Getting Real: How to Buy Art

Top 3 Things to Consider When Buying Art

The art world at times can seem a little intimidating. If you don’t know a thing about art other than what you like, it can seem that everyone else you deal with when it comes to art knows a great deal more about it than you.

Retro_on Portobello Road_Notting Hill_London_5130 by Nicky Jameson

Art Photograph – Retro on Portobello Road, Notting Hill Gate, London by Nicky Jameson

There are three main areas you need to consider when it comes to buying art:

  • Remember, what you like is most important
  • A little education isn’t harmful
  • Set yourself a budget and once set, stick to it.

Firstly, you need to understand the type of art that really inspires you. There’s more to art than paintings – consider photographs and sculpture as well. Do you prefer faithful depictions of real-world items, or are your tastes a little more abstract? Do you love as much colour in a piece as possible, or are you inspired by minimalism and simplicity? Getting to know your particular tastes is the first important step, and so it helps if you can expose yourself to as much art as possible before you make a purchase. There’s nothing worse than making your final decision one day, then stumbling upon that “one perfect piece” the next.

You can begin your art-buying education by visiting museums and galleries. If you’re really serious, try and get in touch with other collectors, or acquire the services of an art consultant. Go to art fairs and art markets. If you go to galleries you may be able to talk to art-lovers in your local community. You could even attend art auctions, although resist placing  any bids until you’ve really managed to educate yourself. Include online galleries and artist websites in your education – you can often learn more about the inspiration behind the artwork, the artist and where you can find more of their art.  Art plays a big role in home (and office) decoration, so think about where in your home the artwork will live.

When you feel you’re educated enough, you’re ready to make that first purchase. The important thing is to buy what you love, but if you’re going to be spending a lot of money, it makes more sense to buy an artwork that doubles as an investment piece. See if you can find out about any artists who are seen as emerging talents, but expect to pay at least $1,000 for a piece by someone who is seen as having a genuine promise of developing into something special.

Here then, is a unique seven-point guide to buying art:

  1. Perform your research. Familiarize yourself with various medium and styles. Expose yourself to as much art as you can.
  2. Set your budget. Be prepared to stretch yourself though. If you find something you love but it’s a little bit over budget, it’s often worth the slight overspend.
  3. Visit art auctions. Learn how to behave yourself at an art auction before making any bids.
  4. Find collectors and consultants. You will learn invaluable lessons about how the art world works from such people.
  5. Always buy what you love. Art is a very personal thing. If you fall in love with a piece, buy it, and ignore all other advice!
  6. Look for emerging artists. If you are looking for your art to double as an investment, art from new artists always has the greatest chance of increasing in value.
  7. Keep the paperwork. If your piece suddenly becomes extremely valuable, you’ll need details in order for it to be authenticated and valued.

A great artwork should inspire, even if the only person it inspires is you!  Art is a life-long learning experience, so continue seeking out and exposing yourself to it. Happy art hunting!

Art Photograph: Retro on Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London by Nicky Jameson.

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I'm Nicky Jameson Digital Artist from London, England, based in Toronto. A Modern Memory Keeper, my mission is to create and share iconic and lasting London and Toronto Cityscapes, and connections to Home. Visit Nicky Jameson Art to view more of my creations and purchase art or visit to support my art and check out my membershipQuestions? Call 4165003314 or email via my contact form.