time they change hands.
This is of course my understanding of what a collector should be. Today, this understanding of collecting as supporting is an approach that is becoming more and more common as collectors understand the importance of their role and ask to be more than just wallets that financially support galleries and artists. They want to feel emotively connected to the works of art and the artists that produce them. They wish to share an understanding of life that is embodied in a work of art or wish to share a common goal in the realization of a project, small or large that it may be, in the development and betterment of their collection.
I cannot refrain from using Eraclitus’ phrase: “One is worth one hundred thousand to me and nothing the masses.” It is not an elitist philosophical approach, as interpreted by a large part of the Anglo-Saxon scholarship that has reduced and vulgarized a valued pre-Socratic philosopher, but it is a statement on the quality of the emotive engagement between two people. It is about ‘connection.’ It is about that emotive engagement, that goes under the name of sympathy (σῠμπ&θειᾰ in its original Greek form), or moto dell’anima (flight of the soul) that stands for suffering together or for sharing an idea and an understanding of life. It is the certainty and the emotion that arises from knowing that two people are sharing a particular journey or a passion in life.
This is why I find it important to engage with my collectors and to acknowledge the sheer joy that arises by finding someone else who sees and acknowledges my aesthetic interpretation of life and current events. If you can’t recognize and engage with my vision and my emotions as well as acknowledge and respect them, why should I engage with you? What for? Money, particularly in the age of the pandemic, is no longer a good enough reason and for me it never was.
Therefore, I would expect of a collector that they will find my work interesting, either because it fits within the material remits of their collection, or within the conceptual framework, or because they are interested in the structure of my work.
Whatever the reason for a purchase, I believe that a way to best serve a collection is through a commission. A collector needs to commission artists to produce works of art in response to their collection. I have done that in the past and I have noticed that commissioning artists generates new works of art that might become seminal moments in the history of art in addition to adding value to a collection.
The events surrounding the commissioning of the Seagram Murals by Mark Rothko and how they came about make a clear point: great art is quite often the result of contrasts, clashing, and differences that arise out of the ability, of the artist and the commissioner, to take a chance. Or, as in the case of The Rothko Chapel, commissioned by John and Dominique de Menil, a moment in which three people join forces in creating a masterpiece from what initially appeared to be a failed commission.
WHO IS MY FAVORITE COMMISSIONER?
Commissions are tricky. I have found over the years that it is better if I don’t paint portraits. There is something about my work that upsets the sitter and the commissioner. I have in my portraits a certain psychological bluntness that translates into a virulent representation of sensed intimacies in the painting. I do not paint portraits of people as they are but how I sense they are, which creates long and exhausting discussions on why I did it in the first place, where my inspiration came from, if they gave out those vibes, and if it wasn’t better for me to censor myself a little bit because they felt violated in their intimacy. It is since the 1990s that I have not painted a portrait. I just don’t want to deal with the palava of the sitter and the commissioner. In this sense, I understand Lucian Freud and his barrier of silence to avoid fraught relationships with his sitters.
Once I upset the person that commissioned the work and the sitter, the fiancé, by painting a portrait that showcased them through what I felt was the sense of their relationship. Obviously, drama ensued and I ended up not being paid with a portrait at home of two people whom I had upset by doing what they asked, in the manner I thought best, and following their guidelines. All that work and time to be paid in return with grief and upset. I had that painting hanging on my wall as a constant reminder of failure and of the unpaid expenses and time. The sitter is a body, a collection of experiences made flesh that the artist captures and renders not in its beauty but in a dramatic rendering of scars past, present, and future. At least that was what this artist tried to do.
A few years ago I saw the same couple at Art Basel in Miami and they said that they had come to realize that they loved the portrait I had done of them since it shed light on the true nature of their relationship. They were apologetic for what had happened and asked if I was willing to sell it to them. Unfortunately, I had to tell them that I had burnt it in one of my cleansing fires.
Most commissions are for portraits of people, so this limits my field. Although I am thinking that at some point I should perhaps restart painting human subjects. There is also the fact that I don’t believe in taking up commissions with too many restrictions.
I enjoy taking up new aesthetic challenges – last year I realized a series of sculptures with vegetables and strings. Nevertheless, I also have come to understand that I enjoy a certain degree of freedom and I increasingly tend to favor commissions that, like in the case of The Rothko Chapel, offer the opportunity for greater freedom, support, and trust in the realization of a project.
Commissions are a huge investment of time, effort, and emotive engagement (at least for me). It is an attempt to make two visions collide by refining expectations, thoughts, and ideas. My system of art producing is based on a process that lets things unfold and develop leading to a final stage in which all the pieces fall in place harmoniously and coherently, at least according to my logic.
