Recently I attended an Art fair where artisans from all over the country had assembled to display their art and handicraft. Most of these artisans were from remote tribal areas which are so rich in Art that it is a way of their life. These included Gond artists from Madhya Pradesh, Madhubani from Bihar, metal workers from Bhuj, Dhokra from Chattisgarh, etc.
I was at a stall buying some Dhokra neck pieces. Now for people who don't know about Dhokra art, there are intricately made metal pieces where molten brass is poured into moulds and then baked and polished. It is quite a lengthy procedure. There was this other lady too who had picked up some pieces. The cost of each neck piece was Rs 160. Now, anyone would agree that it is really cheap. I saw this lady bargaining with this tribal artist. I politely intervened and told her that considering he has come all the way from a remote village in Chattisgarh and factoring in all the overhead expenses, it is very little that would get and Rs 160 is indeed very cheap. She immediately got the point and bought it at the actual price.
Now why am I writing this? I realized that not many people would know the effort that goes into hand crafting a piece of art. Ever since I've started creating and selling hand crafted items, I'm even more appreciative of other artists especially the tribal ones. They are so unassuming about their art. They live in difficult conditions and still create astounding pieces of art.
So if I may make 2 requests here. One is avoid bargaining with artists, because by experience I know it is very difficult to price your own creations and for many that may be the only source of sustenance. May be one could just ask politely if they can reduce the price just once if you really can't afford it. But haggling over the piece of art makes the artist very uncomfortable. Secondly, try to buy directly from artists as far as possible. From my own experience of selling through various stores, most of which charge a commission of 40%, I feel really happy when people directly buy from me. I'm able to sell things at a discounted price and yet able to make a decent profit.
And I'm sure it's the same with other artists too. Most people would not know this. Please do not mistake this as an indirect hint to buy from me. I'm talking about artists in general. Most artists would bless people who buy their art which transforms the energy of the place. I surely do. So please be more kind and considerate towards artists. Art brings smiles to faces and delights the heart. Let's help spread that..:-)