Original art is a wonderful way to adorn your home and work environment, reflect your personality, and create a safe and beautiful haven for yourself and others. Living with art is joyful and positive. Looking at art brings the beauty out of every soul. Make this year a time to create a positive and peaceful place. Now is the time to start!
It can be daunting walking into a gallery or artist’s studio when confronted with so much to see… and deciding which artwork would be just right for you can seem difficult. Everyone has different tastes and you might not be sure how to begin. Here are a few simple tips that can help you to start and continue your collection.
First, go look at a lot of art! You do not need to make quick decisions, but you can get a feel for the types of art you like and the colors and sizes that might work in your home and business. You do not need to match the sofa, and sometimes artwork is the starting place for an interior design theme or makeover. When possible, meet the artist. This will give you some insight into the art, and perhaps you will find deeper meaning too or have your feelings confirmed about the piece that moves you.
Visit artist’s studios and receptions where you can see new art and ask questions about the work. These are festive occasions and a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening. Ask the artists for their resumes and web addresses and look them up. You can tell quickly if an artist has been working as a lifelong artist and experience is one verification that your instincts are right. Sometimes you may meet a very promising emerging artist. Purchasing work from young or emerging artist of any age will help them move ahead with you as their partner and collaborator.
There is no right or wrong when you choose art you love. Often you will be instantly captivated by a painting, sculpture or piece of fine craft work. Usually your first instinct is the right one. You will be drawn to the emotion a work conveys or it might be a reminder of a place or time that is precious in your memory. But make sure the art is well made, and the artist knows their materials so the work will last for generations. Look over the surface of paintings carefully, make sure sculpture is stable and weighted so it does not tip over. For large works, make sure the wiring is sound and installation is easy and safe. Sometimes the artists can install a work for you, but usually a professional art installer is required if you have a tricky wall such as brick, or a particularly heavy piece. Safety first! Ask the artist or gallery representative who is the best to install the work if you feel you cannot do it yourself.
When buying art, make sure to check the back side or reverse of the piece. An art piece should look good front, back, and side. Crooked corners, thin canvas, wobbly frames all impact the durability of the piece. Ask the artist about the materials her/she uses....are they archival (durable), stable, permanent? These are important factors when considering buying any original artwork. Any reputable gallery or experienced artist should be able to answers the questions you might have.
Figure out ahead of time how much you wish to spend, and shop with intelligence. Compare pricing in your area too. Generally lifelong artists with years of experience command higher prices, but not always. If you find an artist you like, talk to them about the types of work they do, the size you wish to acquire, what your budget is and let them help you find the right piece. Most artists have much more art than what is on display. You may find that there is just the right piece in the artist’s collection and not currently on display. Galleries should be able to help with this too.
Part 2 of this article is coming mid July 2017
Fleta Monaghan is founder and director of 310 ART in the River Arts District of Asheville, NC.