Today’s post is a food-for-thought instalment. And maybe a study in perception. And behavioural psychology. And belief. Let me know what you think.
Here’s an article from today’s paper.
Unsuspecting tourists who thought they were buying cheap Banksy knock-offs have scored the bargain of a lifetime after the elusive street artist revealed the paintings were really his. Banksy used an anonymous old man to sell several of his original works for $60 from a stall in New York’s Central Park on Sunday. The paintings are actually worth around $42,400 each. It took hours for the man to make his first sale, no doubt because everyone thought he was selling counterfeits. His first customer was a woman who bought two small canvases for her children – but only after haggling him down to a half-price discount.
Banksy – a pseudonym for the world-famous English graffiti artist whose identity is unknown – revealed the ruse on his website today. ”Yesterday I set up a stall in the park selling 100 per cent authentic original signed Banksy canvases. For $60 each,” he wrote. “Please note: This was a one off. The stall will not be there again today.”
Hmm… so what we have is art that normally sells for more than $40,000 per piece on sale for sixty bucks at a stall in Central Park. That’s quite the discount. And quite the investment opportunity. Interestingly, thousands of people walked past the very expensive originals by a world-renowned artist and chose not to buy them. For hours. For whatever reason, thousands of people didn’t feel that what they saw was worth the $60 investment.
“Unsuspecting tourists who thought they were buying cheap Banksy knock-offs…”
Isn’t it interesting to note that, when confronted with the real thing (original works of art), people couldn’t tell? Thousands of people. Maybe their version of reality had nothing to do with the authentic paintings they were looking at and everything to do with the price? “Oh, it’s only $60… it must be rubbish”.
But transplant those same works of art to a different setting (a swanky gallery, perhaps) on a different day with different price tags and you’ll see people climbing over each other to part with vast amounts of money for something that thousands of New Yorkers didn’t want for sixty bucks. Different mindset, beliefs, expectations and price.