If you are in the market to buy an original piece of art, but have absolutely no idea where to start, we have some tips to help you in your purchase. The problem with buying art is that people tend to shy away from art galleries as they are a little intimidated, especially if they are first time art buyers. But if you have the money and want something to brighten up and make your walls more interesting, you are in just the same position as serious art collectors. And it is not all about looking for a ‘good piece of art’. Art is completely subjective. What you love your partner may hate and vice versa. There’s no such thing as good or bad taste when it comes to choosing art so you should feel free to really explore what it is that you like. Do you tend to look at the colours in a piece, or do you prefer portraits? Are landscapes your thing or do you like abstract paintings. What medium do you like? Here’s what we think you should be considering, when you buy original art:
1. Don’t feel intimidated
The top London galleries do not care whether you have bought a painting before or not. And if you view them as simply another retail store, you will not go far wrong. Their job is to help you make a satisfactory choice that you will have to live with for a long time. If anything, they should be trying that little bit harder as art is at the higher end of the retail spectrum. Before you go into any art gallery, we recommend that you do some research online and find out about any of your favourite artists, where they are showcasing their work, and how much they are selling for.
2. Set your budget
It is very important to know exactly how much you want to spend on a piece of art work and also how large you want the piece to be. So have in mind a limit that you will go upto, and calculate whether this allows you one large piece, or several smaller ones. If you are on a limited budget then try out prints to start with as they are a very affordable way to fill walls at home with art that not only looks great, but adds actual value to an art collection you may be starting or adding to.
3. Buy something you like, not what you think you should like
It is the golden rule of buying art, never buy something you think everyone else, or your peer group will like. It is you that has to live with the painting and art is most definitely subjective, like music. If your initial reaction was that you loved the piece then go with your instincts. Likewise, if you really don’t warm to a piece of art work but it is by the latest up and coming artist that is all the rage and being talked about on every Arts programme, don’t be persuaded to buy it. If you don’t love it the minute you saw it, chances are you will not when it is hanging in your home. Always buy the art that you love and what inspires you to collect.
4. Ensure original or limited-edition works are signed/supplied with a certificate of authenticity
As a general rule a painting is usually a one-off whilst a screenprint, etching or silkscreen will normally be produced in a limited edition. If you do buy a limited edition piece, this will undoubtably add value to your art purchase and the first 1-5 of an edition are normally more expensive than the rest. You’ll also find that as the edition sells out the whole art series becomes more valuable. So make sure you have the provenance that proves authenticity otherwise your purchase is just another piece of art.
5. Do your research at the degree shows and art fairs
If you are looking for new artists rather than older ones, then check out the many art college degree shows that are put on in the late summer, when students are finishing their art work for that term. Here you will see many different types of art work in one space and you may bag a bargain or spot a future star. Buying up work from a budding new star is a great way to build up your art collection. It also gives you a good feel for what is out there in terms of new artists and might give you some inspiration for something new and radical. Plus you get to meet the artist which is always a great opportunity for you to ask questions.