Buying art - 12 Fun affordable ways to buy art you'll love
You know 'why', now comes the "how' and 'where' to get art?
You know 'why' you need art, now the question is ‘how’ and 'where' to find art? The first post in this series was centered around 'Why' including art in your daily life is important to your level of happiness. https://cathyhorvathbuchanan.com/blogs/blog/the-importance-of-art-in-your-home
After reading about why you should have art, then having looked quick around your home and finding your walls in need some sprucing up with a bit of art, you've decided to go on a quest to resolve the problem
The next question you’ll probably have is where to get the art you like, at a price you can afford? The following article will give you some great suggestions that you may not have thought of. As an aside, not only are the following ideas for finding art useful for when you're looking for something for your home, but you can also find many wonderful and unique gifts in these locals and have fun while doing it.
Don't feel intimidated, it's only art
No doubt at some point, you’ve probably read a hi-brow article from someplace like architectural digest interviewing an investment banker in the process of amassing a large expensive collection of modern, perplexing art. When the average person is considering buying art, magazine articles such as these can be pretty intimidating.
Take heart, acquiring art for your home isn’t rocket science. The art you buy doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t even have to be an original painting. Viable alternatives can be sketches or perhaps art prints, both are a very affordable ways to have art in every room without breaking the bank.
Figure out what type of art you like...
Figure out what type of art you like... To start with you need to figure out what kind of art you like. It’s easy to do an online image search to find what you like.
Simply go to google or bing and in the search box on the image tab type in various art terms and words. ex. Colors (warm tones, or cool tones, red, blue, yellow?) style (folk, abstract, realistic, modern, traditional) subject matter (beach, landscape, still life, figurative, abstract).
As you browse the images, visualize the space where you’d like to place your new artwork. Are there any pieces that pop out as being of interest to you? Do you feel drawn towards a particular color, style or subject?
If you find one you like, click the link and check out the website. If the art you like is available and you can afford it, your problem is solved. If not, keep track of the words that describe the type(s) of art you like.
When shopping be sure to keep in mind the location where you’ll be hanging it, as this will dictate the size(s) you will be looking for. One large artwork or several small ones hung together.
Art on a budget?
Next step is to find art that fits within your budget
Now that you know what kind of art you like you’ll need to know how much money you can afford to spend, and how many pieces will that budget needs to accommodate.
Are you trying to buy one large artwork, in which case you’ll spend a bit more but in a lump sum, or would you like to build a collection wall showcasing several smaller art pieces. The many small artworks is a great option especially if you’re just beginning to collect wall art decor, as you can take a bit of time and perhaps spend a less per art piece.
When setting a budget know that if you fall in love a particular piece of art it may go a bit beyond your budget. I suggest that you listen to your gut on this one. You’d hate to let that piece get sold out from under you and then regret that you didn’t spend a bit more to acquire it.
This happened with one of my paintings, the gallery owner had moved some pieces around and a woman who’d delayed buying one of my paintings thought she’d missed the boat...until she realized that the piece had just been moved to another room. Recognizing that her sense of disappointment was a barometer of how much she loved the piece, she bought the painting immediately. This is definitely a cautionary tale, especially when it comes to original art , there’s only one, you get it, or you don’t.
What’s affects the price of art?
Some factors that can also determine price of art are rarity and medium. Is it an original one of a kind art piece or are there many available? An original painting on canvas is the most valuable, followed by sketches, then hand pulled prints (for example linocuts or intaglio prints). If it’s a mass produced art print the print run size will affect the price. Is it part of limited run (for example only 500 will ever be made) which would make it worth more, or is it an open edition (meaning an unlimited number can be made). Of course the more rare an item is the higher the price will be.
Where you buy and art piece can also be reflected in the pricing. When buying through a gallery or third party, there are always fees added on top of the artwork’s initial price. You might be surprised to learn that most galleries charge at least 50% (or more) on top of the price the artist actually gets.
Online venues also charge a premium for selling art usually in the form of a fee to the artist which is, as with most businesses, usually passed on to the buyer. Also take note of the cost of shipping. Be sure you know any additional costs associated with buying an artwork including shipping, insurance and any duties and taxes. Most of these depend on where you live and where the art is being shipped from.
How to save on the price of an art piece
A clever way to save a bit of money is to buy from the artist’s website or in person at the artist’s studio as you may be able to avoid some of those extra fees.
Another sensible way to save money on artwork is in the framing. It’s much wiser to spend your budget on the actual artwork, you can usually find a cheaper way to frame something. You can diy a frame, or get a second hand frame then repainted it, a la shabby chic. You can always get your art piece re-framed professionally when you can afford it some time in the future.
