Do You Have to Be Rich to Collect Original Art?

7 Jan

Ocean Spires by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

I’ll be honest with you. We don’t know any multi-millionaires, unless, of course, they are cleverly disguising themselves as teachers, fire fighters, insurance agents, auto mechanics, or one of those people who has a mystery job that defies anyone figuring out what they actually do (“I’m a catalytic trades officer of global kinesthetic systems management”).

If we were dependent upon rich people to buy art from Steve Henderson Fine Art, well, we wouldn’t have much of a Sold section.

As it is, we enjoy an eclectic melange of clients from all walks of life and income bands, and one thing this diverse group shares in common is their delight in their individual collections of original art.

Yes, that’s it — ORIGINAL art.

Now, galleries being run the way they are, we generally don’t get to meet the folks who purchase Steve’s work via that route, but those clients who visit our studio directly or who contact us through the website have educated us in the various ways that people of ordinary means can afford extraordinary, one of a kind art.

Generally, most of them set aside “fun-money” funds, and, rather than let it trickle out bit by bit into lattes and theater tickets and white-bagged lunches, they designate an amount each month and go shopping once they’ve put enough in the account. When they work with us, we work with them, either holding aside a work until they have reached their financial goal, or establishing a customized payment plan, or creating a smaller, more affordable work of similar (but not identical) nature to the larger one that they can’t quite yet reach.

What we don’t do is make prints of Steve’s work, because his client base is adamant about owning original work, unlike anything that anyone else possesses.

Polish Pottery by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

And in that area, our non-millionaire clients are just as wealthy as the upper echelons, because the work that hangs on their walls is displayed on no other wall, anywhere — not in Steve Martin’s collection, or in the powder room of Bill Gate’s mansion, or in the hallowed hallways of the White House.

“Well, but Steve isn’t as famous as the artists whose work hang in those places.” (I can hear the sniff.)

While some of our clients do purchase with an eye to investment, all of them choose one of Steve’s paintings because it speaks to them somehow, and having it on their wall where they can see it every day brings pleasure into their lives.

In this way, everyday-people collectors have an advantage over the uber rich — people of modest means buy an artwork not because it will triple in value over 10 years, or because it can be stored in a climate-controlled vault for future trade or sale, or because their art purchasing agent advises that this is someone to keep an eye on, but because they like it.

Incandescence by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

There are a number of emerging and mid-career artists out there producing work every bit as excellent — sometimes more so — than that produced by longtime big name top guns whose prints of their originals are priced at more than an ordinary person can afford (and don’t be fooled — a print is a print is a print, and the likelihood of it being a solid financial investment is about as secure as paying the kid’s medical school expenses by selling off all of those “collector” plates advertised in the Sunday newspaper).

We all like to express our unique individuality — through the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the cars we drive — how liberating to think that owning real, bonafide, beautiful, and unique art is within the reach of all of us.


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