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ART 101: TIPS FOR COLLECTING & BUYING ART

Buying ART is an intensely personal and, even at times, emotional experience. Even seasoned collectors sometimes agonize when acquiring a new piece. We often feel a pressure to “get it right.” Unlike personal items or even furniture, which may go out of style, ART is often considered to be a lasting investment — one that reflects our taste and our design aesthetics.

Expectations about ART can be high, and may not always be reasonable or realistic. No wonder we feel pressure when faced with a decision about what to buy!

  1. Buy what you like.

    When you look at a piece, does it appeal to you, or resonate with you in some way? How does it make you feel? Do you think you will still like it next year? There’s no explanation why certain pieces ‘speak’ to certain people…they simply do.

  2. Trust your eye, instinct and feelings.

    Knowing what you don’t like is as important as knowing what you like.

  3. Know what you are buying.

    Ask questions about the artist (read the Artist’s bio), the process, the materials used, the atist’s intent (read the Artist’s statement). Does the piece appear to be creatively conceived and skillfully executed?

  4. Don’t buy for investment.

    No one can guarantee an increase in value. If you follow your taste and your taste leads you to the next Picasso, then you are one of the lucky ones. Great collections have been built by people simply buying work they liked.

  5. Buy from a reputable source.

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying street art on the spur of the moment. But if you are spending a bit more, then it is helpful to buy art from a knowledgeable and reputable source.

  6. It helps to have a place to have place to display your ART!

    We’ve all bought something that we later realized we did not immediately have the right space for. But art adds the greatest value where it can be viewed and appreciated.

WHERE TO START

ART doesn’t need to “match you sofa,” but it should “work” within the aesthetics of your home or office and enhance the pleasure of being in a room. (That is why hotels install ART!) If you’re buying ART for a home that doesn’t yet have any art, you might start with buying work for a primary space (e.g. an entry, living room or family room). It also helps to think about what you would like your ART to accomplish: ART can inspire, provoke, change a room’s energy, create calmness or add excitement, bring the outside in, define, unite or break-up interior spaces.

Need more advice? Send us a photo of your space/room, and we’d be happy to make some suggestions. Several members of our team have had decades of experience assisting clients with their ART and interior design choices.

WHAT TO COLLECT

Trust your taste. There are no “right” or “wrong” choices. If your taste is eclectic, be bold and collect without restraint. Diversity can give a collection depth and can be visually exciting, as individual artworks juxtaposed against each other stand out. Just be mindful of placement, so that you avoid pieces “fighting” with each other; you don’t want pieces to detract from one another.

On the other hand, if you’ve narrowed your interests, do so with confidence. Homes with only black and white photographs or only abstract work or even only landscapes present themselves with a sense of unity that can be visually stunning.

WHERE TO PLACE ART

If you’re just starting to buy ART, you might want think about how you use your rooms and the feeling you might want to convey:

  • entrances — welcoming
  • living room — exciting or restful
  • dining rooms — nurturing
  • kitchen — energizing
  • family room — playful
  • bedrooms — soothing, romantic
  • work spaces — inspirational
  • stairwells — uplifting
  • hallways — enlivening
  • bathrooms — humorous
  • laundry rooms — lightness

WHAT ABOUT A BUDGET

The truth is most of us have one. ARTprojectA began because we believe great ART is not price dependent. We’ve found and will continue to find ART that you can love, in a price range that feels comfortable. We are committed to helping you discover fabulous ART you might never have discovered on your own. Your price range is a legitimate guide. Photography and prints tend to be less expensive than unique pieces. Sometimes a combination of small pieces (diptychs and triptychs, for example) can “fill” a large space at a lower cost than one large painting. If you covet the original work of a well-established painter, but can’t possibly afford the $50,000+ price tag, then consider a limited edition print by that artist for 1%-2% of the cost of a painting. Trust prints will be affordable whereas vintage prints might not. Buy early in an edition because prices often increase as editions sell out.

ART AS A GIFT

Yes, yes, yes! ART is one of the most memorable and unique gifts ever. Giving someone a piece of ART immediately sends the message: “I care about you and I want you to have something special and lasting” or “this is an occasion worth remembering and I celebrate your happiness.” An ART gift can take the form of flat art or three-dimensional work or fine-art jewelry. It is not as difficult as one might think to buy art for someone else: nearly everyone has a passion, special interest or hobby of some kind that can be represented or reflected in a piece of ART. Here are some random examples from our team at ARTprojectA:

  • Your husband who loves fly fishing: Sip Rise, by Lisa Holley.
  • Your friends who just opened their first restaurant: Lupercalia Feasting, by Simon Casson
  • Your 15 year old daughter who is obsessed with horses: Boots, Rope, by Jenny Gummersall
  • 10th anniversary present for your wife: Calla Lily, by Imogen Cunningham
  • The man in your life who will never grow up: Born to Ride, by Larry Stephenson.
  • The fashionable girl in your life: Italian Series, by Inez Storer
  • Your outdoorsy boyfriend: Little Wood Storm, by Kirk Anderson
  • You Zen sister: Sacred Pine, by Era Farnsworth.
  • Wedding gift for your best friends (who happen to love boats): Little Red Skiff, by Hope Zaccagni
  • Your young god son: Let’s Rumba, by Andrew Romanoff
  • College grad who is a risk taker: Still Life, by Lloyd Durling
  • Dog lover in your life: Dog Grid 1, Ruth Silverman
  • Your nature-loving, environmentally conscious cousin: Dual Circles, by Owen Mortensen.
  • Your niece who somehow already has everything: Owl Stud Earrings, by Susan Elnora.
  • Your mother, to express how special she is: Prairie Grass Earrings, by Sydney Lynch
  • A new baby: Suddenly I Wake Up, by Diana Stetson
  • Your brother who just got engaged: Name in Lights, by Tony May

Still stumped? Go to our Gift Ideas section, or give us a call. We love to problem solve!