“It’s like a down payment on a larger painting, but you get to enjoy something in the meantime!”

The Trade Up program:
Not unlike or uncommon to the diamond and jewelry industries, this so called,”trade up” idea is not new either. And it certainly adds new dimension to the worth of a sale of my artwork. Almost, exactly like purchasing a down payment on a large piece, but getting to enjoy something in the meantime. I declare that in putting my best efforts into each piece at the time and in that level of understanding, if I signed it, good, bad, masterful, or downright vulgar, and you feel my style has changed, grown, you’re just over the painting and feel newer work is more intriguing to you, or perhaps you just envision a larger painting in the area where a smaller one of mine is currently, or any other reason, if I have something of interest, in my gallery (and of course, not obligated to a show, etc.), I will trade your painting at its current size-value in and towards a painting of a larger size. There will be an exchange of money (no straight across) this keeps me in practice, and your investment moving forward. I don’t care if you paid more for something somewhere else, you helped both me and a gallery owner make a living, and supported fine art in the world, but I will trade the painting in. It will get its current size/value in Salida, CO, in exchange for a painting of a larger size, plus the difference. Currently, I know of no other painter that stands behind their work in this manner.

A bit about pricing:
This whole idea has been floating around in the chasms of my brain for some time now. A lot of ins, outs, and what-have-yous to consider. Having a brick and mortar studio/gallery with tourist foot traffic (important, new eyes on the work), has given me insites and opportunities which I acknowledge, do not extend themselves to artists strictly working through galleries. These unique advantages accellerate growth only through an alignment to a pricing structure based mainly on the demographic of the tourist attracted to the area in which you are working, and one’s output of work.  I am here in Salida, CO and I am VERY prolific.  You may pay more for one of my original paintings at a gallery that I show work in around the country. They are hopefully in alignment to their pricing structure/tourist demographic. In Jackson Hole, WY, it is more expensive to buy a bottle of water, and it is more expensive to buy a one-of-a-kind painting. The galleries there have high rents, people manning it, etc. so this is the added bit that you pay for when you buy a painting in that area, besides it’s sexy to buy a painting of the Tetons in Jackson Hole! I give my gallery there first rights of refusal on work they value, after that, it’s available from me via my Gallery/Studio here in Salida, and more than likely, at less cost. This is of particular advantage to any savvy collector. You of course will pay a premium at a show opening, a gathering or gala, a high end gallery, but since they are originals, you could miss often the BEST work by me or any artist, so buy on at those! If you’re a careful buyer, you know to look up the artist online and work directly with them. I, of course, encourage it because it benefits my business model. PLUS it is a very PURE way of actually STEERING your way through this quagmire of galleries, greed, and bloated pricing structures while developing and honing your skills as a visual poet.

There’s power in originals:
You’ll have to excuse the PURE entry in the paragraph above, as I personally claim no reputation of PURENESS, or feel any judgement towards people finding their way in this art world. I do feel that printing Giclee prints of your original paintings undermines the work we collectively do as representional oil painters for the following 5 reasons:
1. There is first and foremost, paint quality to consider. A print will never have the effect of an original as you walk around the room and don’t break eye contact with the painting. Those microscopic ridges created by a brush, the sparkle from a plane of a palette knife slash, reflect whatever lighting is in the room in the most marvelous ways. This brings an aliveness to the work. The paint quality is unduplicatable, and we need people to be addicted to it. THIS SHOULD BE ENOUGH.. but if it isn’t read on!
2. It reeks of commercial art (which is fine, I was a commercial artist for many years, but it is not the same when you’re painting and expressing your life on a canvas for the world to judge and purchase one original at a time.)  So you found a subject that sells, print it out a 100, why not a 1000 times. Sell all of them…frame all of them…at great cost to your own time. I have dozens of paintings I could do giclees of but will not. What if every good painter did giclees….it’s just not good for you or any other representational painter or the movement.
3. Your own development as a painter will suffer because of the time taken with framing, inspecting, hand embellishing (the most vulgar of the print market), and selling them.
4. Saturation of your own market. This makes it actually more difficult to sell the original for an ungodly price (not advised), while taking away the scarcity and romance of owning a singular original work of art.
5. Creates difficulty for other emerging artist and peers in your genre. This is more subtle, but still VERY real. An artist’s prices in today’s art world are largely, and ought to be, based on their “brand” or “reputation,” and more importantly, the demand for their work.  Say you find an artist that you like, and the prices of their originals are out of your budget, so you buy a print of their work (a fine giclee, printed off of a lazer jet printer on a canvas size of your choice, frame of your choice, $2000.00 later), fine (yes, it’s legal), but it wouldn’t it have been better for the entire representational art world as a whole, to instead, seek out an emerging artist of equal and sometimes greater skill, but that hasn’t been in the scene as long, with lesser or no brand or reputation, and DISCOVER a learning, and churning, somebody!

Collectors: GO SEEK FIND!!    Artists: WE’VE ALL BEEN THIS PERSON.. we so often forget.

So as a painter of original oil paintings only, know that buying one helps me continue a deep practice along a blessed path, and that I block no other’s path or progression. Plus it CAN also be a down payment on a larger piece.

This comes, finally, as a result of a FACEBOOK rant I had. Click HERE to read the thread.


  1. Jim Graehl March 9, 2015 at 7:44 pm #

    I’m stoked with your boldness. What a pioneer! trendsetter! Your upgrade idea is thought provoking, and that’s a good thing. It shows your confidence and overall free thinking. And your work stands behind it. I actually contacted you regarding that very thing but in my case I’d rather keep the smaller piece and try to get a larger piece someday as it turns out. Jim

  2. Todd Derr March 16, 2016 at 2:19 pm #

    Hey, Josh
    I came back today to read this. I had read it back when you first posted it on facebook and it really resonated with me, particularly in regard to prints(copies). I had at one time tried the print on demand thing, but over time I began see it for just like you explained.
    You’re bold stance and the respect I have for you as an artist and person; solidified my decision to only offer original work myself.

    So, just wanted to let you know, what you are doing has made a difference, at least for me.
    Looking forward to the day we can hook up and paint.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *