Why Like that Artwork? Recognizing True Soul


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I’m not really a very religious person and the answer to the question is definitely not religiously related, but want for another word “soul" will have to do. What I refer to is that bit of the artist which goes into the artwork bringing it ‘to life’. No! Not all pieces have this; the artist has to coax it. Once he has nurtured it out of materials and medium, and agonized for hours, his or her creation will come alive.

It’s not difficult to accept and it’s not wimpy, it’s what makes the investor or the lover want to purchase or drool over the artwork over and over again. It’s that feeling when you walk past the piece and you have to return, and return, until you are so frustrated that you do not own it and someone else does! When you just cant let it go.

At a little country art show, you walk around checking it out, and see something that warms you up. From the depths you remember that you are here not only to mingle with the local art and cultural elite; or, to help prop the visitor numbers for your fellow local artists. You are here because you like art, it does something to you. You are primed, a bit out of practice maybe as it’s been so long, to buy that diamond in the rough, or help discover the next Picasso.

You see something in the corner of your eye, it’s good. Something warm, something frustrating, something good; what is it? Yes, I like this piece; in fact I love it, but why?

You have to ask yourself why you can rush past so many artworks but this one grabs you with enough emotion that it can make you feel sick. In fact… when you see the red dot (sold), damn, you feel robbed, “If only I was here earlier. " you say.

You know that picture was sold when the first person saw it.

The artist in his studio doesn’t know you, he is not sitting there or standing there thinking, “What will they like, I know, I’ll use this color. " Well maybe there are a few that do! The artist sees something in their picture, it’s not right… agony, agony: till finally they work the problem through and are so happy that they start bouncing around the studio all happy planning another wonderful week. This is the point when the artwork has ‘come to life’.

The artist enjoys his or her work, though enjoyment is probably too small a word to capture all the feelings they go through. They must have their creation near them; there may be a brief moment they want to hide it from view. Just a while, as it did strain, it did hurt. But they must take it out again, after a day, or an hour, and never hide it again. The more works he or she creates the more their previous creations will hide away, until they move to a bigger studio, just for more space to show their favorites, permanently.

BUY THESE PIECES!! These contain part of the artist’s soul. These are the first to be sold in any art show, the show stopper in any gallery and finally: the pieces that end up in the State Gallery, and only either: because the artist has died, or they have donated it (not wanting it to be spoilt by the callous association of the coin).

This is truly what the buyer or viewer is experiencing. If you are not an artist you will not understand, the birth of their creation, the moment soul starts to enter the ‘nothing’ in front of them, is to the artist: the elation they experience. They do NOT want to sell it to anyone. If they didn’t have to eat and pay bills, believe me, the true artist would never sell anything with soul. Think about it, the only pieces you could buy would be the works they didn’t really care about, and neither would you.

When coming across a piece that really hits your spot, think for a minute. It affects you because it’s real, it’s got soul. The artwork is loved by its maker, as one of their children. Of all those paintings you browsed past in the local art show, you had to return to this one, you had to have it. Listen to your body, there is always a reaction to the living and the “attractive"; it’s probably the time when you should buy, or at least savor the moment.

Remember, if you feel a great overwhelming desire to keep admiring the artwork, and the artist will not let it go, you have discovered a winner.


Alec Ellis
Alec is a graphic designer working at M6.Net : ‘The web-hosting company for humans. ’ M6. Net is working hard to help humanity experience the power and freedom to develop their own part of the Internet, to share their information and connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime.


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