I’ve been going to Art in the Park for three years straight now—both for personal and work purposes. Each year, I see the same interest and awe among the attendees as they scour gallery tents for affordable art they can take home.
This also got me thinking about the notion how people only look for big names when it comes to top quality. Hence, spending a hefty amount of money for it. That said, does it also mean that if it’s priced cheaper or made by an up-and-comer, it’s considered lesser quality?
According to Art Business, the price of an artwork depends on several factors such as the gallery space, the artist’s reputation, and the artwork’s desirability to the market. The bigger your name, the higher your price point. Artist Jem Magbanua echoes this, saying, “I think it’s hard to pin a monetary value on an art work. It’s based on the market. I don’t think the monetary value has no coexistence with the quality of the work.”
But in some instances, these factors don’t seem to matter to enthusiasts. For events such as Art in the Park, it’s about giving back to the Museum Foundation while getting the painting you’ve always wanted. “For one day only, Art in the Park [offers] a ceiling price of P50,000. That is your donation to the Museum Foundation, the fact that we are underpricing our pieces,” artist Michelline Syjuco says. “It definitely doesn’t mean that if prices are less than P50,000, it’s lesser quality work.”
For Vinyl on Vinyl gallerist Pia Reyes, the price depends on the artist’s labor and experience while making it. “When it comes to pricing we don’t really equate it to the quality of work but it’s more of experience, materials used, or labor of work. The size of the art work as well.”
As we snaked through the crowds at Jaime Velasquez Park, there were people who browsed boxes filled with framed canvases. Michelline notes that “it’s like a treasure hunt” for the attendees to find the right piece. There were also those who lined up at the cashier to pay for their acquired artwork. Each were wrapped in brown paper, unknown to us if it was made by a veteran or newbie.
It was at that moment that you’ll realize that you never really know the reason why people bought those works—unless you ask them upfront. Only they know what’s underneath that brown paper.
“The perception of art depends on the person,” designer Gian Romano emphasizes. “Some people would base it on names, but I don’t. I’d rather pay for what I see.”
At the end of the day, enthusiasts wouldn’t care about price point that much. It’s the gratification they feel when they see a painting or sculpture. As artist Yeo Kaa puts it, “Just because an artwork is expensive, doesn’t always mean it looks nice [to some people.] And just because it’s cheap, it doesn’t mean it’s not nice either.”
Keep that in mind for the next time you go to a gallery exhibit or next year’s Art in the Park.