How Do I Know What Art To Buy?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

An art collection
Photo by E. Bartholomew
This article is cheekily brought to you by the Official Art Store for WhereFishSing, with the announcement that at last, all of the Autumn and Winter cookbook paintings have been released for sale. Yes, all the original paintings are now available to own.

How do I know what art to buy?
It's a common and understandable question. I'm interested in having some original art on my walls, but I'm not sure what art to buy.

But what? Perhaps a quick think about what art to avoid would make things clearer.

Mass produced prints vs original art

Let's start with mass produced prints vs original art. A mass produced print, say from Ikea, has absolutely no possibility of financial appreciation. You may like it, it may be convenient. Your cash will go into the pocket of a multinational and you own a pretty but worthless picture.

An original piece of art, no matter how obscure the artist, has some potential for financial appreciation. How much will vary from artist to artist. You will be able to find an original that you love just as much as any mass produced piece. It will be unique. Until you are used to seeing original art vs mass produced prints, you may not be aware that an original will have so much more detail and life to it. A piece produced by hand almost always has this extra dimension. Buying an original means your cash will go into the pocket of the artisan and will help enable them to make more of their unique, labour intensive pieces.

A quick FYI. An original painting is one of a kind. An original print is not a reproduction, but an original piece in it's own right. There will be a limited number of these produced by a hands on method. A reproduction print is a mechanical reproduction of another piece of art. Reproductions may be in limited or unlimited editions and these have the least value due to the fact that they are essentially authorised copies.

So where to start? 

Look at art. Get to know your artists. Very quickly, actually instinctively, you will know what you like. You may have friends with similar taste. Ask them for artist recommendations. 

Figure out your price range. There is a perception that original art is unaffordable to the average person. Not so. Have a look around, online and off. Truly, there is art for every budget. Not to mention, for every size of wall.

There's a final litmus test for any artwork

It's the most important criteria of all which puts all uncertainty into place. Do you love it? While there's no guarantee that any original will realise the potential for financial growth, you can guarantee that you'll be gazing on this artwork for years to come. Does it make you feel? If not, pass. But if it's a source of happiness, if you would love to be living with it and it's in your price range, give Ikea a skip and go for it.

If you're thinking of starting a collection of art, you may also find 'Beginning your own art collection' useful.

Excited by the potential of owning an affordable original piece of art? Why not head on over to the Official Art Store for WhereFishSing and see if there's something there that sings to you.

More art technique articles

This article is one in an ongoing series of technical articles for artists, all archived together and accessible from here. The topics range from details on materials, to the business of art, to specific art techniques. Please make use of this resource.

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