Where to find the art you want…..
Once you know the type of art you want and budget, the next step is to find out where you can get it either online or locally.
There are so many ways to acquire art these days. There’s never been a better time to be an artist. The advent of the internet means that artists are able to present their art to a worldwide audience online. What this means is that the gallery system is no longer the sole gatekeeper to what artworks are available to purchase. This opens the doors to all kinds of options.
Online isn't the only place to buy art, go old school
When searching google for places to buy art, most of the results returned will be for online venues, but what many people forget to consider is that you can also go with local art. There’re many places to find great art locally. Trust me I know, as an artist of many years I have had, and still have, art in many types of venues. This is how we sold art in the old days before the internet lol.
The following 12 suggestions include both online and local places to find the perfect art for your home.
Buy Art Online
1.Online Art Platforms
A quick google search will tell you that there are tons of places to buy art online. Some are great and others..maybe not so much.
The quality of art online can vary widely, by that I mean that amateurs and professionals alike have lots of opportunity to be seen. You can narrow your search by sticking to curated online galleries. These galleries edit the offerings they have available for sale based on a juried selection system (much like brick and mortar galleries). Artists submit their art for consideration and then someone with presumably good taste accepts or rejects the art. This works great if you have the same taste as the curator, and it also serves to weed out the amateur work.
Some galleries that have curated collections include…
- Artfinder.com, https://www.artfinder.com/
- Minted.com, https://www.minted.com/
- Tappan Collective, https://www.tappancollective.com/
- 20x200, https://20x200.com/
- Zatista, https://www.zatista.com/
If you feel like you want to judge the quality of art for yourself without any editing, then scroll around some of the online art selling spaces, where artists essentially have self hosted shops.
Some galleries that have non-curated collections include…
- Etsy, https://www.etsy.com/
- Society6, society6.com,
- Deviant Art, https://www.deviantart.com/
- Saatchi Art, https://www.saatchiart.com/
Be sure to check out www.etsy.com/shop/SoloWorkStudio (this is my Esty store URL, but it’s my article and hey there’s great art there : ) !!!
2. Social Media
It’s been a recent occurrence that you can also buy art via social media. Many artists are now selling their art directly to the public on Facebook, Instagram or via product pins on Pinterest.
Use your search words on the social media sites that you frequent. Once you find a few artists whose work you enjoy you can follow them via their social media streams and find out a bit more about them, their lives, and how it relates to their art. Artists tend to post to social all sort of info about their studio, new work, art in progress and possible upcoming sales.
3. Artist’s websites
Any professional artist worth their salt has their own website to display a portfolio of their artwork and to sell prints and products featuring their art. It's a convenient way for people to shop from the comfort of home. Shopping online also works well for people who want to lurk around a bit before contacting or purchasing from an artist.
If the website is well set up the artist will have not only the artwork that’s available but some information about their art career as well as a bit about themself.
I know most of my sales are done online via my www.cathyhorvathbuchanan.com site or my etsy.com/shop/SoloWorkStudio. The best part is that you and the artist aren’t limited by geographic location. You can buy art from another state or country and have it shipped direct to your home.
Buy Local Art
4. Art in the park
Most towns and cities have a main local park. This is where artists will tend to congregate on sunny summer weekends to display their art to park visitors. I’ve spent many a Sunday afternoon showing my art in the local park. It’s a lovely way to spend the day, casually chatting as people stroll by enjoying the art and the peace of being in the park.
Type into the Google search bar “Art in the Park” plus the name of your town, and to see what comes up.
5. Café Restaurant Exhibit
Another place to find art is the local café or bistro. Many independent café’s invite artists to display their art. It’s a win, win situation, the artist gets exposure and the cafe or restaurant get some cool art on their walls.
The lovely thing about checking out art in this type of location is that you get to sit down and relax with some great food. The bonus is that the art on the walls is a perfect conversation starter with the person or folks you’re having dinner with.
6. Public Art Gallery Gift Shops
While the local public art gallery may display exhibitions featuring high priced modern art or valuable pieces from their collections, their gift shop usually has smaller works by many talented local artists for sale at a reasonable price. Original miniatures paintings and hand pulled prints, pottery and many other small objects d'art are usually on offering.
7.Artist Co-op Galleries
Many public art galleries have set out mandates that tend to exclude up and coming artist in favor of more established artist, hence the advent of the artist’s co-op. A collectively run gallery space where artists take turns 'manning' the sales desk. Many tourist towns have these types of co-op galleries. Although the quality of the artwork can be uneven (meaning some great art, and some not so great art) you may get lucky and score a wonderful piece at a reasonable price.
