How To Buy Art Responsibly and Ethically
6 months and counting. That is how long I have been dealing with the discovery of some of my biggest pieces of art, stolen and unethically sold online by the giants of the cheap online products, Ali Express
Following my recent posts on social media about the continuing theft of artists works, I got a lot of questions about how buyers can identify if the art being sold is ethically sourced/ liscensed or not.
Here’s some things to look out for as an art or home décor buyer
Companies that license from artists, will have an artists page on their website, they will have info on the piece, materials, and often, about the artist themselves. Ethically licensed work may have the artist signature on it or behind each artwork.
As a buyer, you can ask the seller about the license agreement of the art you are interested in. Ask to be connected with the artist, visit the artist page or website and check out their style before you make a purchase.
If the prices are unbelievably low, chances are, there’s definitely something “off” there. Real art has real prices. When a 24” x 36” “artwork” is being sold for $10 and free worldwide shipping, you can bet your last $ that it is 100% NOT ethically sourced.
Check out the website that is selling the art, if it has too many different styles, too many products, doesn’t have an artist page and offers worldwide free shipping, no matter what you buy, it could be that they are third part companies to bigger players like Ali Express
Dig a little deeper, do a Google reverse image search of the art, or an image search on Pinterest which will lead you to the source. Search on Etsy, search within your own country and you will quickly be able to identify the companies that are third party players to Ali Express, Wish, Shein and the likes.
Follow real people on social media, who create. Follow local Etsy craftspeople and support local art galleries, craft markets. Support your musicians, artists, jewelers, knitters, crafters, potters, poets, painters, sculptors. You will be able to share in the creativity of their everyday journeys, not just the pretty staged picture at the end.
Support does NOT necessarily mean a purchase. Most makers love the connection of the art and those who appreciate. Give feedback, leave reviews, follow on social media, comment on their post, share their journeys, ENGAGE at any level. Share our heartbreak too. As makers, we are deeply grateful for the love you share with us.