If you are thinking about buying art, you might be a first time homebuyer staring at lots of blank walls and wondering what to do AND wondering what the whole art buying process is all about, where to look, what to consider, how much to spend and where to find and purchase art. For whatever reason, art buying can indeed be a scary and opaque business, and getting started can be a bewildering proposition. But remember that anybody can appreciate art, and it’s not the size of your budget that counts.
I think the best way to begin is to literally just take some time steeping yourself in various types of art. Mostly looking at art, but also reading books about art and art history. Maybe you already have an idea of the kind of art you are attracted to, which already requires some self awareness. But to help you along, try visiting your local museum. Seek out art galleries in your area and stop by, open your eyes, ask questions and see what makes you smile. If you have the time and interest in doing some research, find artist studios around you and contact them to set up a visit. Generally speaking artists love the idea of showcasing their work to prospective buyers. Only you can work out what kind of art is something that you are attracted to and puts a bounce in your step, but that process of discovery can be super fun and interesting.
Some qualifiers you may need to ask yourself: are you looking to fill blank walls or actually wanting to invest in art pieces that could grow in value? In both cases of course you want to LOVE the art. You also want to be willing to live with that art for a reasonable period of time, in your personal space and which you will see every day. And if your answer is that you are looking to fill space and not make an investment, then that’s fine, and can be just as much fun as buying for an investment.
So, if buying art is something you want/need to do but do not want to spend a fortune on investment pieces, there are many ways to achieve that goal. You can definitely create a whole collection of art that speaks volumes about who you are and what you like by incorporating loads of ideas with which to curate your “collection”. By way of suggestion and depending on your overall budget, you may find that a number of ideas appeal to you from making DIY art on giant canvases, to visiting thrift stores, to checking out local street art fairs. Additionally I find that many trendy and modern furniture stores or art websites also have fantastic art in the way of framed prints that do wonders to bare walls for decent prices. Flea markets are also a good place to find interesting vintage pieces to add some variation and patina to your walls, so not everything is shiny and new, which by the way, is key to a well honed collection. In art as in life, variety is truly the spice of life so don’t be afraid to mix themes and styles and travel trinkets and frames etc. The wider the variety of mediums the better. For example a mix of photography, acrylics, oils, charcoals and wall hangings are a great way to get variation vs all modern photography only in your space. It’s about bringing intrigue and visual texture to your home that ultimately pleases the eye and makes for fun talking points but doesn’t break the bank. It’s worth mentioning here that you should expect any art buying at any level to be a journey and not an instantaneous achievement. Just saying, have fun with the process!
If your idea of an art purchase is to make money in the end, then just remember that most artists whose work guarantees a return requires you to be pretty flush with funds! But, if you do your research and hone your instincts, you could develop a collection that’ll make the art you love grow in value and doesn’t require you to shell out millions.
As alluded to above, any form of artwork can be collectible, from sculpture to photography to ceramics to video (if you purchase a film work, artists will sometimes provide you a nicely packaged limited-edition USB).
Photographs, prints, and sketches are often the most affordable media, and you don’t even have to buy the original. A signed photograph or print will often be labelled with its edition number (i.e. 2/10) and knowing that a work is part of a limited run can give you a good idea of whether it might be a worthwhile purchase.
Frequent galleries and art exhibitions as often as possible, like a hobby. Often even emerging artists will be showcased at a gallery and purchasing through a respected gallery can be a good way to guarantees that someone besides you values that work, always a good idea when making an investment. Get to know your favorite gallery owner so he/she can alert you when they have artists openings whose work you might like. Follow your favorite artists on Instagram and develop a relationship with them, even if just on social media-its all good!
As your knowledge and experience of art and artists grow, your taste and budget will change. And as with almost any investment or hobby the best advice is to just start. And enjoy!