And Justice For All: Stopping Greedy Art Resellers

19 Dec

ART-bannerI have loved art since I was a kid, spending hours looking through the Great Masters book.  I am very into Low Brow art, some of my favorite artists include Lori Earley, Tara McPherson, John John Jesse, Brian M. Viveros, Handiedan, Mark Ryden, etc.  Like most art admirers and beginning collectors, I cannot afford originals from these artists, but occasionally these artists release limited edition signed and numbered prints which allow a select few to have the art they adore in their homes.

Unfortunately, when these limited edition prints go on sale, they sometimes sell out in minutes, or hours if you’re lucky.  I recently was able to snag the Brian M. Viveros “And Justice For All” giclee print which was limited to only 50 copies and sold out in less than 10 minutes.

So why am I complaining, I was one of the lucky 50.  I am complaining because a quick search on Ebay for this print hours after it went on sale yielded 10 search results.  10 doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you consider that there are only 50 in the world, that is 20%. This means that greedy art resellers snatched these up and doubled the price (at least), literally taking them out of the hands of true collectors.  Art is one of the few things that I am willing to spend a pretty penny on when I can, and at $250 this is one of the more pricey pieces I’ve splurged on.  So imagine having your heart set on one of these and losing your chance to buy it at the more fair price.  They are currently selling for about $500 on Ebay.

Another recent print I scored is “Hera 2” by Handiedan.


This beloved print was a limited edition of 100, priced a bit more reasonably at $100. Before the print even went on sale to the public it was already on Ebay selling for $300 and up.  A recent Ebay search turned up 7 of these.

An even more maddening example is this limited edition copy of a Melvins record designed and signed by Camille Rose Garcia, limited to 50 signed copies, and it was somehow already on Ebay weeks before its official release date for double the price!  HOW?

My point is that there needs to be a better way to get the art to the true collectors not just the greedy guy who knows he can sell it for 3 times the going rate.  This is not to say, that in a few years as these prints increase in value, it is not okay to go ahead and sell them.  I just feel that taking them out of the hands of those of us who are passionate about the work and supporting the artists we admire is the work of capitalist greed.

It reminds me of the way concert tickets are scooped up by brokers and scalpers and then are sold for 5 times the face value (which often are high enough as is).  Instead of the true fans being able to buy tickets and support the artists and bands they love, the shows sell out and the fans are either forced to shell out cash they can’t afford or miss the shows entirely.  It really comes down to the same thing.  Some things shouldn’t be hocked to the highest bidder.

I love every single artist I listed above, and am grateful to them for making their art available to those of us who can’t afford the originals.  I admire what they do so I am happy to spend my money on their work.  I just wish that there was a way to ensure that the real fans get a chance to buy the prints at a reasonable price before art resellers get their greedy hands on them.


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