When someone gives away something for free, there is usually a trade-off.
Sport my logo please, link back to my blog, tell your friends.
So, when my favorite local artist, Gianni Arone, who is represented by Gallery Brown in L.A. announced today to his over 5,000 Instagram followers that from now “for the rest of my life” he will be giving certain pieces of art for free (minus shipping) I nearly up on my laptop.
I went to his website and saw that he has posted four pieces under his “Free For You” tab.
From the four pieces, I selected this piece”
“A Tigers Claw Is Sharpened By The Path The Strike” and 18″x16″ penwork on paper.
It is not a print.
So what’s in it for Gianni? Here is his full statement from his Instagram post:
I am inherently “paid” every time that I make art. I will continue to sell my art at galleries, and during shows-so that, I may in some form stay “relevant” in the “art world” and “art market”-should they still accept me after this. Some might say “doing this…giving away your art-it’s bad for your career. You are inundating the market place with your work. The “free” title on the work devalues it.”
Perhaps-but it is great for my life-in more ways than I can explain to you in the post. The art market-really is about provenance-who owns your work and where it is bought from. It’s an establishment that is geared towards money-and those who have money. I am not concerned about the art world, the art market, the auction, or any of that.
That will take care of itself. I want to take care of myself. The best way to do that is to selflessly give myself.
I remember when I had no money. No money at all. I was homeless. I would burn twigs to turn to charcoal so I could paint.
I have, in a short time-been able to sell my art in exchange for money-HOW COOL IS THAT!
So, the art is Free to who ever needs, wants, desires it. Give it as a gift. Give it to a stranger. Give it to a blank wall. Request as many as you like that are available. Feel no guilt or shame in receiving these gifts from me. I am paid already. I am paid every time I create. My process is that powerful to me.
Today, oftentimes, it literally pays to be cynical. One could say that this is a deft marketing ploy by an artist who is fully comfortable is social media’s warm embrace. I was viscerally struck by Mr. Arone’s artwork when I first saw it at Stone Malone Gallery last year–I feel the sincerity of his work. I feel, based on his statement, that he is grappling with the duality of being able to support oneself with your art, and realizing that as you become more successful, your work becomes out of reach from some of those who appreciate what you do in a very pure way.
From all of us who are poor in disposable income, yet perceptive about the world around us,
Thank you Gianni.