From an economic point of view, art can be an investment. Although research shows art investing has mixed results. Art also has what economists refer to as “psychic benefits.” It is something to be enjoyed, experienced or flaunted, and this may be the key to the high price recently paid at auction for Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi.
Art is also a great leveler. No matter what the social or economic background of an artist, their work is equally valid. Many turn to art, particularly painting, not only as a means of expressing themselves without artificially imposed barriers, but also as a way of escaping from their surroundings. Even as a therapy.
Art is of course also a means of generating income, with some artists being more successful than others.
The Big Issue magazine’s Street Art page gives talented, marginalised individuals an outlet for creative expression.
See a complete article on this topic – The Economics of Ridiculously Expensive Art by Bronwyn Coate, Lecturer in Economics at RMIT University, in The Conversation of 27-11-2017.