Why Own Original Art?

Exploring the Human Need to Create and Own Art

Article by John LaBry

Photography by LaBry Fine Art

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

In a time when technology has allowed us to place large flatscreens on our walls that can flood our lives with images of just about anything, one might ask why we should even consider original works of art.

To many, a desire for and a need to own original art is not something they can question even explain. It speaks to something deep in the psyche. To most, though, the question is why, when it costs so much more than a pretty reproduction.

So let's look back in time a little to see if there are hints as to why humans have had the need to create and own beautiful art.

Among the earliest archeological evidence of Homo sapiens, there exist magnificent galleries of art, most widely known from the French and Spanish caves of Lascaux, Chauvet and Altamira. The paintings in these cavernous galleries date back as much as 40,000 years, and they appear to have been a culmination, at that time, of a long evolution of artistic expression.

What was it that possessed our ancient ancestors to create and appreciate these paintings that we still consider beautiful today? They were stylized representations of creatures that shared their environment, and yet much more than that. Were they invocations to their deities to ensure a good hunt, the visions of shamans in altered states of consciousness, psychological expressions of social context, or the creation of beauty as a respite from the visceral stresses of their world at the time? Perhaps all of the above.

Certainly, these creations demonstrated in humans something that makes us unique: the singular capacity to imagine. Imagination allowed us to envision what could be and caused us to not be content with just what was. It is the engine that has taken us to where we are today. Art is the embodiment of imagination, of our ability to abstract what we see, what we envision and what we dream.

As agriculture developed and societies became more complex, their art became more complex. It became the media for recording events, justifying and aggrandizing those in authority, and beautifying public and private spaces. Grand examples were the province of those with wealth, but even those in the lower ranks of society sought and created objects that would bring pleasure to their eyes and souls.

Over time, art developed not only aesthetic value in our minds but monetary value as well. Societies raided competing societies for their wealth, which included their most prized arts. And to this day, what do we prize most and preserve of bygone societies? Our museums focus on the art of these past societies, not their financial records. And yes, we are interested in the technologies they developed, but it is the art that is dominant in our public collections. It is the art of these ancestral peoples that we often travel far and wide to see in the great museums of the world.

Throughout our time on this planet, art has been essential in connecting us to the spiritual, in providing comfort and joy, in recording life and important events, in expressing what cannot be put into words and also at times in bringing wealth.

So what of today, in our technology-filled world? Well, original art enriches a home and can provide any feeling you would want to promote. Original fine art is not mere decor. It is a statement. It inspires conversation. It articulates its owner’s taste and personality and the image he or she wants to project far better than any machine-reproduced images can ever do.

Each item produced by an artist is unique, or at least one of a limited edition, as in cast sculptures, fine art photographs or etchings. Our community has many fine artists who deserve our support so they can continue to enrich our lives.

Some of the featured images are available for purchase at the gallery.

LaBry Fine Art, 404 S. Eighth St., Suite 166, Boise, Idaho, 208.985.6337,

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