News and Articles

Why does art matter? Why should we support the arts?


First Published in Daily Review – 10 May 2018

Original article by Julian Burnside


Economic rationalists would point out that most artists are economically unviable. That is true, unfortunately. Creative artists generally have miserable incomes from their art, and survive by teaching or waiting on tables. Performing artists do not have it much better; depending on their speciality, they may have just as difficult a time as creative artists.

Economic rationalists would argue that pouring money into the arts makes no sense unless the consumer considers the transaction to deliver a nett benefit to them.

The economic rationalist will buy the painting which delivers them the greatest pleasure for the lowest price, even allowing that a part of the pleasure might derive from the conspicuously famous name of the artist.

The economic rationalist will not be tempted to provide philanthropic support for the arts, because that produces no saleable return.

So: does art actually matter?

Van Gogh sold very few paintings, and those for very little money. Cezanne was once booted out of his lodgings and the angry landlord hurled some of his paintings out of the attic window into the courtyard below. Similar examples can be multiplied endlessly.

Every work of art carries part of our shared culture and that fact gives the work its true value.

Would the world be poorer if van Gogh had never painted Starry Night, or if Cezanne had not painted  Les Grandes Bagneuses; or if van Gogh and Cezanne had never painted at all?

Would the world be poorer if Michelangelo had never painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or designed the Duomo in Florence;  if da Vinci had never painted; if Beethoven or Shostakovitch had never written a note of music?

Would the world be poorer if Shakespeare and Balzac had never written?

If we suspect that the world would be poorer without Beethoven and Mozart, without van Gogh and Cezanne; without Shakespeare and Balzac, we acknowledge the value of art for its own sake.

None of those people created material wealth. None of them derived great material wealth in their lifetimes. The price of unique paintings is a quirk of the market for commodities: the value of the works is spiritual.

Imagine this: a wealthy investor buys Mona Lisa, and announces that he intends to destroy it, privately. Most people would feel a sense of … loss.

Because a work of art is more than just a physical thing capable of being bought and sold. In important ways, every work of art carries part of our shared culture and that fact gives the work its true value: a value which bears very little relation to the operation of a market for unique commodities.

The destruction of the library at Byzantium in 1204 and the looting of the national museum of Baghdad in 2004 represent losses which not even the crassest economist has tried to measure in economic terms, because the calculation would be seen by everyone to miss the point completely.

Art connects us to the world, to each other, to others we can never meet or know. It affirms our relationship to the rest of humanity.

In a remarkable short story by Frederic Raphael, the author speaks of a man who, early in his university days, abandoned a hopeful career as a poet for the much more prosaic career of a lawyer. He prospers in his choice and is eventually appointed to the Bench. Upon his appointment, he has to vacate his chambers and this leads him to the bitter-sweet task of going through the accumulated papers of decades to decide what may be disposed of and what should be retained.

“He had quite forgotten about his adolescent poetry and was astonished to come across a batch of it at the bottom of a     cupboard.  He smiled – golly! – at the sight of it and took it out and started to read, for a laugh. He expected clinching evidence of the folly of youthful pretensions. His whole happy life had been founded on the assumption that he had been right to abdicate before his wife’s gentle, unmistakable judgment. He sat on the floor of his chambers, boyishly grey, and prepared to be embarrassed by those unburnt embers. Instead, the poems passed sentence on his life. At last, he closed his eyes to escape their indictment, but the unblinking eye in the centre of his forehead gazed and blazed with unique and undeniable vision. He cowered on the floor of the dusty cave and saw that the years of his life had escaped, like Odysseus’s men under the panicky sheep of the blind, deluded Polyphemus. ‘Who are you, who are you?’ he cried. And the voice of the man who had blinded himself replied ‘No-one. No-one.’”

In that short, compelling paragraph we see the result of trading the valuable for the priceless.

Art connects us to the world, to each other, to others we can never meet or know. It affirms our relationship to the rest of humanity.

The wider our encounter with art, the richer that connection becomes. This might be what Stoppard had in mind when a character in one of his plays says that “in any society of a thousand people there will be 900 doing the work, 90 doing well, nine doing good and one lucky person will be an artist.”

Art is valuable, in and of itself.

