I Bought My First Piece of Art!

You like it? How much do you think I spent on it? (I’ll tell you at the end of the post ;)) I had absolutely no intention of spending ANYTHING the night I picked this up, but the second I locked eyes on it I KNEW I had to get it for my blogger den! :) I didn’t even know it was for sale at first! Haha…

But if my recent art tour had taught me anything last weekend (my aunt had treated us to personal tour of a local mansion/museum which housed a handful of Picassos and Monets to awe over), it was that certain art just pops out at us and we “know what we like when we see it.” And that was certainly the case for this bad boy. Or should I say, *watcher* of the good and bad boys? ;) And as luck would have it, it was most certainly up for sale that night!  Magically in my price range too, even though I had no idea what that was, haha… (I guess things are worth whatever you’re willing to pay for them, eh?)

Interesting thing, too – have any of you ever bought art before? Like, off the walls of a cafe or restaurant or anything? I always thought you can just take it right down and go ring it up at the register like you could w/ food or something, but (unless this place was different?) you actually have to CALL the artists themselves and set up an appointment with them to get it all squared away. Kinda neat. And after a few beers celebrating the end of Love Drop last Thursday night, I had no problem calling up the artist at 8pm and telling him I wanted his painting pretty bad ;) And also that I needed it right then as I was flying back out to DC in the morning (d’oh!). But he and his wife were totally cool! They finished up dinner and came right out to meet me, giving me a brief history on the painting too (It was created in Brooklyn 3 years ago, and then brought back with them to Milwaukee when they moved home), it was awesome.

Though, word to the wise – it is NOT easy to bring a painting on board with you throughout the whole flying experience!  I can’t tell you the number of times I thought I was gonna have to leave it off the plane cuz there was no place to put it :(  Especially during the holiday season! Thank GOODNESS I had some pretty awesome seat mates who didn’t mind losing some legroom when I had to jam it below the foot rests the whole time, jeesh… I think the fact it was a portrait of Santa helped! Haha… everyone was in festive spirits ;)

I also believe a new passion of mine may have just sparked!  I really think I can get into the whole art collecting experience. Everywhere I’ve been since picking this up, I’ve been noticing the art adorning all the walls and entrances, and keep asking myself if it’s something I’d want in “my” collection too, haha…  I can totally see how people get hooked! Not that I think I’ll have a problem with that considering how much all that stuff costs (a lot of it is crazy expensive!), but I can def. see picking up a new piece here and there as the years go by for sure… Maybe just casually at first.

The guy who owned that mansion we checked out had a budget of $200,000 EACH for his paintings, and that was back in the 60s and 70s too!  It didn’t hurt co-founding Geico Insurance, of course, but still – you gotta have one helluva budget in order to pick up some of this stuff out there… and I doubt any of my art will ever really be worth something down the road like *real* collectors either.  Not that it’s why I bought this Santa one, or why I’ll continue buying more in the future too. I just think it’ll be cool to have one-of-a-kinds on the walls that show off my own personal tastes!  And would be more than ecstatic if I could meet ALL the artists I get work from too – it really adds a whole new perspective to the art buying process. In all my years of doing it so far ;)

But yeah – I have my very first piece of purchased art now, woohoo!  It’s already hanging up right near my bookcases and fireplace too, I love it.  It just screams “warmth” and “happiness” to me :)  And I’m gonna keep it up all year long too, I don’t care what anyone else says, haha… (believe me, you won’t be the first to tell me it’s ugly or tacky – I’m pretty sure my parents think I got ripped off!).

So, how much DID I spend for this Christmas gift to myself?  Wanna guess real quick before I say?  Okay… well, it wasn’t $50… or $100…. or even $200 (*gasp*)… it was… bum bum didum… $290!  I wouldn’t have ever guessed it myself, but here we are a brand new art collector just like that :)  We’ll see what my next piece will be, I can’t wait!

Any of you collect or purchase art? What’s the most YOU’ve ever spent on a piece?

Here’s more on the artist if you’re interested: DouglasKoepsel.com/paintings
He’s got some GREAT totally un-Santa related stuff too ;) Though much more expensive…

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  1. Anon December 27, 2011 at 7:25 AM

    Um…yeah, I think your parents would be right!! Not a fan. But I’m glad you like it! That’s all that matters. Happy New Year! :)

  2. valerie December 27, 2011 at 7:25 AM

    BAS, this is valerie from twitter, my mouth hangith open. i just had to come by to see what you bought and all i have to say is enjoy it.

    i haven’t purchased any art and i only hang my own pics on the wall. how narcissist is that? well the most i’ve spent on one of my photos is $178 to have it blown up and custom framed.

    not a bad price, i thought you were going to say something crazy like $300, but you slid in just under the radar. well done.

