explored the possibilities . . . art, life, love . . . in three words
Thursday, June 26, 2008
. . . pondered economic realities
Every day I talk to more people who are really struggling to make ends meet. . . people who are accustomed to a comfortable lifestyle but who are suddenly faced with the reality that they can't pay the mortgage this month, or who have to decide whether to pay the utility bills or the credit card payments. People who have tapped out their hard-earned savings accounts; people who are borrowing from their retirement accounts for living expenses. This economy has really trickled down to all levels except for the very rich, who according to the newspapers and television continued to amass wealth in record amounts.
My daughter wondered how her father and I had weathered the economic difficulties in the 1970s. (Thankfully both daughter and son are doing well.) As I thought more about this, I realized we had been so poor as married students that we weren't really aware there was a nationwide economic downturn. Our finances had never upturned so we just carried on. After my husband graduated from college in 1975, we moved to the armpit of America, somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, in a town of about 200 people, and we bought our first house for $2,500. Yeah, really. I took a new job, because my old job paid about $350 per month, and the new one raised me to $400. When we moved again, we bought a house for $25,000, and we were lucky enough to get a mortgage interest rate at 12% assumable through a county bond issue. This was at a time when interest rates were about 18%. We had cars, food and a roof over our heads and we were always broke.
This economic downturn has me wondering about my target art audience. . . about how ordinary folks can be expected to buy art now. I have read where certain works of art are setting record prices at auction houses. I have read about stolen art purchased in certain markets with drug money that is held as collateral for underground loans to terrorists for the purchase of arms and ammo. But for most people, art is a luxury. And these are not luxurious times.
The bleak picture above is a digital collage using my own photograph of a tree in winter superimposed on one of my black-and-white monoprints. Maybe this is the art to be making right now?