The winner of a free original work of art by Carla E. Reyes is…

Ada Nieves!

Ada was selected at random from the participants of the art survey I created, and will be the recipient of a custom work of art in the subject matter, theme, and color scheme of her choice; my signature style of painted mixed media collage.

You can learn a bit about Ada by visiting her website: She is quite a creative lady herself!

Thanks to everyone who participated in my art survey back in May 2009. It has taken a while to compile all the responses I gathered from various websites including Facebook, Twitter, and my WordPress blog…Participants were male and female, ranging in age from early twenties to seventies, artists and non-artists, working in a range of occupations. The responses were interesting, enlightening, and in some cases unexpected. I wanted to share the results in an effort to help clear up misconceptions about art appreciation and art buying and contribute to the cause of making art more accessible to everyone!

80% of participants own at least one original work of art (not mass produced). Half of these art owners were given art as a gift or inherited it from family; the other half purchased the work themselves. Of those who purchased the work, the majority bought the art directly from an artist, most often in an art fair or outdoor art market. Many also purchased work while traveling; from a local artist working in a traditional medium of the area being visited – as a souvenir with cultural significance. One fifth of the art buyers report shopping for art at commercial art galleries. A small fraction of those interviewed consider themselves “art collectors.” The types of art owned by the respondents range from paintings, to limited edition prints, to ceramics, needlework, masks to sculptures.

Those who don’t own original art say that the price range is the biggest factor. Lack of space to display work was a close second. Surprisingly, framing decisions came up often as a hindrance to buying original paintings – people find it difficult, inconvenient and costly to get work framed, and don’t seem to think that a work can stand alone on a wall without a frame. They expressed that a more reasonable price range and availability of smaller works would make original art buying more accessible. Many also expressed a lack of “art knowledge” makes them feel unworthy of investing in original art.

Half of respondents say they visit a major museum at least once a month. One fifth say they visit art galleries regularly. The top museum visited was, by far, MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) in NYC (the majority of respondents live in the Northeastern USA). Other museums mentioned were the Brooklyn Museum, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. A few mentioned art fairs and many said they visit more museums when traveling to other cities, than their own. For those who report not visiting museums or galleries, they say that having more spare time and/or closer proximity to arts institutions would be encouraging. Many expressed that gallery environments tend to be “snobby” or unwelcoming, and the “pressure to buy” discourages them from visiting.

When asked about my work, respondents found the Miscommunications Series of mixed media collages the most compelling, with the Urban Impressionism Series and Zen Gardens a close second. The Microbes Series was also voted high.


Above: Miscommunications Study, 2008, acrylic + mixed media collage on canvas board with hand painted wood frame, 5in x 7in, (c) Carla E. Reyes, Sold/Private Collection

(The least favorite were the UPC paintings, which were painted as a special commission for someone with a more graphic, minimalist aesthetic. The flower gardens were also mentioned as less compelling than most of the other work by people who say they don’t care for floral themes and motifs in general.)

I was pleased to find that the majority of participants owned original art regardless of their background or involvement with the art world, and found value in it on a personal level. I was also thrilled to hear that so many purchased work directly from artists and expressed an interest in supporting the arts. It is understandable that price is an issue with regard to art buying, but I wonder what is considered a “reasonable price range”? In a day and age where it is common to own a mobile phone that costs $500, what is considered expensive? I am sad to hear that galleries still create an unwelcoming atmosphere for potential art buyers, and I hope that people can ignore this attitude, be brave, and just march in and appreciate the work whether they plan to buy or not. The only way to learn about art is to visit galleries and museums and see what is out there! And you don’t have to be an art historian to respond to something so universally human! Everyone’s personal response to art is valid and shouldn’t be discouraged!

As a result of this survey I will be offering more services to my potential collectors. As I mentioned, I was surprised to find how much of an issue framing is, and how much people appreciated my works that are pre-framed or utilize decorative frames as part of the art. I will be partnering with my dad – a great carpenter and all around craftsman, to create frames for future works, and as a custom service for anyone buying an existing piece. I am also happy to assist with hanging and placement, as well as providing written materials and references that inspired the work.

For the past two years my work has been  represented by Raandesk Gallery of Art, NYC; an innovative, emerging, art dealer that combines virtual exhibitions with live events and shows at a variety of venues in addition to a gallery space. After June 30, 2009 I have chosen to fly solo and represent my own work for personal reasons, but will still be involved with the gallery by participating in their Raandesk Kids! Art workshops (be sure to sign the kids up for my fall collage workshop!) and their ART2GIFT group show in the pre-holiday season (small works under $500). For those of you who joined their mailing lists and groups I encourage you to stay connected, as they have the same mission as I do – to make art accessible! That being said, since I will not be obligated to pay commission to a gallery, I can afford to sell my art at a more reasonable retail price, so I hope you will revisit my available works which are all online at Etsy allows for credit card/PayPal transactions and is free to create an account. If there are works you like but you’d like to pay in installments, I am happy to extend a payment plan. I am also available to work with you on a custom commissioned work of art in a wide variety of media and subject matter!

You can follow my updates on Twitter @craftsy (my username), join my Facebook fan page: Carla E. Reyes – Painter + Mixed Media Artist, view my work at, and read about my work on my wordpress blog: