I've just had a lovely conversation with one of the galleries with whom I work. And they are delighted that my work is selling in spite of the fact that it's January and surely the only thing that people are buying are sale bargains!
Well in the art world nothing could be further from the truth.
Surprisingly as it may seem December is not the busiest month of the year for me as an artist nor for the galleries that stock my work. I tend to sell quite a lot of prints during December however originals tend to stay in the studio just that little longer. I think perhaps it's because buying an original work of art is a big decision and quite a bit of money. It's not a quick easy gift. This January my husband and I decided to splash out on a new fridge! Nowhere near as much fun as buying a work of art but it does rather prove the point that when it comes to a more expensive item, for your home, perhaps it's a decision you make together after Christmas rather than a gift you expect to receive for Christmas. So here are my top tips if you want to start to add to your art collection this year.
2. Set a budget. Some artists and galleries will offer a small discount particularly if you are a previous customer and have bought their work before. But there really is no point at all in falling in love with a work of art for £5000 if your budget is £500 - there is no middle ground of negotiation there so don't put yourself through the agony! If you're worried about how far your money will go have a look at plenty of websites. Most artists, including myself, have the price of their artwork on the website so you don't need to worry about being embarrassed enquiring about the price of the art. Two galleries that I feature in,the Wey gallery and the Park Gallery both have the prices of the artists’ work on their websites. This puts you the customer in a relaxed frame of mind as you will have a clear idea of the artwork available in your budget. If you are looking at some of the larger online galleries such as Saatchi online do make sure that you note the price for shipping and packing as that will be listed separately on those kind of sites.
3. Size does matter.
Size matters! Broadly speaking it doesn't really matter if you have a large piece or a series of small pieces to start your collection. But if you have, for instance, wall lights in your home you might find that large artwork doesn't fit in the room in quite the same way you had planned. Having a maximum size is a good idea. If you don't want to pay for shipping or delivery having a clear idea of the largest painting that will fit in your car is a good plan too! Very often artists will be able to arrange shipping for you if you are buying a very large piece that simply won't fit in the car.
4. Contact the artist if you're not sure. If you found an artist online and they sell directly to the public from their own website but you are terrified of buying an original work of art without seeing it first, make sure you pop an email to the artist concerned. The vast majority of artists will open their studios for private appointments without obligation. I'm always delighted to welcome them into my studio. The heating is on and so is the kettle just make sure you let me know you're on your way!
5. Get some expert advice. I've always been very happy selling art directly to my collectors from my studio or art fairs (I will be blogging about how to buy from an art fair next month) but if you aren’t experienced I can heartily recommend heading off to an independent gallery. Don't be intimidated by a gallery. I mentioned my favourites The Wey gallery and the Park gallery. The reason being, they are very welcoming and kind to their customers (and I'm pleased to say they are kind to their artists too). They will not intimidate you or hard sell. They fully believe the art has to be something that you connect with and make the decision yourself. They are completely transparent about their prices so you won't have a nasty surprises or feel embarrassed if something is out of your budget.
Good luck in your art collecting this year.