Unless you're already an experienced art collector, the thought of buying an original piece of art might feel daunting, but with these tips you’ll have the confidence to choose art for your home, that suits your style and budget.
1. I don't know much about art but I know what I like.
When it comes to writing an undergraduate art history essay, this statement is comical and not much use.
But when it comes to buying art for your home; it's perfect.
You absolutely should like it.
Of course you should. It’s your home.
I remember seeing one couple at an art fair who began their evening by walking round completely separately jotting down any artist who caught their eye. Then they met up to decide what their shortlist should be. They overlapped on a few artists and those were the stands they then focused on. Safe in the knowledge that both of them absolutely liked the art on that stand. Now it was simply a case of deciding their favourite.
If you love it, you’ll love living with it.
2. Size matters
Make sure you know how much space you have. I have a huge wall in my living room, but it can’t take a huge painting, until I get rid of those wall lights!
Do you want a wall of lots of eclectic pieces of art or one that has one statement piece?
Putting up big blank pieces of paper before hanging, or even to see what size of piece you need to finish off your newly decorated room, is a good plan.
When shopping on the internet make sure you know if the art has been measured in inches, centimetres or millimetres.
Sometime people are attracted to a piece because, they love the colour.
Sometimes it's because the colour will tone in with their scheme.
And sometimes, they love the piece but reject it because it won't go with the sofa!
Broadly speaking I’d say go back to tip number one. If you love it; you’ll love living with it.
Do whatever you want to do with your colour.
4. Get to know the artist.
There is an adage in the art world that people don’t buy art, they buy the artist. This might only be partially true, but I know from my experiences at art fairs and when doing demonstrations at galleries that people love it when they have a connection to me. I have sold many pieces of work “still wet” after a demo. That’s just as much about liking the work, as it is liking the artist, seeing it being made and being involved. Now in this age of social media you can really get a feeling for the artist by following them on facebook, looking at their pinterest boards, signing up for their newsletter. It's a great way to build trust and help you decide.
6. Go to an art fair or gallery event in your area.
Don’t be intimidated. There’s a first time for everyone! I’ve been to so many art fairs, and you really mustn’t be fooled into thinking that everyone is an art buff who goes to dozens of these events each year. Art fairs are hugely enjoyable, there’s usually drop of wine or fizz at the Private view night and there are loads of different artists working in different styles. By going to one of these events it helps you with tip 1 and 4!
5. Know your budget.
There’s no point in falling in love with a piece for £5000 when your budget was £500. However, if you fall for something just a little bit out of your price range, many galleries have payment plans - “Own art” is the most popular in UK galleries. A number of my pieces have found new homes because of “Own art”.
7. Commission it!
You can have a bespoke piece to your exact specifications. When you commission an artist it’s important that you already like their style, commissioning an artist to do something totally different to their usual style is not a good plan.
Be clear, state your expectations clearly, and allow the artist to do the same.
The artist will then draw up a commission agreement which makes it clear what will be produced, by when, in what size and how much it will cost. If you want to negotiate on the price, do it before the work starts, not after.
Commissions can also be arranged through galleries. It's a really lovely process if you really know what you want and you’ve found an artist in the right style for you.
8. Enjoy the process.
Finding art should be a joy not a chore. You might have spent thousands on your perfect kitchen, or lived in the chaos of a building site for a home for months on end. Now is the time to add the ultimate finishing touch to your home with a beautiful, original work of art that will last a lifetime.
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