Win some – lose some

We’ve all been there… Whether it be waiting online for tickets to become available for a must-see, but massively popular concert, or hanging on until the last second to hit the ‘buy’ button on Ebay, I’m familiar with the rush of adrenaline and excitement that comes from winning and the heart sinking despondency that ensues as someone else snatches away a coveted potential purchase.

In some ways there’s a certain democracy about buying things online – we’re all in it together, but there are ways to break the rules and that’s what I hate – unfair play. I’m not referring to asking multiple friends to get in an online queue on your behalf to help acquire Glastonbury or Eurovision tickets or even using software to help ease Ebay bidding, though I’ve never done this.

I’m talking about the nefarious folk that routinely scoop up items ahead of everyone else purely for the money. I put them in the same category as those who have ruined the fun and excitement of Record Store Day, something I have previously blogged about. There are genuine fans out there, people who collect for the love of it and then there are those that see fans as targets for easy profit. Those who sell in-demand products and commodities online know that this happens and many even make statements denouncing such underhand activities, yet it persists…

Art by Shepard Fairey: Hope, Obey and Make art not war.

I recently tried to buy a limited edition print by one artist whose work I admire, Shepard Fairey. It was a portrait of another artist I admire, Keith Haring. If you don’t recognise Fairey’s name, you will know his art, whether it be his iconic HOPE portrait of President Barrack Obama or his infamous OBEY image of André the Giant. Both are featured in the excellent film, OBEY GIANT.

“My prints are priced well below market value because I want them to be affordable to true fans of my art. I have no problem with people collecting my prints and selling older prints to free up funds to purchase newer prints they prefer. However, some people buy the prints just to re-sell them on Ebay immediately. I call these people “flippers” and they keep a true fan of the piece from being able to purchase it at a low price. YOU are displacing people who want to keep, and not re-sell the art”. – Shepard Fairey.

The above quote is an extract from a large statement on the website of the artist himself who is acutely aware of what is happening. I was unsuccessful in my attempt to buy the print I wanted. I got my order in within five seconds, but seconds later it was taken away during the click-through to pay. Within minutes, a couple of them naturally appeared on Ebay at inflated prices, a disrespectful slap in the face of the artist and his desire for fairness.

Oh well, you win some and you lose some, and I’m not that flush for cash at the moment anyway. My workload is slowly creaking back into action as we move through the pandemic, we are living through history, and looking back, the pandemic will have etched itself into my consciousness more than missing out on an art print ever could. Complaining about such things while people are dying seems churlish but, if nothing else, that’s what blogs are for…

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