  3. Mysti December 27, 2011 at 8:25 AM

    If you are happy…then I am happy for ya. It isn’t my personal taste, but it isn’t my painting!

    I have only bought one painting, and it was years ago, and I hate it now. I have decided that now a piece really has to WOW me before I would buy it. I have my eye on a few things….for my SOMEDAY list.

  4. Aubrey December 27, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    It certainly is interesting. I don’t know how I’d feel about having santa on my wall 365 though. But hey – Its your den, not mine and if thats what inspires you then I am so happy for you. Its Christmas, and you should be able to splurge on yourself. I havent bought any art yet, Auston thinks I’m crazy though, because I love all the abstract swirly pictures that look like a three year old could have drawn them. I think it has something to do with all the pretty colors! I also love the big blown up flowers.

  5. SmartAssetTeam December 27, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    Congratulations, that is pretty exciting to hear, especially because I am also an artist! I was lucky enough to make a few recent sales, and I was actually commissioned to make a new work for someone this holiday. It was encouraging to read your blog, we artists need more people investing in our work, and the world can always use more art. Sounds like the process of buying your painting was pretty straight forward, some artists make you sign a contract.

  6. Eric December 27, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    I like that J. My favorite artist is Michael Godard. It costs a bit more than $290 to get started with him, but I love his work.

  7. Emily December 27, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    I was wondering how you were going to get that thing on the plane! It is a pretty awesome Santa though.

  8. Brian December 27, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    I go to a “first friday” art walk most months in Indy. It features local artists. I have been tempted many times to purchase something, but then I don’t. Not because I don’t like the art, it’s more that I don’t have a place to hang them.

    The only art I have purchased in my house, we commissioned. It is a water color of a hibiscus. We had it down because it reminded my wife of our honeymoon in Hawaii and every year we have some grow in my yard (my grandmother had quite the green thumb and this is basically the only plant I haven’t killed). It didn’t cost too much, maybe $100 or so.

  9. J. Money December 27, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    @Anon – Haha, it takes all kinds to power this world, eh? :) Happy New Year to you too!
    @valerie – Hah! There’s no shame in that :) You gotta be your biggest fan right?
    @Mysti – I think that’s why I haven’t bought much in the past – cuz I won’t like it later too :( My taste changes all the time, but a part of me hopes that if I stick w/ the “wow” factor too I’ll be okay… we’ll see though, this is the first test! Hehe…
    @Aubrey – Yeah! Swirlies and blown up flowers are hot for sure – I’m right there along with you :) Whatever makes us happy!
    @SmartAssetTeam – A contract? Wow. I guess I can see that on the more expensive peices or something, but we’ll see if I ever spend more than $300 later, haha… and SO COOL you do art yourself! Do you have a portfolio online or anything? I’d love to check it out :) Thanks for stopping by! You’re totally right – we def. need to support our fave artists. Art for sure makes this world better!
    @Eric – Ooooh Michael Godard, huh? I’m gonna go google him after posting this :) Thanks man. I really wanna start broadening my art horizons!
    @Emily – Haha, thanks :) It was a HUGE pain, I’ll never do it again. (Unless the painting is much smaller next time) Just glad I now have it hanging on my wall instead of a trash bin somewhere at the airport! Or under some kid’s Christmas tree! Haha…
    @Brian – Oh cool! Yeah, I LOVE First Fridays – they have ’em all the time where I grew up, but not where I live now :( I was just telling my dad I’m thinking of driving down once a month just to go to them again :) Pretty cool you commissioned a piece! I’ve never tried that one yet… would love to though.

  10. Carolyn December 27, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    My husband and I were walking down Main Street in Ellicott City and saw this painting of a tree outside Art & Artisan and we *had* to have it. Luckily it was only $25. It’s fairly small, and painted on a piece of found wood, totally a fan of the artist now. Ended up buying a larger one for a Christmas gift for a family member. I tend to like art that is painted on wood, or has a lot of texture.

    Good luck with your future art collection!

  11. Jackie December 27, 2011 at 10:44 AM

    I like it :)

    I think the most I’ve spent on artwork was $2200 for an acrylic painting that I love. I typically spend $50-$150 to create oil paintings myself though, depending on how big the canvas is. Oil painting is not a cheap hobby ;)

  12. Edward Antrobus December 27, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    Not really my style, but congrats. Somewhat ashamedly, as one of my best friends is an artist, but I do not own any art, besides some small prints my wife got at Target. We will be buying a house next year, and getting some paintings on the walls is definitely on the the to-do list.

