I haven't supported the Walmart mega giant in about four years. It just isn't for me, especially after I worked briefly for them (and walked out one shift).
Something that has always confused me is the home decor (art?) they have available. Is it considered true art? Where exactly does this affordable work come from? What’s the draw to it?
Not wanting to be ill-prepared for this post, I grudgingly visited the Walmart website and after enduring the convoluted process of searching Home --> Home Decor --> Art & Wall Decor...I came across over 2000 items to browse through. There were some decent pieces, all at very reasonable price points (which for somebody like myself without a whole lot of cash in my wallet is attractive). What WASN'T appealing to me was that nowhere on the majority of the artwork or in the description was credit to the artist who actually created the piece...did the Walmart fairies come in late at night and paint them all?!
Everything felt rather mass-produced, generic, and without emotion. Basically a cookie cutter style where there are thousands of the same thing available. If they go out of stock? No worries, wait a week and more will be shipped in from who knows where. Where are the beautiful brush strokes? How about the opportunity to meet the artist, or at least follow them online? Support local? Doubt it!
I could easily continue to stand on my soap box here and berate these big box stores, but who is that helping? What I would like to instill here is my personal mission to support local, support our Canadian artists, and inspire my community to do the same.
There is something SO rewarding about purchasing a piece of artwork that you can't live without, that evokes such strong emotions within you that you can't imagine not having the opportunity to look at it in your space each day. Not only are you supporting local, you're helping to give that artist more opportunities to pursue their passion and continue creating work that inspires those around you. You're helping them to break free from the conventional norm and do something that they can't wait to wake up to and dive into each day.
Now you may be thinking that I'm a pompous ass right about now that can afford to purchase original artwork weekly...NOT the case! Occasionally I fall so deeply in love with an original piece that I somehow make it work (AKA: eating ramen for a month), but more often than not, I opt for a print.
How is this different from a mass-produced print from Walmart?
From my experience, the prints I gravitate towards and carry in my shop are often created in small batches either by the artist directly, or through a local print shop. Many of them are signed, or have the artist's name on them at the very least. A few of our prints on canvas are even hand-embellished with paint or gold leaf, so you're still getting an original piece of sorts!
There's emotion here, regardless if they're prints or originals. The art is raw, entirely unique, and thought provoking...no cookie cutter shapes here.
How to transition to local artwork? Some thoughts:
- Visit local art shops (like Karmyc Bazaar)! You'd be surprised at the selection available and vast price ranges your local shops offer. You'll also be able to chat with a real live person who is passionate and knowledgeable about who and what they're featuring.
- Attend local artisan markets. Here you can meet the artist who created the piece you've fallen in love with; hearing about their creative process and inspiration is a beautiful experience.
- Notice the art on your local coffee shop's walls. The SUPPORT LOCAL movement is growing, and many of our favorite haunts are now featuring local artwork. I've found some of my most adored artists this way.
My passion for creativity is undeniable. It makes me me, and I wouldn't have it any other way. What or who inspires you? I'd love to hear what gets you choked up!