It may not be what you think…
(3 minute read)
I spent most of the holidays visiting my daughter and her spouse on the east coast. We always have interesting conversations (in a good way) and this time was no exception.
One topic that came up was, why don’t millennials buy art? The list of reasons she gave was astonishing, and all of them made perfect sense. (Spoiler alert: Millennials DO buy art. Maybe just not OUR art.)
And there are lots of reasons why.
One of my New Year’s Intention (I’m giving up on “resolutions”) is to write shorter more articles in series, breaking up a topic into a series of points. We’ll see how long that lasts, because my style is my own, and I’m not ashamed of that. You either have five or six minutes to enjoy my journey to clarity, or you don’t.
Still, this topic is worth expanding upon, and I’d like you to participate.
In the comments below, please list your opinion about why people—but especially millennials, defined as younger adults from who were born between 1981-1996 (age 23 to 38 in 2019) are not buying our work. I’ll answer as many as I can, and share the reasons I’ve discovered, in columns to come.
Do you believe they don’t appreciate “real art” over something found at Target? Share it in the comments!
And a small request: Ask with an open heart, and a willingness to expand your understanding. That way, we can all move forward with insights that could help us all.
Also, keep your heart protected, because some of the insights will be hard to hear. None of them are directed to any of us personally. My intention is not to make anyone feel bad, but to increase our understanding of the reality of a lot of millennials today, and having compassion for the straits many of them are in. (#NotAllMillennials etc.)
So as not to keep your hanging (too much), I share one reason (out of many) why the market for my own more expensive work has fallen off:
Most of people who originally collected my bigger, more expensive work were older than I, and several have already died. Or they’re still here, but they’ve downsized their home, and have no more room for more art.
We’ve experienced this ourselves. Moving from New Hampshire to California did this to us. We’ve already had to move to a new rental in the five years we’ve been here, and each new home has been smaller than the one we had before it. We’ve gone from a 2,500+sf home to 980sf. (We’re not retired, as one reader inquired, that’s all we can afford here in California. Plus we’re renting, AND we own three cats and a dog, so we’re lucky we even found a place to rent. Ouch!)
I simply have no more wall space for new art. There isn’t room for half the art I already own!
Hold this in your heart: The deepest, most powerful reason for making our art is that it gets us to our highest, best place in the world. It heals us.
Everything else is gravy.
Another spoiler alert: Your homework, should you choose to accept it, is to check out this book preview titled KIDS THESE DAYS by Malcom Harris. If nothing else, it will help explain “OK Boomer”.
My favorite? People my age constantly complain that “young people today” are on their phones all the time. Do you know what they’re doing?
They are reading. Articles. Columns. News. Letters, long (blog posts or Facebook posts) and short (texts and other instant messaging from friends and family.) Listening to music. Watching videos and movies. Doing research.
You know what tech innovations older people have complained about for the last three thousand years? Claiming that these “new inventions” are destroying human society?
Books. Newspapers. Radio. Hi-fi. Equality for women, people of color, people of “questionable” or “unacceptable” gender. Resentment against Italian and Irish immigrants. Celebrating Christmas with gift-giving and festive trees. Dancing. Moving pictures (aka “movies”.) Umbrellas and chess.
Enough! Post your “reasons why millennials don’t buy art” below, and check in next week.
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