  13. Barb Friedberg December 27, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    Hi J., Art collecting and decorating are among my favorite hobbies. I love modern art and have pieces from around the world. Some of my favorites were bought off the street vendors!! There’s lots of talent out there. Have fun!

  14. Peliroo December 27, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    Love the picture, first of all. There is something very, very personal about the face of that Santa. I probably wouldn’t be able to stop looking at it. I have never purchased artwork since I paint my own or show off my son’s work. My father has purchased art before, however, and I found that fascinating for some reason. I think because I saw that pieces of art speak to people. As an artist, that’s a wonderful feeling to know you created something that grabbed someone. Btw, I love the mental image of you on the plane with that. I would have loved to see that. :)

  15. Foxie December 27, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    I have a few pieces around….

    One is a fantastic fox painted on stone! That was a gift from my parents one year, and one of the two original works I have. I have a few other fox art things, but they’re mostly prints (not originals) and photographs.

    The other original work we have is a drawing of our Honda S2000 we commissioned. I believe I had it done as a gift to my husband at some point. We came upon this guy who would draw cars and does AMAZING work, so we sent over my husband’s favorite photo of the car (that I took!) and had it turned into a drawing. I think it set us back $200, but it was awesome to not only support him (we’ve stayed in contact over the years as well, so I consider him a friend now) but have something totally unique. Another few hundred for framing and it’s now an impressive piece if I do say so myself. Plus it was awesome because he would send us updates the entire time he was working on it, so it was cool to see how it came together!

    I finally sucked it up enough to pay for the framing on a large print of the photograph the drawing is based off of so they can hang together. It’s what we always intended to do, I just finally got around to it. :) (The cost of framing kills me…. I only ever use coupons, and even then I want to cry every time I have it done!)

    I also have an art poster framed, as well as a photograph, from my favorite ALMS racing team, Flying Lizard. That’s my kinda art right there. ;) I really want to get a photograph of Audi’s R18 at Le Mans for my wall — I’m a huge Audi Racing fan.

    Plus I want to get some photos of my other two cars (who are being sold :() so I can keep them with me. But I think I’ll try out the canvas print option so I don’t have to dish out for more framing…

    That’s our idea of art, anyhow. :)

  16. Alotta Lettuce December 27, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    I know this is an enormously unpopular opinion, but I have a serious lack of appreciation for art. Always have. Mostly, I just don’t…get it. Much like poetry – something else I don’t really get or appreciate. But I’m working on it.

    For our first anniversary – the “paper” anniversary, if you will – my husband and I decided to purchase a piece of art. We found a local artist whose work we both loved – a huge feat, considering my aforementioned lack of art appreciation. I think the reason I love his stuff so much is that he uses a style called ‘dynamic symmetry,’ which involves a lot of math and logic – things that resonate with me much more so than (shudder) feelings. Anyway, we bought a large, original piece that literally MADE our dining room. I think it cost $760 if I remember correctly. Quite a lot, but I genuinely do love it.

    We’ve subsequently agreed to purchase a small piece as a “souvenir” whenever we travel, and have since accumulated a small handful of beautiful watercolors.

  17. Matt, Tao of Unfear December 27, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    I saw a bunch of gorgeous art in New Orleans while popping into the various studios and galleries on Royal St. I wanted to take a lot of it home with me, but since most of the pieces started at several thousand dollars (they weren’t small paintings), they were definitely outside of my budget. I did end up getting a few drawings from a really cool artist in the French Market for $10 each. He deserves to make more than that, but it did put his art within my budget whereas the other art wasn’t. C’est la vie, I suppose.

  18. Jessica @ Faith Permeating Life December 27, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    One of the bloggers I read wrote about falling in love with a piece of art that she couldn’t afford, and always regretting not buying it. So I say more power to you for following your gut that this was something you really wanted! It’s clear from your blog that you’re not usually an impulse buyer, so you must have known this was right :)

  19. Sue December 27, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    I purchased a painting from my husband’s neice, she charged me 500.00. My husband was very upset after he found what I paid. She is very spoiled and her mom is mega rich, he thought she should have done it for free. I still like the painting, someday, I hope she becomes famous.