This is the first in a series of occasional columns by Julian Burnside for Daily Review



Harrow – 2018

Moving Canvas is delighted to supply the art for Hoodlum Productions, and ABC’s ‘Harrow’ in 2018. The artwork shown is: Australiana by Artist: McLeay. Size: 1520 x 1000mm Art Number: MC6562

Australiana by McLeay MC6562 at Hoodlum Productions – ABC Harrow 2018

Australiana by McLeay MC6562 at Hoodlum Productions – ABC Harrow 2018

Skyline – triptych by Banx MC5622 at Hoodlum Productions – ABC Harrow 2018

Art does more than just hang around on walls


Regardless of whether you’re an avid collector or just enjoy a good painting, admiring art is good for your health!

Professor Grossi of the University of Milan and his team conducted an experimental evaluation of the impact of aesthetic experiences.

They specifically focused on the impact looking at artwork has on stress and general wellbeing.

Their research found that looking at art in the vault of the Sanctuary of Vicoforte, Italy reduced participants cortisol levels by an astonishing 60%.

“Cortisol is a hormone which is mainly released during times of stress,” says Dr Harvey, Deputy Clinical Director at House Call Doctor.

“It is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands, which sit on top of each kidney. It is released in response to threats and stressful situations.”

To measure this response researchers took samples of participants saliva before and after witnessing the artwork.

Experiencing the artwork in the vault of the Sanctuary of Vicoforte reduced participants stress levels by over half.

In addition to the decrease in cortisol present in participants saliva, 90% of participants reported feeling better after looking at the artwork.

Speaking to The Daily Mail Professor Grossi commented, “The idea of art therapy is not new. But this is the first time that the beneficial effect of art on health has been measured.”

Similarly, a study conducted by the University of Westminster found that stress levels decreased after lunchtime visits to an art gallery.

Participants of this study self reported their stress levels before and after a 35 minute tour of the gallery and also had lower levels of cortisol.

Artwork hanging on walls has also been thought to improve moral in the workplace.

It is thought the artwork encourages right brain activity through visual stimulation, resulting in increased productivity.

In addition to reducing stress looking at art stimulates the senses and provokes emotional responses.

It introduces new ideas and encourages debate, opening our eyes to what is around us. Artwork has the ability to show us what is possible and inspires us to try.

Art exercises the mind by connecting synapses. It brings people together through lively debate. Art is good for the heart and soul. In short, art is good for our health and has no harmful side effects.

It turns out gazing at beautiful artwork is not just good for your soul but your physical health too.

The Scientific Abstract by Professor Grossi

We provide an experimental evaluation of the impact of aesthetic experiences in terms of stress reduction (cortisol levels) and wellbeing increase. The test experience is a visit to the vault of the Sanctuary of Vicoforte, Italy. Data have been collected using a double step method. A structured interview in relation to the individual subjective wellbeing has been submitted to a sample of 100 subjects. In addition, a sample of their saliva has been taken, and its cortisol level measured, before and after the experience, and likewise for momentary wellbeing measured on a Visual Analogous Scale (VAS). Subjects reported an average increase of 40% in wellbeing and a decrease of the 60% in the cortisol level. The recorded cortisol level drop values are well beyond the decrease normally associated to its circadian cycle. The modulating role of various variables has been appreciated, and profiling of the typical subjects who are wellbeing respondents/non-respondents and cortisol respondents/non-respondents has been carried out. We conclude that aesthetic experience seems to have a noticeable impact on individual physical and mental health. The study underlines the potential of the arts and culture as a new platform for public health practices and new approaches to welfare policy design.

Art is good for Business

It has been shown that office art on walls reduces stress in workers, and encourages right brain activity through visual stimulation. Great art on walls improves staff moral and therefore, increases productivity. Consequently, office art is good for business. Art relaxes and invigorates with equal measure. Furthermore, paintings show us a new perspective on life.

Moving Canvas Gallery offers long-term and short-term leasing for the office, foyer, boardroom and residential interior property styling. Good office art helps to elevate your client’s perception of your business. Furthermore, good office art helps to elevate your client’s perception of your business. Therefore, clients feel good about doing business with you and will tell others about you.  Artwork at home also elevates the perception of guests and improves the selling potential of your home when it’s time to sell.

Art exercises the mind by connecting synapses. It brings people together through lively debate.  Art is good for the heart and soul. In short therefore, art is good for your health and has no harmful side effects.

Art sells houses

There’s been much written about people needing art to sell houses. It has also been suggested that home owners and stylists use props like wrapping paper in a frame or cloth pinned over a blank stretched canvas. If this is the look you want for your home that’s fine, but you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  So be a show-off and put some great original art on the walls. Yes you can hang some ‘make-do’ art, as suggested by some blogs we’ve read, but isn’t it better to hang an original piece and portray a more opulent image?

