Curses! Foiled Again!
My close friends (and probably casual acquaintances) know that I do not like working particularly hard. In fact, if there is an easy way to do something and an easy way to avoid doing something, there is 100% chance I will take the latter. However, I also have the other, unshakable desire to not be broke and tossed out onto the street by creditors. These two essences of my being are, at first glance, irreconcilable, however, with a little work (just a little) the two can be made to fit together in harmony. It was with this in mind that I set about to devise a master, genius plan to, once and for all, make lots of money while working very little.
I was going to become an international art thief.
No, not the cat burglar kind you see in the movies, where they have to study alarm systems and bypass all sorts of security measures, and then steal the works of art and get away undetected and then try to sell the art without being arrested. That is all way, way too much work. Rather my diabolical plan was to buy a few canvases, get paint in whatever colors are trendy this season, slap some of it on there in no particularly meaningful way but kinda make it look like it could almost be something and if you don't see it like I do then you must be some sort of Red State rube, give it some name suggesting political significance to give it some edge and cache' (like "George W. Bush Wants to Kill Your Grandma" or "Dolphin-Safe Tuna Net") and sign it with some exotic one word, artsy-like name (Yoko, for example).
Then - and this is the key - I would take it to a print shop, make a bunch of copies of it, sell the copies for mad money, and keep the originals. The thing about art collectors is that they a lot more money than common sense. After all, if they had a lot of sense, they wouldn't be dropping huge piles of cash on things like art, which gets put into a safe so that it retains its value. And if by chance the art collectors found out that they have paid a ton of money for copies and came to my house and killed me in a fit of rage, then my originals would become all the more valuable. A real win-win.
While I was wrestling with my moral qualms of taking advantage of clueless wealthy people, my plan was stopped dead in its tracks. Apparently, somebody had already beaten me to the punch. Well, not just somebody - a lot of somebodies. While I was at a local university attending a continuing education class, I happened upon a gallery showing of an area artist's recent work. After about two minutes of trying to decide whether the painting I was studying looked more like a hippopotamus carrying a balloon and riding in a pickup truck or a swarm of mutant lilacs devouring an eggplant, I decided to look at the description card and see which answer was correct. It was called "Springtime in Paris, 1965" so my guesses were waaaaay off. But that's not what floored me. It was the description of the materials: "Hewlett-Packard photo paper, Canon ink jet printer. 1/10. $2,500"
Photo paper? Ink Jet printer? 1/10? Confused, I asked the curator what the 1/10 meant? Was this painting, which was a pretty decent size at around 3 feet tall by 5 feet wide, a 1:10 miniature of the real thing? Is that what the 1/10 means?
After she laughed dismissively at me for a minute or two, she sniffed that this was a print, one of a numbered set, of which there were only 10, and this was number 1 of 10, so this was quite valuable, let me assure you.
You mean I don't get the original?
No, silly boy.
Who gets to keep the original?
Why, the artist of course. He has it proudly displayed on the wall of his Malibu residence.
Is this how all art gets sold nowadays?
And people know that they are buying stuff off a printer? And they pay $2,500 for it?
Clearly, art collectors have even less common sense than I had thought.