So you want to start collecting art? Perhaps you read my last post and now you have a general idea of what you're looking for. Good! That's half the battle! You are now ready for the fun part...hunting down that perfect piece for your space. So, where do you start? Here are just a few places where you can begin your search:
1. Local Art Walks
Most towns (big and small) will have some sort of art event from time to time. I just found out that my town hosts art walks every 2nd Friday, right downtown. The art stores, boutiques, galleries and local studios open their doors so you can see the latest art happenings. And my favorite part...free wine and music (emphasis on the free wine). It's also a great way to explore new stores and galleries without pressure to buy. Super low-key but personal.
2. Art Fairs
When I lived in Chicago, there were so many art fairs to choose from. Just about every month (and every week during the summer) something was happening. These are so fun and relaxed. Most times, the artists have to enter their artwork and pay a high rate to even get a space, so the artwork is usually very high quality. Artists also have to bring and set up their own tent and artwork and then sit the entire weekend at their booth. I mention this because it often gets overlooked, but artists put a lot of work into these events, so its a great way to support them. Without them, these events couldn't happen.
An obvious place to find good art. If you are able to make it to an opening, you get bonus points. The artist will be there and once again free wine and snacks are usually available. Galleries will switch out their artwork every few weeks or months depending on their clientele. If you are in a bigger city, there are usually art districts that will have several art galleries close to one another, which makes for an easy gallery hop!
4. Open Studios
This is probably one of my favorite ways to check out local artists. Artists will open their studios (which are often in their homes) and display their artwork in their work space. When we lived up North, the Marin Open Studios was so much fun. It was a great way to explore new areas and neighborhoods. You can go at your own pace and choose which artists you want to check out. What I notice with this type of setup is that you'll get a wide range of talent, from very professional artists, to those who enjoy it as a hobby or use a lot of glitter and Elmer's glue (not that there's anything wrong with that)! Either way, its fun to support them and check out where they work!
5. Flea Markets
Oh yes. If you want to do a bit of digging and sorting, flea markets are a really great spot to find artwork. Some may be antiques that are a little rough around the edges, but if you can look beyond that, it's a very budget friendly place to hunt down your perfect piece of art. Be sure to inspect the piece and make sure it's in good condition. Also, this is a great spot to barter with the seller for a lower price. Also, keep an open mind. Many pieces can easily be reframed and cleaned up, so they can take on a second life on your walls!
A great place to check out artwork online. Of course its not as personal as seeing it in person, but in general, Etsy sellers do a really good job of listing their pieces, adding plenty of pictures and detailed descriptions to make the buying experience as transparent as possible. I've been pleasantly surprised with some of the artists I've contacted on Etsy. Sometimes I just want to see a different photo of a painting or I have a specific question, and they are generally very happy to send me any information I need. It's also a great way see whats out there before actually "going out there." Couch potato art hunting, perhaps, but its fun!
Another place to find artwork! Just using the hashtag #art can allow you to see some pretty amazing (and sometimes scary) artwork. If you want to get a more narrow focus, use #abstract, #landscapepainting, #acrylic, #linedrawing, #oilpainting, etc. You may have to weed through some questionable things, but once an artist catches your eye, check out their website and see what their all about. What I like about Instagram is, if done well, it allows the artist to tell a story and show their process of how their art has evolved time. Here are a few of my favorite insta-artsits: @katyanngilmore, @emilyjeffords, @jennyprinn
8. Art Brokers
I don't have experience working with art brokers, but I know they can be a helpful tool when searching for artwork. Art brokers can be beneficial to artists because they have a network of contacts and first hand experience in buying and selling artwork. I would say this would be a more high end service, so probably not ideal to someone just starting an art collection.
Remember, art is all around you, you just have to go out and find it! Don't ever feel pressured to buy a piece if you are not 100% comfortable with it. However, some art sells quickly, so once you know what you want and it's within your budget, be ready to pull the trigger. Be sure to get the artists information in case you ever need to contact them or want to refer them to a friend.
Best of luck my friends, go grab yourself some amazing artwork (and a few glasses of free wine)! You'll love it and your walls will thank you. Promise!
Photo Credit: The Other Art Fair