A commission that restricts me too much, not just in the theme or the size or the medium of the work of art but also in the process, is something I generally avoid.
If I am bound to the commissioning process so tightly that alterations and deviations which might render the work of art more interesting and exciting to me become forbidden, then generally speaking I tend to refuse. It is like, for me at least, mutilating the potential of the work of art and its development. It is for this reason that I prefer commissioners who leave me free to follow my aesthetic creative process. There are very few people willing to trust in the artist’s aesthetic development process. I was incredibly lucky with the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale because I was left free by the curator to explore, develop, and create, following the nature and the potential of the works of art themselves.
If by taking up the commission I end up doing more than what was agreed, that ‘more’ stays with the commissioner. It is my way to say thank you but also a way of ensuring that a coherent body of work emerges from the commission and it is not just a violent imposition of rules. This is the reason why I prefer commissions to be time-bound. This allows for works of art to be developed around a theme, with the use of a specific medium or material, or by responding to a particular public or private space, during a specific time-span, leaving me free in the development of the works of art.
WHO IS MY FAVORITE PATRON?
I have three favorite patrons. One has died two thousand and thirteen years ago, from the time I am writing this post, and the other I am unsure ever existed. I also liked another patron, this one is the third, that I had in New York in the early ‘90s who allowed me to perform by sitting on a shelf in his loft as if I were a work of art during one of his lavish parties. I sat there for the whole night until everyone left. It was the best experience with a patron and the worst experience I had as a performer. To be considered for all intents and purposes as an object after a few seconds of explanations, “Oh, it is an artwork!”, and to be treated like any other object of the house and to be ignored as a human being was more daunting of what I had expected. It was what I wanted and it had worked perfectly, giving me insight into the nature of categorization and social commodification, a topic a was interested in and continued exploring ever since.
I think patronage is difficult. It demands that patrons genuinely like, empower, and invest in the artists they support. I am not here to write an essay on the malaise of contemporary patronage, but I am interested in showing examples of the type of patronage I believe is constructive and fruitful. I have witnessed patronage, and there are historical examples of it, where there was too much do ut des for my liking.
An excellent example, although it seems more of a legend, of what good patronage is can be found in Italo Calvino’s book, Six Memos for the Next Millennium, at the end of the chapter On Quickness.
“Among Chuan-tzu’s many skills, he was an expert draftsman. The king asked him to draw a crab. Chuang-tzu replied that he needed five years, a country house, and twelve servants. Five years later the drawing was still not begun. ‘I need another five years,’ said Chuang-tzu. The king granted them. At the end of these ten years, Chuang-tzu took up his brush and, in an instant, with a single stroke, he drew a crab, the most perfect crab ever seen.”
We don’t know who the king was. We don’t know if he ever existed. If the whole story has even a glimmer of truth. This is not the point though. The point is not even the methods and processes chosen by Chuang-tzu for the creation of the crab, that is speed, on which Calvino focuses. The point is that “the most perfect crab ever seen” had been made thanks to ten years of aesthetic and financial investments. The speed of art production, its immediate realization, and its standardization are approaches characterized by the greed of production in which the focus shifts from the work of art to the bank account.
It took Chuang-tzu, already an expert draftsman, ten years before he was able to realize “the most perfect crab ever seen” in only “an instant” and with “a single stroke”. But the quickness of the execution in that instant and with that single brush stroke had to be preceded by ten years of work, research, preparation, testing, exercising, and thinking. The king made those ten years possible so that both he and Chuang-tzu could reach the same objective. I guess the lesson I took from Calvino’s recounting of Chuang-tzu was not one of quickness but one of hard work, mutual trust, and unwavering patience in the reaching of a shared goal.
If the king was a mythological figure, part of legends and perhaps someone who never existed, Gaius Maecenas (c. 70 – 8 BC), from whom the word mecenatism has derived, was a personal friend of the Roman Emperor Augustus and the most influential cultural sponsor of his time.
His approach was very similar to that of the king in Chuang-tzu’s story. Maecenas was perhaps slightly more pragmatic, the works of art sponsored had to align to an idea and vision of the Roman Empire that could make a mark in the field of history. In this he perhaps merged art with propaganda for the first time, creating a conundrum that has beleaguered art and artists ever since. Ernst H. Gombrich writing on “Art and Propaganda” for The Listener, December 7, 1939, brings an interesting case in which art is used to send a clear socio-political message.
