buying art - getting started

Since I have such a fabulous art-related giveaway, I thought I would focus all of my posts on art for the home this week. Today's post is about where to buy art. Many people think the only place to buy original art is in a gallery but that's not true. In recent years, many new avenues have opened up that have really democratized the process of buying art. In addition, a lot of this artwork is affordably priced leaving you with no excuses for having that dog-eared reproduction of Van Gogh's Sunflowers on your wall.

Below some pointers to get you started:

1) Start at the beginning. Each year hundreds of young artists go to art college or university to study their craft. Along the way they stage gallery openings, fundraisers, and final year shows to display their art. Most of these events are open to the public and the work is often for sale. (What young, unemployed student wouldn't want to sell their art to you?) These places are often great places to pick up larger pieces of art for an affordable price. In Toronto, the Ontario College of Art and Design stages a fundraiser each year called Whodunit which features works of art by famous and not so famous artists all for the same price. The twist is the name of the artist is not revealed until you have purchased your piece. If you're lucky you might just pick up the work of a well-known artist for a steal!

OCAD's Whodunit Show via Blog TO

2) Look online. Does the thought of walking into a gallery setting make you nervous? These days you can buy a lot of amazing artwork from the comfort of your own home. Online art sites like Ugallery, 20x200, Eyestorm and Eye Buy Art allow you to persue the works of hundreds of well known and lesser known artists at your leisure. Most of these sites offer signed, limited edition artworks in a range of sizes at affordable prices. We bought the following works for our home through online art sites.

About Four Thirty and The Architects by William Wegman

Mameve, Cambridge, MA by Robert Knight (slightly obscured!)

3) Get outside. Many cities stage outdoor art exhibitions throughout the summer months. This is a great way to see a large selection of work in different disciplines. The one thing to look out for is the word “juried”. This ensures that there was some kind of selection process when the exhibition was put together. In Toronto , The Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition held at City Hall is a great place to peruse a large selection of art.

Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition via blogTO

4) All in one place. One of the best ways to further your art education is to attend an International Art Fair. An art fair is simply a gathering of a group of galleries in one spot usually over a 3-4 day period. For a small admission price you can wander the space talking to gallery owners and looking at the artists they represent. If there happens to be one in your city or close by take the time to attend. The following link has a comprehensive list of art fairs happening throughout the world. They really are a great place to see a huge selection of work in one convenient location.

TIAF via Kelly Richardson

5) Hit the galleries. Finally, one weekend, go to your local galleries. At this point, you'll have pretty good idea of what it is you like and how much you are willing to spend. If you see something you like and you can afford it - buy it. Chances are the next time the same artist has a show the prices are only going to go up. I kick myself at the number of pieces I should have bought years ago! Also, most galleries have a place where you can sign up to be on their mailing list. Add your name to the list! This is a great way to keep informed of upcoming shows and events happening at the gallery.

Queen Street galleries in Toronto via Everywhere Mag

Tomorrow I'll be back here with some ideas about where and how to hang art. In the meantime, don't forget to enter the amazing giveaway from Paperwork gallery where you could win a giftcard for art for you own wall.