As an artist, I could tell you all of the many reasons why giving the gift of art is a great alternative to conventional manufactured gifts; the fact that it won't be outgrown or go out of style (if you love a work of art, you tend to love it for life), or the fact that it could very well increase in value with time (can you say that about your new iPad?). Still, the lingering doubt remains about giving art as a gift. Art is so personal and everyone has different tastes. The piece that you find just wonderful, your uncle could find boring, and the piece that he loves, you could consider disturbing. Who knows... that is, unless... you KNOW.
Through the years I have definitely sold artwork purchased as gifts for other people, and those relationships tend to be special ones. Partners, best friends, people you connect with on the deepest levels. Those are the people I tend to give art to as well in my own life. I know who in my family or group of friends would feel honored to receive a work of art - created by me or anyone else - and those who might feel almost burdened by it. "What do I do with this? Am I expected to hang it somewhere everyone will see it? But I don't even like it! And it doesn't match anything!" Clearly the gift of art isn't for everyone - but for some people, the people you know will love it and cherish it, hardly any other gift can hold a candle to it. I know for me, I was just today (Thanksgiving) wearing a beautiful bracelet that I know I got as a gift many years ago but I couldn't place when or for what. It bothered me that I had forgotten such a beautiful gift's history. Then I came home and washed my hands at the kitchen sink, looking up to see the stone statue my best friend bought for me from her time in Brazil. I don't care how many years go by, I'll always remember the story behind that piece. I know the story of the art I own better than any other worldly possession (save for my wedding ring).
If you have a person that you know inside and out that you think would love my art, I'd say you can trust your instincts in picking out a good piece for them. But if you are hesitant and would like to give them options, you can always buy an Etsy Gift Certificate (and be sure to direct them to my shop!).
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