The no pain picture show

I was catching up on This American Life this week and caught this great one from April 21, Picture Show, which presented a broad range of stories in which getting a picture gave someone the upper hand.

The last story was about artists who had been approached by a man in England who claimed his autistic son loved their work. They happened to all be artists whose work sells for large sums of money. Somewhat surprisingly, many of them sent this man one of their drawings or small pieces for his son. Drawings that are worth a thousand dollars or more.

On investigating the story, the TAL crew discovered the man did have an autistic son, but it seemed clear that although the boy might like art, the father’s motive was probably more financial. Having learned all this, one of the artists still sent a drawing and others said they were okay with what the father was doing.

What does all this mean?

Here’s reporter Scott Pinkmountain winding it up:

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this experience it’s that, man, artists are an easy mark, because it’s so obvious what they want. They want to reach people. Otherwise, why show your art? Why be an artist? So all you have to say is “I’m moved by what you do” or “My kid is moved by what you do.” So many artists are like, “You want to pay me? Great. But you say you love my work? Even better. Let me send you some.”

I was so happy to hear this odd and funny story that illustrates something I’ve always believed, it almost took away the pain of all these endless glazes I am currently doing.




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