Gottabuy VirusI am infected with a dangerous virus.

It may be dormant for now, but it can flare up at anytime and cause significant disruption to my daily life.

As far as I have been able to determine, these are the specifics about this affliction:

  • Transmitted through human contact
  • Not believed to be air borne, but clinical trials are still underway
  • Can be treated but no cure is currently available
  • Flare ups can last weeks or months until treatment is secured
  • Remission is possible, but exposure to other infected individuals can cause reoccurence
  • The virus is rumored to have jumped into infection via communication of certain words
  • Infected words/phrases include: “art league”, “piece on the way” and “in this cardboard box I have something special from artist X”*
  • Others have referred to this sickness as “the frenzy”** or  “gottahaveititis”.  The medical community is still determining the proper naming convention.

Symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Sleeplessness
  • Depression
  • Dry Mouth

Ok, maybe the last one is just me.

The only treatment that I have found to be effective is application of cash to address the problem.  With sufficient cash, the virus can be contained and forced into dormancy.  Sadly, there has never been enough cash available to see if this treatment could lead to a true cure.

Preliminary investigation has found that words can also be a treatment option, talking about Gottabuy itself seems to work. More research is needed.*

I am also a carrier of this virus and I know that I may have spread the sickness to others.  Luckily there has been cash available to treat the affected parties, but only time will tell if I will cause more people to succumb to the horrors of the Gottabuy virus.

False Cure

Ok.  It’s not a virus, it’s just a feeling that I and many other collectors get every once in a while.  When someone posts a great piece to their gallery on OMA or an artist that you’ve been trying to contact for months sends out a list of available pieces to every interested collector, you just get this rush that you have to buy something.  The feeling that you are missing out when someone shares their most recent purchase, it’s real and I know for me it can have both positive and negative consequences.

HokoriThe most negative consequence comes about when I make a purchase just to satisfy the need to buy a piece.  That usually leads me to buying something I don’t have a particular appreciation of or emotional attachment to.  The second painting I ever purchased, Hokori, Dust Drinker, was much like this.

When I bought my first painting, Sleight of Hand by Jim Murray, I was actually playing the card in a Battle of Wits deck at the time.  While it was not a new card, the art was new for 8th edition and I really dug it.   Come the next prerelease, I ended up buying the art for Hokori, but the reasons were not the same.  After buying Sleight of Hand I started looking for other art collectors and saw some of the other collections already out there.  This got my jealousy engine started and I committed myself to getting more art at the next opportunity.

It just so happened that Darrell Riche was the artist at the next prerelease and, even though I didn’t really have much experience with the card and the art was bit more menacing than I expected, I bought Hokori and regretted it as soon as I got it home.  It was not that the art wasn’t good, Darrell did an amazing job on that Dust monster, it was just an empty feeling that I got when I got it framed and hung it up in my apartment.  My motivations for the purchase were a fear of missing out, coupled with an intense desire to show that I could be an art collector as well.  Fear, pride and jealousy are not sustainable foundations to build a collection on.

Buying art, I have found, is best when you take the time and ensure that your purchase means something to you, whether it be solely for the appreciation of the art or the memories attached to the card.  They are both valid reasons and I have pieces in my collection for many reasons, but seeking out a good deal or buying a piece out of fear is just going to lead to dsappointment.

Fear as a Motivator

Getting a case of the Gottabuy’s can be a good thing.  OMA would never have come about if I had not gotten “infected” again.

I bought my first piece in 2005 and after an intial rush of purchases I was basically done buying art after 2008.  I had around 8 pieces at that point and was pretty much satisfied with my collection.  Fast forward to 2012 and the Original Art thread on The Mana Drain motivated me to look into buying art again.  It motivated me so much so that I committed to get a site up and running celebrating and encouraging the hobby of collecting original art.  While the first few iterations and ideas for the site may have been a bit too ambitious, it has led the to the site we have today.

When I started going after art again, I had a bit broader viewpoint to work from and was able to channel that “omgineedtobuyartnownownow” feeling into something more constructive.  Instead of just buying the first pieces I could find, I made sure to contact all of the artists that I could to see what was available and what spoke the most to me before commiting to a purchase.  As opposed to repeating the mistakes I felt I made when buying Hokori, I held out for purchases that meant more to me like Vedalken Shackles and Ancestral Vision.  I still have that anxiety when someone posts a great collection or recent purchase, but I recognize that the feeling can be used as motivation for other purposes to the benefit of myself and others.

The Gottabuys can also help you pull the trigger on the piece that you had your eye on for a while.  While I will go into the regret of not buying a piece in a later article in this series, the longer you are collecting original art, the more likely you will have a “one that got away” story.  Seeing others posting their purchases can provide you with the push you may need to justify picking up a piece you are already interested in.  I would advise someone looking to acquire their dream art to just go for it (ask for a payment plan if necessary) and if it takes someone else displaying their art to get you the piece you want, then it will have served a good purpose.

Being able to look at your art on the wall is something that most will rarely regret and is something you can enjoy every day for a lifetime.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s installment of the series.  Next week, I will give a brief glimpse into my history with Magic.

*Thanks to the dark fan for additional diagnosis information.

**Special thanks to Paul for bringing “the frenzy” nomenclature to our attention

Have you ever come down with a case of the Gottabuys?  Please leave your case history in the comments below.