What, where and how to guide
for buying affordable art
Buying a piece of art you love can be a one-off investment that lasts for decades. It doesn’t need to be expensive either - read my tips below to learn what to look for and how to enjoy collecting quality, affordable, original art.
I love to buy art when I’m travelling, finding interesting new artists in faraway places is exciting to me. Memories of fun vacations can linger on when you tuck a small lino-print or an ink drawing into your suitcase before heading home. Even larger art on canvas is easily removed from its stretcher bars and rolled for shipping in a tube. Your local framer back home can easily re-stretch for you when it arrives.
In our house, we love to buy art pieces in celebration of occasions like big birthdays and wedding anniversaries. The memory lives on when we see a treasured work of art hanging on our walls and makes the occasion all the more special.
New house, new decor? The perfect time to transform your interior style is when moving house, and from someone who’s had more than 5 international house moves, and countless domestic ones, I know what I’m talking about. There’s nothing that says ‘I’m home’ more than a sentimental piece of art. My Grandparents home was a fascination to me as a child, with fabulous pieces collected from their time living in 1960’s Russia and Indonesia. Every room, wall and shelf held an artist made piece of special meaning or intriguing pattern that I cherished and still remember to this day.
Completely new to art buying and don’t know what to look for?
We often have an innate sense of what we do or don’t like. To help you put some structure to this, here are some things to consider. Think about the questions below and how you might answer:
Do bold graphics speak to you? Do you love a realistic still life? Do you long for distant landscapes, or local ones? How about a gallery wall full of quirky portraits, or do you prefer fancy figures? Perhaps black and white photography is your thing?
Consider as well the way an artwork is comprised. Does an expressive swipe of thick paint make your heart race? Feelings of calm might evolve from a flat surface with imperceptible brushstrokes. Movement and energy are such a big drawcard for me, I feel a sense of excitement from thick, painterly expressive brushstrokes and I never tire of looking at abstract art.
How about colour? Most people are drawn instinctively to either a cool or warm colour palette. Are you more of a spring/summer person or autumn/winter? Have you noticed a familiar thread of colours in other parts of your home decor or clothing choices? Think about how much importance you place on having an original, one of a kind piece.
You will quickly notice your compass needle begins to point in a particular direction when it comes to artistic choice, so make note of what comes up and simply follow the clues.
Where and who to buy
Consider looking for artists in your local area. We can’t all afford a bid at Christies, but part of the excitement of art buying is investing in artists and following their careers, seeing how they work, discovering the story behind what they create and why. Emerging artists can offer an inexpensive entry point to collecting and it’s often possible to get more access to them at the early stage of their careers.
Go along to open nights at a friendly gallery near you to meet the artists. Open nights and artist talks are a fab way to begin to fine tune your painterly preferences. Subscribe to your favourite artists’ newsletter, you’ll get the information behind their art, details on their latests creations, plus they often come with the benefit of first dibs on new work and special subscriber only offers.
Pay attention to the artists with some business nous - if they’re putting heart and soul into their art as a career, they’re more likely to be in it for the long haul and not just dabbling at the weekend. Career artists make for better investment art.
Follow them on your social networks and notice if their work continues to develop, or are they just churning out the same combination of tube colours in the same old designs for the quick sales?
Are your favourite artists getting attention in the media or from gallerists, collectives, art shows, or have they been selected for (or won) art prizes? You can probably put money on the ones who are getting noticed by art curators and prize judges. Their work will be of a high quality, and this will set them apart from the rest.
Once this begins to happen, their careers can move fast - as will their prices!
If you’re new to buying art my advice is to buy a piece that feels great to you, an artwork that makes you feel alive. You spend a lot of time with it. Good art is more than an accessory, it fills you up, it speaks for you and broadcasts how original you are. Choose well and it can also be an investment. You will love seeing it every day, and it will showcase your individual great taste to all.
Importantly, don’t buy art according to the latest trend - you won’t love a big purple geometric painting if you find straight lines and the colour purple off-putting, even if someone announces it Pantone Colour of the Year. Not to mention, the trendy colour of the year - only lasts for a year! You’ll want your art investment to last much longer.
Original art can be incredibly exciting and as interior designers and stylists everywhere will tell you, the right artwork completes any room. There’s nothing I love more than investing in a fabulous piece of art to upgrade the look and feel of a space.
Like to know my top 5 tips for how to choose good abstract art? Click here
copyright Nicole Fearfield
Travel Goals by Nicole Fearfield