cheap art & cheap sex

bank of america money bag wallet

Cheap art is like cheap sex.

Cheap art & cheap sex whittle away at your soul. They don’t give you much and they allow you to give even less.

Cheap sex may not have strings but it pulls achingly at your heart over time. Cheap sex never pays off. Cheap sex may feel good at first but it feels bad much longer.

Cheap sex is a transaction, not a relationship. Its tit for tat. Heavy [petting] on tit – short on tat.

It’s confusing, often reckless, always thoughtless. Its of the moment (or born of the past) and not for the long haul.

Yes, cheap art is a lot like cheap sex.

Cheap art is desperate & dirty. It puts the emphasis on dollars (though few) and not on inspiration. There’s no promise of the future, only questions of now. Cheap art has no value for the consumer, little meaning to the creator – its wasted effort.

Cheap art disregards the beauty of the temptress and ignores the eye of the beholder.

No, there is no such thing as cheap art or cheap sex.

Even when you put a price tag or a limitation on them, they cost big in the long term. Art & sex are things to be valued. Cherished.

Art & sex require investment.

Commitment is putting your money where your heart is.
Kelly Diels

What is cheap – dollars & cents or careless flings – is neither art nor sex. It’s a thrill – a whim. Here today, gone tomorrow. A thrill with consequences.

When it comes to selling art, great care must be taken. Value and meaning should be considered together – never separated. Putting a low price tag on a piece of art is like donning cheap pleather pants and wondering why the guys who try to hook up with you wear Ed Hardy t-shirts.

There’s no respect. An investment requires respect, trust. You can give away art & sex for pennies on the dollar – but don’t expect much in return.

Just as you invest your soul in each brushstroke, idea, word, or touch to create your personal brand of art, you must ask the consumer – your partner – your patron – to invest. Artist & patron are lovers. They are equal halves in a relationship of great importance. The demands & responsibilities of both are great. One most hold the other accountable – gently.

If you’ve been giving yourself away, it’s time to own your worth. Time to forget cheap and look for an investment. Your art – and your body – are not toys on the shelf of a dollar store. Treat your art with respect, ask – confidently – for an investment, and never let “cheap” get in the way of your success.

{ recycled money bag wallet by chakra pennywhistle ]

18 thoughts on “cheap art & cheap sex

  1. Great article & timely reminder 😉 I sold at a market this weekend & had several (non)customers asking me & other vendors why our goodies were priced as they were (too high in their not so humble opinion)! Umm…living wage baby!! You get what you pay for <3

  2. Interesting (and a bit racy!!!)~ I absolutely love this analogy, especially in thinking about the way you feel after a purchase. I adore my pieces that were purchased thoughtfully… cheap thrills, not so much.

  3. Real art and real (good) sex take effort—not just an investment of your time, but also of your whole self. Our contemporary convenience-focused culture has done a disservice to both; we’ve become so desensitized to what is good, be it art at the price its worth or sex that isn’t cheap.

    1. hey vinnie!

      I think if you’re handcrafting someone with skill & care, it takes time, effort, and learned technique. Those things cost money. When you put a low price tag on it, you cheapen yourself & the energy you put into what you make.

      Now – I think you can give it away for free – that I have no problem with. But thinking that making something cheap will make more people want it or will give you the satisfaction of selling it, is disingenuous. I’ve been there, done that :)

  4. Tara…

    I have been slacking off on my blog reading… but this just sucked me right in… lol.

    This is a brilliant analogy, and I think it helps to illustrate the importance of giving your work and your self value. It seems to me that brand loyalty is on par with monogamy and developing an honest and trust based relationship… so it seems fair to say at this point that my ‘type’ is INDIE… all the way!

    Thanks for this cleverness and fresh perspective.

  5. I couldn’t agree more, Tara. I am sometimes tempted to lower the prices of my bags in order to sell at least one, darn it… But then it makes me feel cheap and unappreciated – so I don’t. If the right person comes along they will see the work that is invested in each design and will pay the price.

    My soul hurts when I see elaborate designs on Etsy that sell for a ridiculously low price which perhaps doesn’t even cover the cost of material. Yes, they sell, they even advertise themselves with “attractive price”. But that is the same as a sex worker calling out “hey, babe, I’m gonna make it worth your while”…

  6. thanks tara. laughing here, but i think that helps drive home the point.

    i’ve noticed that many “money saving tips” articles encourage shoppers to bargain with artists at festivals because the “markup is high”.

  7. Amen Tara! I have been wallowing a bit this week and I needed to read this. It is so hard to know how to price my work in an economy that seems to bear no buyers, but I know that there is still money out there, and selling myself short is not likely to draw the customers that can spend. My prices are still not what they should be, and this is allowing me to think about it differently. This old (in years only) girl is not cheap! Thanks

  8. Great post! Society is so used to the big box retailers, made-in-china, sell for cheap merchandise. But, when looking at homemade, many people forget the hard work, technique, creativity and quality supplies that go into it. They’re still comparing the handmade to the cheaply-made stuff. It’s a mindset that needs to change!

  9. Tara,
    Well said and AMEN SISTAH!
    I’m so SICK of people kicking the tires of handcrafted items! Not just mine, but others as well! Let me ask the people buying these items – do YOU want to work for less than minimum wage? I think not! I am willing to have fewer “things” in my life in order to feel good about the money I spend and who it benefits!
    As for the cheap sex….well… cheap sex is a fantasy – sound great but in reality usually falls flat.

  10. I have been fortunate enough to live in two college towns with excellent art schools and access to what some might call ‘cheap’ art. How nice to be able to afford some Art! Art is subjective and it is a disservice to say that the cost makes it more or less beautiful. Cheap art is desperate and dirty? Odd. My favorite pottery bowl was not expensive. I suppose it was cheap,even. Still love it. And in my own small way I was able to contribute to a working artist. I don’t equate respect (or appreciation) with the price tag. I made my living as a mural painter for many years and will admit that pricing was the trickiest part of it. Good communication and clear expectations were the answer. The arts, in all their forms, don’t have specific price tags. It’s not like buying a car.But let’s hope that it’s not like cheap sex, either.

  11. I absolutely disagree with the anology which is as primitive as to say when a woman paints she is showing off her body which is the fact in some backward societies. Once I read in a discussion in an art forum where some people compare painting to making love, which is absolutely ridiculous. You make love in your private corner whereas you paint in public, all artists want to expose their art, but do you want to expose yourself to the public when you make love? How can we compare our private lives to our public lives? I do think that those people who make such comparisons are idiots, they are so stupid that I can hardly believe they can call themselves artists.
    Money is not a measurement of beauty, just as the impalpable cannot be measured by the palpable.
    Besides what is the worth of your money? One hundred dollars for one person is worth millions of dollars for another person. Just the other day I have read in the news that 3 women (mother and her 2 daughters) killed a man just for a debt of 50 dollars, what is 50 dollars for a millionnaire in the States? Here in China, 5o dollars equals to your life.
    People are taught to believe that the painting which can fetch the highest price is the best painting, they are not aware of how much propagandas, social and money supports have gone into the paintings, ? how many people can buy a painting for their intrinsic values, how many people can appreciate art?

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