  20. Paulette December 28, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    The first piece that I purchased was from my cousin; she has a studio in Milwaukee. She painted our family’s summer house and I just had to have it. http://carmenbenske.com/LilyGallery/LilyGallery.html
    It takes up half of my living room wall and I LOVE it. She is working on some companion pieces that I hope to grab as well. I figure if I am going to spend it, I might as well keep it in the family. :)

  21. J. Money December 28, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    @Carolyn – Yeah, I agree! I LOVE texture stuff – nice find! :)
    @Jackie – Wow, I think you win for the most expensive piece bought so far :) And good for you on paintint yourself!! I’ve done a few things myself over the years, but usually nothing bigger than a piece of paper just cuz of my attention span ;) Though I did once make this cool money painting!
    @Edward Antrobus – Nice, maybe then you can get something from your friend :)
    @Barb Friedberg – Heck yeah there are! I love street vendors too :) OOH! That reminds me, I guess I lied on my first piece of art — I forgot I bought this one from my homeless friend once: Pink Eye
    @Peliroo – YES! I couldn’t stop staring at Santa’s face either – it’s totally deep! I think I’d feel good knowing people connected with my art too if I made any :) Would love to meet all my buyers in the same way.
    @Foxie – Cool! I like that idea of placing the original photo next to the commissioned piece – well done :) Maybe one day I’ll be able to visit in person to see it! It’s awesome to me that so much of your passions in life revolve around your cars. They’re like your kids, haha… thanks for sharing!
    @Alotta Lettuce – Well that works out nicely! Esp for someone who doesn’t “get it.” Well done! :) I LOVE that idea of aquiring bits and pieces as you travel, I think I’m gonna start doing the same myself now… a much better souvenir than the other crap I used to pick up, haha… good one!
    @Matt, Tao of Unfear – I know, street vendors should DEF get paid more for sure… guess they gotta work themselves up and all that eh? We all got paid crap in the beginning of our careers ;)
    @Jessica @ Faith Permeating Life – Thanks! Yeah, it really is the worst when you look back and just kick yourself for not picking things up – esp. one-of-a-kinds like art too. I still get upset with myself for not picking up this awesomely painted dresser back a few years… it was only around $50 but for whatever reason I just didn’t know if I really wanted it bad at the time. The next day it *clicked* and I went back to get it and it was long gone :( At least it probably went to someone else who’s hopefully enjoying it now! :)
    @Sue – Oh jeez, well – as long as you like it and were happy w/ the price then, I say it’s all good :) You obviously thought it was worth it! And artists – whether poor or not, or family or not – should still get paid either way. I don’t know all the details, but I don’t think you got ripped off. I’m just glad you still like it :)
    @Paulette – Wowwwww, that is SO pretty! Good call for sure, I love her style!! :)

  22. Hank December 29, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    Wow, man! A baby and now art….dude you’re getting old. I’m starting to collect high end guitars and put them on the walls instead of art…..they almost cost as much.

  23. J. Money December 30, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    Hah! I am :) And heck yeah dude, that is awesome! Funny enough I have two acoustics decorating my blogger den here too – but only cuz I don’t know how to play them. Figured I’d teach myself if I bought them, but didn’t go as planned ;) Imagine that?

  24. Jessica W January 2, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    I collect art too–I got hooked on large-format art-deco posters in college when I house-sat for a friend of an artist. She gave me some posters as a thank-you. I’ve got several by David Lance Goines and have purchased them from $10-$200, but the framing is the real %)#*%#… sometimes frames are upwards of $350. :-/ I try to pick up one poster per year. The downside is that the condo I own right now is one of those contemporary things with short little weird walls and funny angles. Almost all of my collection is wrapped in packing paper, hiding behind bookshelves waiting for a home with bigger walls so they can see the light of day. I’ve also purchased oil paintings in Africa, on my trips, as gifts for my husband. But I purchased them in Birr, and (deliberately) choose not to convert mentally to dollars. :)

  25. J. Money January 2, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Haha, hey – whatever works! I used to be a big fan of art-deco too. I still like some, but haven’t gone the poster route much… I do like oldschool movie posters, but nothing yet that I really want to buy and put on the wall. I agree frames are expensive! Which is why the only art I have w/ frames is because they came with them! Haha… I’m not good w/ doing it myself and/or buying ’em. Unless they come standard from Micheals with a 50% off coupon ;)

  26. Jessica W January 2, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Oh yes, I stalk those framing coupons. :) Like nobody’s business!

  27. Michael January 3, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Hey, it’s best to spend money on the things you love. Think of how many people have spent $290 on something they felt completely indifferent about. And to own something that makes you happy is something too many people overlook. Congratulations on your purchase… you should post pictures of your blogger den as your collection grows!

  28. J. Money January 4, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    @Jessica W – They’re killer deals, no doubt about it.
    @Michael – Thanks dude! You’re right – much better to prioritize your spending like that so you get the most out of it. I’ll see what I can do about the blogger den pics, it’ll happen at some point ;)

    1. J. Money December 15, 2017 at 6:17 AM

      Haha… I’ll leave that one for you, boss ;)