Buying your first original artwork can be daunting. For many, art is something once owned by wealthy industrialists that’s revered in lofty public spaces. It’s not something in your home competing for attention with Peppa Pig.
But it can be. Here’s my advice on taking that step from appreciating to owning with confidence
Visit those lofty public galleries.
See and experience what’s gone before. You won’t like everything. Some of it, both old and new, will leave you cold. But almost by osmosis you will build confidence in your own opinion. So when it comes to buying, you’ll have faith in your judgment.
Visit commercial art galleries.
Their white walled interiors and sales assistants clicking Mac keyboards proclaim ‘gallery’, but first and foremost they are shops. Without you visiting and buying original artwork, they close down.Keep visiting, keep looking, keep building confidence through ‘osmosis’. Talk to the gallery owners and assistants. For many running a gallery is a labour of love and they’ll be only too happy to tell you about their artists and their work. Art fairs are a great place to meet lots of galleries and see a vast range of work by artists all in one place. They’re informal – dogs are often welcome as well!
Trust your instincts.
Appreciating an artwork isn’t just about what you see, it’s about what you feel. A strong piece of art will elicit an emotional re-action that doesn't need to be analysed or articulated.
Ask yourself will you get bored.
A good artwork will always be a good artwork. Before buying think about how you might re-act in six months, a year, twenty years…..? Still like it? Then go for it. You won’t regret it.
Original art doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
You can own and enjoy an original piece from as little as a few quid. Visit your local art school degree show. Buying a graduate's work is a great way to start a collection on a budget. And who knows, you may buy from the next Damien Hirst?
And once you’ve bought an original, take it home, hang it with pride and enjoy it. There is plenty of empirical evidence to support the value of cultural experiences and the value of art. Art gives us joy and the opportunity to reflect, warming the soul.
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