Monday, July 11, 2011

The why (and how) of buying original art

 Faded Glory
Watercolor by Lynne Hurd Bryant

I am preparing to move my art website to another webhost.  I need to be saving some of my better blogs as once I am moved, they will be lost.  This is a repost from my website proper.

Most people are intimidated when it comes to buying original artwork. There are many reasons why this is the case. I believe most people feel that original art is out of their league and their budget. In today's contemporary art world, this is often not the case. Increasingly art is being sold on the internet and competition is stiff. The days of spending Saturday afternoons in a gallery district browsing through expensive pieces in ugly frames are gradually coming to an end, in favor of late nights on the computer. There is no intimidating, hungry for a sale gallery person to follow the perspective buyer around, and the would-be buyer doesn't have to keep an opinion to themselves!

Another reason is that people don't know what they are buying. Is the piece good? Does it mean something? Is it okay to form their own opinions? Who is the artist? Who are they buying from? Is this really art, or is it junk? Unless someone is very well known and their pieces sell for a great deal of money, it is not likely a buyer has ever heard of them. This is the great unknown, but it doesn't have to be.

The vast majority of artists have websites. They also have blogs. This gives a potential buyer a chance to get to know the artist. A simple email and a request to discuss a given piece will usually give the interested buyer an "in" with the artist. Artists love to talk about their work. This is the connection factor that artists and patrons treasure; the artist because they feel connected to their collectors, and collectors have the cache of knowing about the artist, the piece in particular, the artist's training and techniques that they can share with everyone who sees the original artwork in their home or office. The buyer becomes an instant expert on the work they own.

Most people don't know that a painting is worth more if they have a signed, dated Certificate of Authenticity from the artist. If a collector finds that original artwork is like a potato chip, and they can't have just one, the day will come when they will want to insure their collection, sell it to someone else or leave it to a family member. Valuing artwork and transferring ownership is much more difficult when there is no COA. If you purchase an original, be sure to ask for a COA and protect your future interests.

Brick and mortar galleries attract a certain crowd. Shopping online means you can wear your pajamas and state your opinions freely. You can shop at your convenience. The question then becomes, where do I find artists and artwork? You could certainly google, but you can look on Facebook. There are many fabulous artists with fan pages here. Search for pet artists, floral artists, watercolorists, oil painters, landscape artists and portrait artists...they are all here. You can also visit somewhere like and browse lots of artists with your mouse, read blogs, know your artists and compare prices.

In the final analysis, there is only one thing you really need to know about buying original artwork: Do you like it? If you find something that sends you every time you look at it, that is the one to buy. If you find someone whose style you really like, but not a particular piece you love, contact the artist about a commission. There is nothing more special than having original artwork made just for you, and you don't have to be millionaire to afford it.

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