Why Do People Buy Art?

by Carolyn Edlund

Why do people decide to purchase art, and why will they buy from you?


mixed media photo collage by Leslie Kell

“We Chased Our Pleasures Here” mixed media, 42″ x 48″ by artist Leslie Kell


When you sell a piece of art, what do your customers say? Perhaps they mention they’ve just acquired the perfect gift for a special person in their lives. Or maybe it’s a perfect accent piece for their new office. Art fills many practical functions in customer’s lives, but other factors are part of the decision, too. What are some of the hidden reasons behind art purchases?

Their own expression

Many creative people collect art, although working as an artist themselves is their ultimate fantasy. Their own jobs may be boring compared to the lifestyle they perceive artists to have. They share their own creative expression by owning rather than making art. Their appreciation for art and their support is a huge benefit for artists.

Your creative spirit

Every time a collector acquires a piece of your art, they receive a bit of your creative spirit imbued in the work itself. This is a treasure to many people, who find that art resonates emotionally with them. As an artist, your heart, soul and vision are poured into each piece you create. Each time they see your art, this comes through.


Many things in our world are disposable, meaningless, and soulless. In contrast, art takes thought, time and talent. It speaks truth. Often bearing the fingerprints of the maker, art offers an experience of authenticity and quality. It has the power to lift up the viewer, or bring them to tears. Art enhances our lives and improves our well-being. It may be the catalyst for a conversation, or set the mood in a room environment.

A guilty pleasure

Buying art is like giving a gift to yourself. Is it a luxury purchase? Sure. Is it a bit decadent? Maybe so. But it’s something you connect with deeply, something you love, and something you deserve. And what is better than that?


The vast majority of people don’t buy original art or handmade goods, and probably would admit they don’t even know any art collectors. This factor sets the art buyer apart. As patrons, they enjoy the prestige that being a collector brings. Some of even list “art collector” as an occupation on their LinkedIn profiles!

An investment

Some art is bought for the purpose of reselling the work at a greater price in the future, and that may be a supporting factor. But if you speak with art collectors, you’ll find that most admit they really buy because they simply love art. What better reason for a purchase? An increase in value is always desirable, but the best investment they are making is in their own quality of life.


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