“A little known incident, related by the Czech chronicler Václav Hájek (1541), may serve to illustrate its effect in far remote days. In the year 1404 two English students of theology Jacobus and Conradus from ‘Kandelburg’ (Canterbury) came to the University of Prague. They proved to be so fond of discussion and of raising unorthodox questions concerning the Pope and his spiritual powers that they were suspected of Wyclifite heresies and were finally warned to guard their tongues lest they came to grief. The threat silenced them but could not make them surrender. They asked the innkeeper of the Black Scythe where they had taken lodgings, a certain Lucas Wlensky, to allow them to have one of his rooms decorated. When he gladly consented to such an unexpected offer, they ordered a painter to represent on one side of the hall the life and passion of Christ in all its humble simplicity, and on the wall opposite the life and conduct of the Pope in all its contrasting pomp and glory. No comment was needed. We may well imagine the sensation which these pictures caused at Prague. Jan Hus, then a young priest, approved of them publicly in his sermons, and incidentally the Black Scythe must have prospered.”
Gombrich although understands the innate danger of art being bent to other finalities which are not its own, also understands and points out the role of power in supporting the freedom for the realization of a work of art.
“But in spite of so much evidence to the contrary, power can succeed in making art its spokesman. If it is only broadminded enough to foster its growth without interfering, art in itself, art pure and simple, becomes the most powerful, the most lasting propaganda.”
I guess all of this to say that I prefer commissioners and patrons who will use their power, financial and otherwise, without interfering with the processes of art.
MULTIPLE CHOICES FOR MULTIPLE PEOPLE
In conclusion, to recap it all, I am the sort of artist who, although likes an aesthetic challenge, prefers to be free in his work processes and outcomes. There are many artists that feel comfortable with having strict parameters within which to work.
Since I prefer experimentation in my work to develop new aesthetic approaches, I need more freedom in the artistic process to explore different avenues.
Although there is merit in repetition, I feel more at home with trying something new. I believe that seminal moments in the history of art have been made by those who experimented and broke the mold and not by those who simply toed the line. If I had the money or the influence thirty years ago I would have supported the careers of Rebecca Belmore or Angela Davis.
If you are someone interested in commissioning, sponsoring, or being a patron reflect perhaps on the possibility of sponsoring a public space performance, a video, a public or private intervention, an unusual sculptural project, an innovative painting, a new media work of art, or a catalog publication. These are media that have become part of the canons of art history and that were shunned fifty years ago.
In the satirical words of Guy Richards Smit who drew a caricature of a man giving an award to an elderly woman in a wheelchair: “On behalf of the Institute, I’d like to thank you for accepting this long overdue acknowledgment of your artistic achievements and not just telling us to go fuck ourselves.” Exactly the opposite of what I wrote at the beginning of this post.
Therefore, my approach is simple: if you are a late arrival to the game, that’s ok, but to reach the point where I am at, the point where you feel secure to invest in my art, I had to spend money and time for over thirty years, both of which now are cumulated in the pricing of my works of art. There was a cost and this cost is factored in the current pricing, and costs will continue to cumulate yearly. I couldn’t disagree more with how Saatchi Art suggests to price works of art, by the inch.
I believe, like any other capitalistic endeavor, works of art should be priced considering investments, time, and expenditures. Nevertheless, I have decided to experiment with the Saatchi Art platform to see if it might be possible to achieve more of the freedom that I require to continue producing works of art.
As an artist, I also have a rather large mission statement: To create art that will shape culture for centuries to come. With such a statement it is not so easy to find collectors or commissioners who might identify with that particular goal. Nevertheless, there are people that over time have jumped on my bandwagon and have supported me in the realization of an art project or commissioned a particular painting or sculpture.
I wrote all of this to provide you (buyer, collector, commissioner, and patron) with an idea of what the fundamentals of my artistic practice are, how much I care, and what I’d like to achieve. Also, I spoke freely of the difficult act of balancing the demands of material restrictions that are part of a commission with the need for freedom of artistic production.
If you felt that through this writing I spoke to you, contact me with a brief of what you would like me to consider or with the pleasant news that you wish to buy a year of my time leaving me free to pursue a project of my own or one that you would like to choose. If commissioning is not for you, you can always buy one of the works of art you might happen to like and that is for sale on Saatchi Art.
If instead, by chance, you wish to ‘patronize’ me, well you are more than welcome to do so. I am always curious and willing to take new challenges head-on and to discover the opportunities that life has to offer.
The year 2022 is for sale here on Saatchi Art.
 Commissioner and commissionee are equivalent to employer and employee. They who order the creation of the work of art (commission) are called commissioners. The artist who accepts the commission to produce the work of art for the commissioner is called commissionee.