8. Art Rental Gallery
Where I live the regional public art gallery has a rental gallery where local artists can have their work displayed for rent. People can rent to own or just keep an ever-rotating collection of art by renting several pieces on a monthly basis. The rental price is based on a percentage of the selling price of the piece. This is handy for a person or company who hosts many events or parties and therefore needs art that is new, different or seasonal for each event they plan.
Even if you're only looking to rent one piece it’s a useful way to test-drive a piece of art, to live with it for a bit to see if it’s truly something you want to look at every day.
As an artist, I think it's a wonderful idea. I have several pieces of my artwork available for rent in the London regional art gallery. https://muse.museumlondon.ca/
9. Art Fairs & Festivals
Every town has a least a couple festival during the summer months featuring food, music and local artisans. Peruse the artist's booths to check out what kind of art is being offered. You’ll find many different types of work and methods of creation. From original prints and paintings to sculptures and fabric art to more folky crafty wares like jewelry.
The prices are generally quite affordable, plus you get all the fun and entertainment of being at a festival.
10. Artist Studio Tours
Every town large and small that I've lived in or visited has pamphlets for artist tours. This is a particularly interesting and informative way to purchase art. Artist tours give you a chance to see the studio where the art is made and to talk to the artist about the inspiration and processes behind creating the work.
Artists and non-artists alike are always fascinated by the art making process and to see how and where the artist comes up with the ideas and then expresses it in physical form. I find the way other artists make artwork to be endlessly interesting, especially if they specialize in a medium that I don't work with such as pottery, glass or sculpture.
To start with, type into the Google search bar “Artist Studio Tours” plus the name of your town, and to see what comes up. If there’s a tour there’s usually some accompanying info about the artists such as websites etc., and a map to all the studios that are participating. The artist’s website info is useful as you can check out each artist’s style before hand to see if their work or medium is something you’re interested in.
Make a note of those whose work you do like, then you can plot out on a map how to get to all the studios to see the most promising work. The planning and anticipation is part of the fun with studio tours.
11. Estate Sales and Auctions
You can find some very interesting art via estate auctions. My husband and I picked up three limited edition art prints from an artist I had known personally but had passed away several years ago. The estate auction, by one of his collectors, was the only way to acquire the prints. We were surprised to see them come available and so jumped on and purchased them immediately.
With a quick search online you'll find that there are many estate auction houses local to you. Some even have separate auctions just for art. In these cases the quality of the art will generally be higher than in a regular general estate auction. The selection of artworks available will usually be made public before hand to generate some interest, especially if some well known art pieces are included in the auction.
With auctions you need to know quite a bit about art in order to be able to identify the best finds. You'll also need to have your budget firmly in mind as it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the auction and then overpay.
12. Custom art commissions…
Let say after scouring the web and local art fairs you’ve still not found exactly what you’re looking for. Maybe you found an artist whose work you like but they didn’t have anything available in a size or subject that was suitable for your space. What then...
Consider asking the artist about having an artwork commissioned specifically for you, with your criteria in mind. This is an excellent option for both parties as the artist gets a guaranteed sale and you get the exact piece of art you want.
I’ve created many custom art pieces for clients who wanted a particular subject matter. Could be something based on a personal photo, or a specific location. Size is also up for consideration which means you get the size that suits your wall space. When it comes to pricing the larger the artwork the larger the price is likely to be. That’s also the advantage of custom piece, you can commission an art piece with a size suited to your budget.
From the list above you see that there are many interesting, fun and easy ways to buy beautiful and interesting art.
I’ve laid out lots of ideas here for how to acquire art. Many of the suggestions also come with fun agendas for getting you out and about on a weekend like festivals, art tours, art in the park. The marvelous thing about some of these suggestions is that you actually get to meet the artist and find out the story behind the artwork you’ve purchased. This information is always wonderful to have as you get to share with visitors to your home the background details of what you have hanging on your walls.
For a long time the purchasing art has been cloaked in an air of mystery and been thought of as the domain for those 'in the know', with enough cash to enable them to put together impressive collections. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The average person with a limited budget can still acquire artwork that is interesting and beautiful, that they can proudly display in their homes.
Don’t get too hung up on thoughts of your artwork appreciating in value. You’ll be looking at the artwork in your home every day, so the real value is in picking something you really love!!
What makes art truly magical and valuable is the communication between artist and viewer and the emotions that the physical work of art conveys. When you’re looking to buy artworks for your home, be sure to choose art that’ll give you the emotional effect you desire and provide you with a daily dose of joy!!
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