Starting an art collection doesn't have to be complicated or overly expensive. Read my tips below for easy ways to begin enjoying art in your home.
Find local emerging artists
Google is your friend when looking for local artists. For example, if you are in Nashville and love abstract landscapes, just type in “Nashville abstract landscape artists.” When you are specific to the area and genre, you’ll narrow down your results. Most artists have their own websites that showcase their work. You can also find local art shows to see a variety of artists at one time, if the gallery scene is too intimidating. Find an artist whose work brings you joy. Just go with your gut. It’s all about what speaks to you afterall.
Use social media to your advantage. Search location specific hashtags on Instagram (i.e. #nashvilleart). You’ll find behind- the-scenes views of works in progress and often videos that show up-close details that you might otherwise not see. Don’t forget to follow artists you like! The next piece they post may be the one that you want.
Emerging artists in your community will often have more affordable works than more popular artists that are in high end galleries. Art doesn’t have to break the bank. Set a budget and stick to it; however, don’t ask the artist to lower their prices to meet your budget. They set their prices based on a variety of things and you should always respect their prices. Instead, sign up for the artist's email list. You’ll be the first to know about new art releases or special VIP discounts.
Did you know that many local artists will let you “try before you buy.” Just ask if they mind bringing a piece or two to your house so you can see how it looks in your space first. If it’s not quite right, but you still like their style, you can ask the artist about a commission. Commissions are not as mysterious as you may think and you can even provide color swatches that the artist will incorporate into your painting.
Collect small paintings
Small paintings generally have a smaller price tag. Do you have a spot on a bookshelf that needs a pop of color or more interest? What about a bare wall you can add to over time to create a gallery wall?
Purchase prints from an artist’s website if they offer them. Artists often produce giclee prints, which are high-quality prints using pigment-based inks that are archival. Artists hand sign these prints and sometimes offer them in limited editions, which makes them even more valuable.
If you can’t find or afford a giclee, you can purchase from a source like iCanvas. Believe it or not, you are still supporting an artist when buying from iCanvas because they provide artists with royalties each time a piece is purchased. Tip: If you are buying a canvas print from iCanvas, if the artist is local, ask about hand embellishing canvases to add texture and hand-signing the back.
If you are looking for limited edition prints and don’t know where to start, try going through an online art collective like Alpha’a. They are a women owned business that works directly with artists to provide limited edition prints in specific sizes to the public, as well as to hotels and businesses.
Buy original art safely from artists around the globe
If you had no luck finding local art you love, you don’t have to be limited to your surrounding area, or even your country. Reputable online galleries like Saatchi Art sell art from thousands of artists, at all different price points. You are able to see the total cost with shipping included as you shop. Saatchi gets paid by taking a commission that comes out of the total sale price, while the majority goes to the artist. They do a great job of promoting their artists and featuring work in collections on the site, so it’s a win, win.
Think of an art collection as an investment
Good art never depreciates or goes out of style. Not sure what’s “good”? Art is subjective, but try to look for unique pieces that don’t look like anything you’ve seen before. Most artists develop their own style that is exclusive to them and is hard to copy. Aside from that, just buy what you love!
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Vanessa Sharp Multon - Fine Artist based in the Nashville area. Specializing in abstract landscapes with genuine gold leaf.