Thursday, May 21, 2015

The beautiful paintings of Peter Doig, plus random thoughts on worth...

I have yet to see a Peter Doig painting in person, but I sure love them and can only imagine how incredible they look in person. Here are a few examples of his paintings for your enjoyment:

Peter Doig, The Heart of Old San Juan, 1999, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, Hitch-Hiker (Reflected), 1990, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, House of Pictures (Carrera), 2004, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, Walking Figure by Pool, 2011, Oil on linen

Peter Doig, Spearfishing, 2013, Oil on linen

Peter Doig, Lapeyrouse Wall, 2004, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, Grand Riviere, 2002, Oil on paper

Peter Doig, Moruga, 2002-2008, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, 100 Years Ago (Carrera), 2001, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, Ski-jacket, 1993, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, House of Pictures, 2000-2002, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, Music of the Future, 2002-2007

Peter Doig, Untitled, 1997, paint, collage on paper sold for $293,000

Peter Doig, White Canoe, 1990-91, Oil on canvas


Peter Doig, White Creep, 1995-96, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, Pelican (Stag), 2003, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, The Architect's Home in the Ravine, 1991, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, Paragon, 2006, Oil on linen

Peter Doig, Figures in Red Boat, 2005-2007, Oil on linen

Peter Doig, Ping Pong, 2006-2008, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, Orange Forest, 1999, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, Red Boat (Imaginary Boys), 2004, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, Orange Sunshine, 1995-95, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, Metropolitan (House of Pictures), 2004, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, Cyril's Bay, 2008, Oil and graphite on paper, Sold for $70,000

Peter Doig, Cricket Painting (Paragrand), 2006-2012, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, Cold Blooded, 2003, Oil on canvas

Peter Doig, Maracas, 2002-2008, Oil on canvas

For more information about Peter Doig, click here, here, and here.

A few thoughts on worth...

I work for an art dealer. We sell art with a wide range of "values" -- the least expensive thing is probably "worth" $500, and the most expensive thing is somewhere in the seven-figure range. Sometimes it is difficult to make sense of it all. Take, for instance, the Picasso painting that recently sold for $174,000,000. ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY FOUR MILLION DOLLARS. I think it is a lovely painting, but is that what it is WORTH? Apparently it is worth that to the person that bought it. All I can (unhelpfully) think is: is that painting worth 348 houses? That is probably not a fair question, but sometimes dollar amounts assigned to tangible items can be confounding. 

The wealthy essentially pay my salary, so I shouldn't begrudge them.  But sometimes I do.  When they start talking about their multiple homes, their cars, their vacations, their zillion dollar art collections, their preference for private planes, etc., it is difficult not to get annoyed.  Irritated.  But without these people I don't get paid, so somehow/someway I have to deal with it.  

Lately I have been making mosaics and wondering if I could sell some to make a little extra scratch. With my time and materials, I'd want to charge $100 for each. But that means a retailer would probably need to mark them up to $200 each. That would never fly -- I figure people would only be willing to pay $25-$35 for each. So that sucks ass. Clearly I am no Picasso!

There was recently a house for sale in the crappier part of my neighborhood. I'd walk past it fairly often, and finally grabbed a flier to see that it was listed at $999,000. And it wasn't a great house. Not a total dump, but nothing great, zero character and no architectural integrity, and in a shitty part of the neighborhood.  MEH, at best. Somebody ponied up and bought it, presumably for just short of a million bucks.

My co-worker recently had to find an apartment F-A-S-T, and scoured listings for the entire city of Los Angeles. Basically singles with 500 square feet or so (?! that is TINY!), are going for a minimum of $1,500 a month. Sometimes parking and/or laundry on-site are included, sometimes not. WTF! That is absolutely insane. Nicer, newer one bedroom apartments in sketchy-at-best HOLLYWOOD (Hollywood proper it is NOT a GLAMOUR CAPITAL, trust me) are going for $2,600+ a month. WTF. That is crazy! It all boggles the mind.

Back to art...lately some of our clients and fellow galleries and art dealers have started moaning and groaning to me that they have been priced out of the art market -- that they can no longer afford to buy what they used to -- things are just way too expensive. I lend a sympathetic (interesting how that word has "P-A-T-H-E-T-I-C" in it) ear and listen to what they say, and cluck in agreement even though I cannot really relate since I certainly cannot afford what these people can afford.

But I really shouldn't complain. I have a pretty good place to live, I have a car that runs, my rent isn't too expensive, and I buy more than I should. But I am still pretty careful with my money -- I have to be. So things could be worse. But DANG some things seem out of whack.

Do you ever take a look at the PARADE What People Earn listings? They issue this info once a year, and it is nuts. The range of salaries in the U.S. is incredible -- some earning as little as $6,000 a year (which is probably a fortune compared to what some earn in third world countries!), and then you have people like Jennifer Lopez earning an estimated 37 MILLION a year. Jesus.

Los Angeles has voted to increase the minimum wage from $9 an hour to $15 an hour by the year 2020, and a LOT of people are up in arms about it. REALLY? I understand that we live in a capitalistic society and we pay based on how we value things. But being FAIR and providing a livable wage should also be part of the equation, no?


Lorena said...

What can I say. I live in a country that has the highest minimum wage in Central America - about 500 bucks a month. In 10 years its been increased 3 times and everything went up simultaneously. Except salaries of the "educated".
I about 8 years everything has doubled, we bought an apartment for 73k and now it sells for 180k. Insane.
On the mosaic, I think you should make a really nice one and place it on your desk and dont think people won't pay… sometimes we can surprise ourselves. :)

Ashton Wright said...

The problem with raising the minimum wage is that the cost of everything else also goes up so in the end it does nothing for the people making minimum wage and hurts those people who were making above minimum wage but didn't get a raise to reflect that new minimum. It's a never-ending cycle that continues to favor the already rich, hurt the middle class and keep the lower class right where they are.

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

I say post a mosaic on etsy and see what happens. That way you've got control over the price, and you can get some feedback. Maybe something good will happen :)
As for the economics of minimum wage - for too long the gov't has allowed the minimum wage to stagnate, and playing catch up with it now might be painful at first, but it has to be done. Otherwise we have a society of full-time workers who earn so little toiling away at Wal Mart or Home Depot who qualify for all sorts of tax payer funded services that end up hurting the economy even more. Bite the bullet and pony up!