Blog / 2024 / The Alchemy of Art in a Capitalist Society

June 24, 2024

Money does not equal love. Anyone with even a modestly healthy understanding of the world knows this. But what’s less well understood is that when you give money to artists—through microdonations or by buying their art for example—that legal tender becomes love.

process of painting a portrait of a smiling woman
painting process

Sometimes, this magical transformation is more obvious, like when the people in these portraits purchased the paintings. But, no matter how subtle, the change always occurs, because art itself is love. Making art is an act of love, because artists are creating things whose only real purpose is to touch the hearts of other people.

process of painting a portrait of a smiling woman
painting process

And the alchemy of art goes beyond that too. When you give money to artists, you’re refusing to accept some of the more misanthropic ideas that squirm around in the core of capitalism, eating away at our humanity. I’m talking about things like thinking that people who have a lot of money must automatically be more worthy than others or like believing that when a person isn’t being paid much that much means their job isn’t important.

process of painting a portrait of a sweet dog
painting process

Art gleefully sabotages all that garbage philosophy just by existing. Why would people do this thing that almost never pays well when society tells them that their human worth is equivalent to their bank account’s worth? Why would someone make the effort to create when everything around them is telling them to consume?

portraits of a couple and their dog, paintngs by Lambertville artist Gwenn Seemel
Gwenn Seemel
Cindi, Sue, and Cece
acrylic on paper
7 x 14 inches (combined dimensions)

When you pay artists, you’re helping them push the limits of what’s possible, and you’re helping society as a whole dismantle these harmful ways of thinking. When you give money to artists, it becomes love.

Maybe this post made you think of something you want to share with me? Or perhaps you have a question about my art? I’d love to hear from you!


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