Original art work can be prohibitively expensive. However, one local artist, Jessica Whiting, is in the midst of a project called The First 50 that makes buying fine art affordable.
Whiting is selling her first 25 alcohol-ink paintings for $150 each, an amount that just covers the cost of supplies for the two-foot-by-40-inch paintings, and auctioning off the last 25 with a starting bid of $150. Her overall goal is to achieve the famed “10,000 hours” needed to gain mastery in her chosen field. “At this stage in my art career, I’m not looking to get rich; I’m really focused on getting my practice hours and developing my art form,” says Whiting. “And the best way to do that is to be able to turn art over quickly.”
The low price point means she’s able to do just that, as Whiting will typically sell her creations within a few days of the ink drying. With this quick turnaround, she believes she’ll be able to achieve her 10,000 hours in six years.
Whiting will also donate three paintings, collectively worth $2,100, to be auctioned off by the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, a cause she cares deeply about as both her own children and her friend’s children have benefited from its help.
The Foundation has offered to auction off any remaining pieces once the collection is completed, but Whiting says she doubts that will be necessary. “Everyone that I’ve sold [a painting] to has basically said, ‘I need more, I want a second and third piece,’ because they love the art, but they want to fill a bigger space,” she says. “Once I finish the 50, I think I will start doing much bigger pieces.”
Whiting believes her project also caters to a demand for low-cost fine art. “I see so much beautiful art and it’s out of my price point,” she says.
“I can appreciate why a lot of art is that price, but I don’t feel like the alternative should be to buy a print from Winners or HomeSense. There’s a huge area in between that I feel a lot of people would fit into.”
For more information, visit jpwhiting.com
[This article was changed from the version printed in the magazine to reflect the two ways Whiting’s first 50 paintings will be sold (half through sales, half through auctions). It has also been changed to reflect an updated donation of three paintings to be auctioned off by the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.]