Friday, March 20, 2015
The Best $60 I Ever Spent
I recently made the best spending decision I think I've ever made. I took advantage of a special "sale" being offered by a local artist named Clayton Singleton, who said that for a window of a couple weeks, he would accept portrait commissions for about $60.
All you had to do was PayPal him the money and send him a picture of the painting's subject, along with a list of the person's defining characteristics. He would then choose an adinkra symbol to match the person's essence. Adinkra are symbols used in Ghana much the same way Egyptians used hieroglyphics; each adinkra has a greater meaning and is used in traditional art and textile designs.
I see so many articles online about getting "affordable" art and they usually include prints of paintings or photographs, torn pages from magazines or calendars, small pictures blown up to big sizes or creatively framed mementos. I love ALL those ideas, but I'd like to advocate for the idea of also seeking affordable art that is handmade by a living, working artist in your community. It's so special to see a piece of artwork every day that was created by a person you've met or whose work you've seen where you live.
I would say most of my artwork is affordable, but most of it also is one-of-a-kind. I'm happy to have supported the artists, and doubly happy to have all these reminders of this period in my life when I've worked so closely with the local art community.
In this particular instance, I opted to send Clayton one of my favorite pictures of my mom, a snapshot her mother took when she was backstage getting ready for a ballet performance in the late '70s. I have a weakness for paintings of ballerinas, and I thought it would be so special to commission a painting of my own mom. Well, when Clayton posted this progress image on Facebook, I was blown away and my mom was REALLY stunned. I'm pretty sure I've got brownie points for at least half a year off that one!
But beyond that, I'm really amazed at how $60 (the same amount I'd easily spend during one trip to Target) purchased something that's truly priceless to me. Having this portrait is so special, and I can only hope it will someday hang in the home of my great-great grandchild. It's the kind of thing that hopefully becomes an heirloom, and definitely something I will treasure. That's the kind of affordable art everyone should spring for just once!