Purchasing Original Art
As an artist and art-lover, I get asked all kinds of questions about purchasing art. How do you know if something is “good” art? What’s the difference between an original painting and a print? Should I shop online, at a gallery, or at a fine art festival? How do artists price their artwork? And the list goes on…
Here are some of my thoughts on buying artwork from my own personal experience:
Do you love the piece of art at first sight? Does it grab your attention and then pull you in for a closer look? Does it make you happy or move you? If it does any of these things, then consider it a great buy! You're going to walk by this piece on your wall at home every day, and it will lift your spirit. It's something that happens both consciously and subconsciously.
|"Happiness" 24x24 original acrylic on canvas, SOLD. I sold this painting to a woman who had seen some of my artwork in person, began following my facebook page, and then saw me post this piece as my featured painting one month. I let her know the specifics through messages, she purchased, and I shipped it out to Arizona! I always ask my clients to let me know when they've received a painting through the mail that it arrived safe and that they are satisfied; she messaged me instantly that she absolutely loved it! Ahhh, "Happiness."|
Often I hear, "I don't have space for anything else." If you love the piece, don’t worry about finding a place for it. When you get it home, you’ll find the perfect place. You may even choose to freshen up your home by moving things around a bit. (I'll try to do a blog soon on how I hang and rotate artwork at my house).
Original art is always my preference. I love purchasing a piece that I know is one-of-a-kind. I like knowing the artist has created it from start to finish, making it with his or her own hands. There is so much amazing original art that is affordable and unique. I am not 100% against purchasing prints (otherwise known as reproductions), I just feel that there is something extra special about an original piece. That's also why I choose to only offer original paintings. Some original paintings are not always in the budget for everyone; however, I offer a variety of sizes enabling me to offer a variety of price points. Do not feel like you have to have a HUMONGOUS painting for it to make an impact. Small pieces can be intimate and make a striking statement. In my personal opinion, I'd rather have a small original than a huge print. If you have your heart set on a large piece that is a bit out of your immediate budget, talk to the artist and see if they'll do a lay-away option. It makes complete sense that sometimes you may need to save up for a special buy. I have offered this option to patrons and work with people all the time. Most artists have their own lay-away policies, too. All of that being said, I do appreciate all art and if a print speaks to you, well then by all means enjoy it! Also, certain mediums (for example, photography and printmaking) lend themselves to be made as prints and I fully appreciate all forms of art!
Is it safe to buy art online? I say, feel safe shopping online if you have already seen the artist’s work in person previously, if they have good reviews, if there is a return policy, or if the artist can make some type of guarantee, and if there is a detailed description so you know exactly what you are purchasing. Often an artist can provide you detail photographs and photographs from all angles to help you see the artwork more fully online - just ask. Most of the time the artwork will arrive and be even more impressive in person than what the photograph portrays (I see this all of the time when jurying art images sent in by artists applying for exhibitions or festivals.)
|Here I marketed my painitng, "Tulips," online. The addition of a side/profile image helps the viewer see that the painting wraps around the edge of the stretched canvas, making it ready to hang without a frame. This painting is currently available for purchase and being represented at the Left Bank Shop and Gallery in McGregor, Iowa.|
Should I shop at a gallery? Shopping at a gallery supports a local business and an artist at the same time! Selling art takes patience. As an artist, I know that it takes the right person seeing a painting that speaks to them before that piece will sell. Galleries enable an artist to show their artwork on a long term basis and to an audience interested in buying artwork. You also know that artwork at a gallery has been viewed and juried by the gallery, therefore it meets a certain level of professionalism and quality. Most of the time a painting will have the same retail value from the artist and from the gallery. While the gallery takes a commission from the artist, the artist is happy to give this commission knowing the gallery has done the work of providing a storefront and place for people to see and purchase their artwork. When artwork sells at the gallery, the gallery is encouraged to keep that artist's art in stock.
|Here are some of my original paintings on display at the Guttenberg Gallery in Guttenberg, IA.|
What kind of quality can you find at a fine art festival? Like a gallery, fine art festivals generally have a jury process that accepts a certain number of artists and high quality of art to be on exhibit any given year. My favorite thing about shopping for art at a fine art festival is getting the chance to meet the artist in person. You can hear first-hand what the artist was thinking when they were creating a piece or coming up with the title. There are often other perks to shopping at a fine art festival, like a bit of negotiating room or talking to the artist about their lay-away policy in person. The ambiance at festivals is fun, and there is great food and music. Artists may even be able to guide you in a color combination that suits your new home makeover. Even if you aren't on the hunt for a specific piece, attending a fine art festival is a super fun way to spend the day taking in wonderful sights, tastes, and sounds.
I could go on and on about buying art, because I LOVE IT! However, I'll wrap it up with this last thought: When buying a piece of original art with which you connect, you're connecting with that artist who created it. Your're supporting an individual, their family, a dream, a passion. You're also investing in something that will last. Think about how much you spend every 4 to 6 weeks to have your hair cut and colored, or what you spend going out to eat, etc. All of these things are great luxuries and help us feel uplifted, but investing in artwork is an uplifting act that lasts. I often justify my art purchases knowing that, and knowing that I've helped support a local artist, a local business, and knowing I'll get to enjoy it for years to come.
So splurge on that painting that calms or excites you. I've never once regretted an art purchase!
Come see me at my booth at:
I'll have original paintings in all sizes, along with 50 other regional artists who will be exhibiting works in photography, sculpture, ceramics, woodworking, fiber, drawing, and more!