Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Few Suggestions About Buying Art

If you're looking for ideas for Christmas, whether for others or yourself, art is one of the gifts that keeps on giving. You can look at a painting in a gallery for a few minutes and get inspired or challenged or comforted by it.... But afterwards, you've moved on and it becomes a hazy memory-blip. On the other hand, you can purchase the piece, place it in your living room or office (home or work) and extract pleasure from it for the rest of your life.

About five years ago I bought a print of Jack Vettriano's Amateur Philosophers
as a birthday present for myself. It's a present that has never diminished in value. By value I mean not the price but the personal reward we get out of having it. A couple years later we added a very cool photo of two Romanian men that seemed to convey the same sense of intrigue. The two pictures relate well with one another and make an appropriate backdrop for the monthly Philosophy Club meetings in our living room.

Before you buy art you may want to think about the reason you're purchasing it. In my opinion you should buy art that you actually like. A wrong reason for buying a painting, photograph or sculpture might be because you think it may go up in value some day. Unless investing is what you do for a living. As for me, I would love to see my paintings and drawings go up in value over time, but for sure I do not want anyone buying my stuff if they do not like it personally.

One of Canadian artist Oliver Ray's tips for buying art is to shop online where there's plenty to see and you don't have to worry about parking. He also suggests working directly with the artists themselves. It's easier than ever, through social media and blogs, to build relationships with emerging artists whose work you relate to.

Obviously when I say build a relationship with the artist, I'm not talking about the purchase of Picassos and Van Goghs here (though if you're interested, we could talk about my own Blue Van Gogh above) nor is this advice directed toward the mega-wealthy who purchase a Warhol or Munch for it's collector value as an enhancement to one's private collection. On the other hand, the essential point still holds true: only buy what you really, really like.

What I am trying to suggest is this. Remember when we were kids and we'd buy posters and hang them in our rooms. The posters said something about us and also did a lot to keep the walls from being boring. Those posters expressed something in us and about us.

Art can do the same things. The pictures in my office each say something about me.

There was a saying I once heard when I was in the screen printing industry: "Wearing a t-shirt without screen printing on it is like walking around in your underwear." I would suggest that walls are the same. They're meant to have messages on them... suitable images that say something more than "I'm naked."

In closing, check out Alison Jardine's Haughty Culture on display at the UGallery.

And if you're looking for something of mine, you can find a small collection of giclees at the Discovered Artists gallery...

Both these galleries have a wide range of artists and works to explore. Just a start point though. Any town of modest size has an arts community with plenty to see locally and in person. Check 'em out.

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