Buy Real Art

I used to be one of those guys. If I needed to spruce up the walls of my home or office, I’d head down to the Housewares section of my local Target and get one of the mass market produced pre-framed prints. What can I say? I was your typical guy who didn’t know any better and thought I was making my home a little bit more, well, homey.

Then I met my wife. She is worldly and cultured. How she ended up with a guy like me is a wonder. I’m sure my meager and pedestrian collection of Target prints in no way impressed her when she entered my place for the first time. Due to the circles she travels in, she knows lots of local artists. And one of the greatest and earliest lessons I learned from her is how easy, and relatively inexpensive, it is to own real art, made by and purchased from, real artists.

In fact, just tonight we picked up the first share of our C.S.A – Community Supported Art. It’s a great idea put on by a local arts organization dedicated to connecting artists with direct local support. Especially if you live in a major city, I am sure there are similar programs and ways to find out who the artists are and how you can buy amazing work. Find them. There is a special magic to looking up at a print, a photograph, or a sculpture in your home, and knowing that the money you paid went straight into the hands of the person who made it.

Of course, now the Internet makes this even more possible. Frankly, there is no longer any excuse to have anything less hanging on your wall or adorning your home. It is way to easy to buy real art, from real artists.

Want to start off with some great pieces? Here are some suggestions. This is in no way meant to be a complete list (obviously). Just a few off the top of my head and others I asked:

Photography

* Dezene Huber

* Jorge Quinteros

* Michael Armstrong

Prints and Other Media

* Erik Natzke

* Jonathan Wilkinson

* Brad Blackman

Instant Karma

I want you to consider performing the occasional act of kindness on an regular and ongoing basis. Start today. Here are some ideas:

* The next time you see a car parked at an expired meter, if you have a quarter, stick it in.

* Have a full “buy some/get one free” punch card for your local coffee establishment? Give it to a random person in line.

* Hold the door or elevator for someone coming.

* On a toll road, pay for the car behind you.

* Buy flowers and give them to someone. Perhaps even someone random.

* Simply tell someone that they look good that day, or their dog is really cute, or their kid has good manners.

* Leave the book you just finished reading in a public place with a note to say it’s free for the taking.

* Write a thank you card or letter to someone “just because”.

What I aim to suggest you put in motion here is karma. Karma is the based on the idea of cause and effect and that ones actions have an effect on the past, present, and future. The positive and good actions you put out into the world will, in turn, make the world as a whole a better place, thus benefiting you. Karma is often thought of as good deeds one does for the benefit of others. But that is only half the story.

If you have any level of basic compassion, and a bit of natural human selfishness, you will do such things because they have the immediate effect of making you feel good as well. Do not be ashamed of this being part of the motivation. It’s OK. Really. It’s alright to do something for someone else because it makes you feel better. Because, in turn, your good feelings will reflect and spread to others who care about and encounter you as well. The karma is instant and is supposed to travel in both directions. That’s the whole point.

Action and Rest

We would like to think that we get to choose times of action and times of rest. The truth is, most of us don’t.

When things are busy, it is usually due to external forces and commitments. That report we promised our boss. The deadline for the project. The kids needing a bath. During these times, we often long for quiet and rest.

When things are slow and quiet, once again usually due to no choice of our own, we often find ourselves searching for things to fill the time. A book to read. A place to go. Someone to talk to. Something, anything, to do. Anything to keep ourselves busy.

Lately, I have been trying to be more mindful of this natural ebb and flow of life over which I have little control. I have been trying to focus on enjoying both modes for what they are as opposed to longing for the other. Letting my rest prepare me for action and my action contain the promise of rest.

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