Friday, June 3, 2011

Medium vs Value

Should a piece of art's medium dictate the value of a finished piece? This is a question that I have been asking myself a lot lately. I have noticed (especially at art and craft shows) that people will often be drawn towards my work. However, once they find out that my medium is polymer, they casually toss it on the table as if it no longer has any value. I have been quite baffled by this response. An artist who works in precious metals will have pieces with an initial value simply because of the medium used, however I don't think that their work should be regarded as more valuable than something made of a different medium. A simple pair of silver hoops can be melted down for their silver but they shouldn't have more value than a piece of art jewelry made from humbler beginnings of clay or beads. Every artist must take into consideration the cost of materials and the time spent when determining the cost of the finished piece. The archival quality of the piece must also be considered. An artist who works in pencil or charcoal will typically charge less for their work than someone working in oils. However, I don't think that the difference in medium should determine whether the piece of art holds any value. When purchasing a piece of art, you aren't paying for the medium(s) used. You are paying for what the artist has CREATED with those mediums. Here are some examples of what can be done with some humbler materials...paint on cardboard,  a pencil and paper, some beads, a bit of clay and most importantly, a lot of talent and imagination ...

Toulouse Lautrec- oil painted on cardboard


J.W. Waterhouse study for Hylas and the Nymphs.
Sun Face Goddess Necklace by Beaded Art Jewelry


Citron Ruffle Collar by Elise Winters- polymer clay

These are pieces that are beautiful and inspiring. They show that value of art lies not in the medium but in the talent within the artist's hands.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week!


  1. I could not agree more! This is an argument much older than our grandparents...seriously. When I was in school acrylic paints were frowned upon in favor of oils. We were taught that the argument of one medium over another went back centuries and would continue to happen even with future mediums not yet created. It is the nature of human thought.
    I still agree with my professor that said, "it is not the medium it is what you do with it."

  2. Great article!
    Thanks for sharing ;-)