And it needn’t cost a fortune to have originals on walls. Moving Canvas art rentals and sales in Brisbane offers gorgeous original art to impress the socks off prospective buyers, and our rental prices for home styling are very reasonable. If you show people you care about what your home looks like, it shows you’ve probably cared about other aspects of your home from design and aesthetics through to the more practical general maintenance.

Art on walls elevates perceptions. Elevated perceptions sell houses for elevated prices. If nothing else, prospective buyers will remember your house above others and tell others. It shows buyers what potential there is. Art on walls is a very real and tangible demonstration of quality.

A recent interview in Qweekend with British design Guru Laurance Llewelyn-Bowen of the TV series House Rules has thrown the gauntlet down by saying, “Banish the Beige” and we couldn’t agree more. Let’s get some colour back into life.

We deliver and professionally hang, and collect it at the end, making the whole process really easy for you.  If your time is short, simply text pix to us of the walls and we’ll happily bring a selection to you.

Let’s do a little philanthropy and support Aussie artists by renting or buying their art.

Emergency Art by Banx MC6633

$20,000 asset write-off – 12 May 2015

From 12 May 2015, small businesses with aggregate annual turnover of less than $2 million are immediately able to deduct any new assets purchased, provided the assets cost less than $20,000.As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald click HERE for the article.

Subject to the passage of legislation, the Australian government has also proposed that the $2 million threshold will increase to $10 million from the 1 July 2016. This will apply for assets acquired until 30 June 2017.

The $20,000 limit applies to each individual item. Small businesses can apply this $20,000 rule to as many individual items as they wish. For example, a small business owner may choose to acquire 5 paintings of $20,000 each, for a potential deduction of $100,000.

Professional advice is advised to determine whether you are able to claim a deduction.

$20,000 Asset Write-off extension – 2017

Treasurer Scott Morrison revealed the highly popular asset write-off measure would be extended, and also be made available to businesses with a larger turnover of up to $10 million.

“Small businesses with a turnover up to $10 million will continue to be able to immediately write off expenditure up to $20,000 for a further year,” he said.

The extension will now expire on June 30, 2018.

See Small Business newsroom.


Purple Pepper Antiques

Art Deco Living

Interview with Karen Keating

Q. Hello, please introduce yourself and what your business is and where it’s located….

A. I am the owner of Art Deco Living, located within Commercial Road Antiques at 85 Commercial Road, Teneriffe.  I sell everything Art Deco (1920’s to 40’s). Jewellery, ceramics, glassware, small furniture pieces, mirrors, clothing, accessories and everything that evokes images of the roaring 20’s or the Great Gatsby can be found in my store


Q. Do you think contemporary art and antiques mix well together, ie. old and new? If so, why?

A. A few statement antique pieces in a modern interior adds focal points for the room.  The juxtaposition of old and new grabs the attention.  One of the best known Art Deco ceramicist, Clarice Cliff created abstract designs on many of her wares.  In her pieces you can get the best of both worlds


Q. Can someone put a modern painting with “olde worlde” furnishings for an interesting, creative look and feel in their house? Please explain.

A. Absolutely.  Select the right colour palette and size and each piece can work off each other and create an altogether more interesting yet still unified look.


Q. Can you please give us some specific examples of what particular pieces you would put with a large colourful abstract artwork?

A. I would keep my pieces simple.  A 1920’s streamlined chrome lamp upon a geometric side table with a strong linear design would go well.


Q. Do you have any favourite artworks or artists?

A. Tamara De Lempicka, Jack Vettriano and Banx.


Thank you so much for your time today, do you have a website where people can come and visit you?

Art Deco Green Glass Statue
Purple Pepper Art Deco

The Poppy Interview (our very first)

We are so proud to introduce a brand new incredible talent to the world of art, Kaye’s incredibly Great Niece Poppy, who is three.  Poppy’s mum sent us this video, which we hope you enjoy…

…and so, in the tradition of cutting edge journalism, we went in search of Poppy to ask her a few questions about her art.


Q 1. What is your Name and age?

A. Poppy… three.


Q 2. Do you like art?

A. Yes.


Q 3. What is your favourite colour?

A. Pink.


Q 4. What do you like to paint most, and why?

A. Rainbows… they’re pretty.


Q 5. What is your favourite painting?

A. (My art) …on Nanny’s fridge (she points).


Keep your eyes open for Poppy in 20 year’s time.