“When I give, I give myself”
Buying art, while it is exciting, inspiring, and fulfilling, can be an intimidating process. Here is a guide to make it easier.
1. Do your research. To get a feel for the world of art and for what you like, visit galleries and museums. Look online to learn about different media and artists. Go on local artist studio tours. Talk with artists and collectors. What types of works are you drawn to? When you look at a piece of art, what about it resonates (or doesn’t resonate) with you?
2. Set a budget, and be prepared to spend a bit more. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with a piece and then later regretting not buying it because it was more than you planned on spending. Buying from the artist directly may be more economically feasible than buying from gallery, because galleries generally earn commissions of 50% or more on everything they sell. Whether you buy from the artist or from a gallery, be aware of other costs associated with art, such as shipping, framing and insuring it.
3. Buy what you love. Trust your eye, your instinct and your heart. Knowing what you don’t like is as important as knowing what you like. When you look at a piece, does it appeal to you, or resonate with you in some way? Is the subject matter meaningful to you? Does it remind you of something? Can you relate to the emotion behind the work? If you like a work of art for a deeper reason than “oh, it’s pretty,” you won’t get tired of it.
4. Know what you are buying. Ask questions about the artist, the process, the materials used, and the artist’s intention behind the work (see the artist’s statement). Is the piece creatively conceived and skillfully executed? Buying directly from the artist gives you a chance to know them, get a sense of their creative direction, as well as understand the concept and meaning behind their works. Commissioning a piece from the artist directly allows you to get exactly an art work that has special significance for you, as interpreted by the artist. On the other hand, buying from a gallery gives some collectors more confidence in the caliber of art work on display, because they may have been curated or chosen by someone with experience.
5. Don’t buy art as an investment. No one can guarantee an increase in value for a work of art. If you follow your aesthetics and that leads you to the next Damian Hirst, congratulations, you got lucky! Most great art collections have been built, one piece at a time, by people who bought work they loved.
6. Have a place to display your art. Art adds the most value where it can be viewed and appreciated. It doesn’t need to match your sofa, but it should work within the aesthetics of your home or office and enhance the pleasure of being in a room. Think about what you want your art to accomplish. Give it the space and staging it needs. Art can inspire, create tranquility or enliven, bring the outside in, define, unite or break up interior spaces. Consider these places when purchasing art:
▪ entrances — welcoming
▪ living room — engaging, restful
▪ dining rooms — nurturing
▪ kitchen — stimulating
▪ family room — playful
▪ bedrooms — tranquil, romantic–consider art in “pairs”
▪ work spaces — inspiring
▪ stairwells — uplifting
▪ hallways — enlivening
▪ bathrooms —ironic, humorous
▪ laundry rooms — radiant, spacious
7. Keep everything related to the purchase of art. The receipt, invoice and documentation for the work of art you’ve just purchased is what’s used to authenticate and value a piece. Don’t throw anything away!
8, Enjoy your new work of art! The artist’s expression is a story without words that has been passed on to you. Every time you look at it, you’ll be reminded of your connection to that story, that artist, and the creative source inside you. You are more than you imagine.
What are your thoughts or experiences about buying original works of art?