I went to an art auction with Schmutzie and Palinode where we endeavoured to sell Schmutzie's very first framed photo (and we did! Woohoo!) I go to this auction every year but have never bought anything because I couldn't imagine spending that much money on a piece of art. (Keep in mind that this is the gal who can't bring herself to spend more than $40 on a pair of pants.) But this time, I was determined to leave with something. I needed to make a grown-up purchase, something that said, "I have arrived," and marked the fact that I finally have my first permanent career-type job. I didn't want to walk away with just any piece of art, but wanted to be open to buying something that jumped out at me, that spoke to me, that made me feel something. I walked in and immediately saw it:
I loved the bright colours, the way the artist had framed it, and the warm feeling it gave me. I knew it needed to be mine and immediately devised a strategy to make it so.
Here is my thinking on silent auctions: there is no point in bidding on the item throughout the night because you're just driving up the price and tipping off your opponent that you're interested in the piece. What you do is let the other people duke it out in a bidding war, lull them into a false sense of security, and then sweep in at the last second and outbid them.
Nasty, I know. But all's fair in love and art, right? And you've already been warned that Savia always comes out on top.
Throughout the night, I talked to people around the auction, asking about the artist and how much his work usually goes for. A friend of mine told me a story that made me want the painting even more. Apparently, the artist's work used to be really angry and dark. In fact, he did a whole series that focused on tombstones and rats. And then, he fell in love and his art completely changed. This painting was a reflection of that.
I monitored the bidding on the piece, watched the price rise from $175 to $200, figured out who had won the bidding war and kept an eye on him, a dude who was ruthlessly pursuing a number of works that night. It was clear he was determined to get every piece he had his eye on, and money was no object. I watched the smug look of victory on his face, until the final 30 seconds of the auction, when I waited until his back was turned and crept in to outbid him by $5. As I walked casually away from the table, I felt such a rush of adrenaline. Did I just do that? Did I just spend that much on art? Did I just swipe that painting out from under someone else's charge card?
Man, was he pissed.
When I signed over my life (ouch - that signature smarted a bit) and actually got the painting, I hugged it and named it Fred the Love Painting and said, "Don't worry, Fred, I will love you and hug you and take good care of you and appreciate you every single day. You can't tell me that smarmy dude would have done that. I'll never let anything bad happen to you, I promise."
Fred's up in my new office and makes me smile everytime I look at him. There's something about art that makes your day a bit brighter. And thinking about the love that went into the painting makes a big difference, too. Others feel it as well. Anyone who comes into my office is automatically drawn to Fred, by the colours and the lines. It makes me happy to see them enjoying him, too. He's the kind of love painting that just keeps on giving.
Best $205 I ever spent. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think the little dude needs a hug.