Buy Art! Top Artists! Selling Fast! Buy Now!
In our digital, polished and ad-saturated world, it can seem confusing and daunting when it comes to where and how to look for quality, genuine art pieces. So where to start? We give you our best advice on where to look, and how to feel confident of making a savvy purchase.
Surely the easiest way to see art is online. This can seem like a gold mine and trap at the same time. So many wonderful pieces to look at, but how do you know if they are worthwhile art investments? And how can you possibly view them all to compare? The short answer is, you can’t view them all, but the good news is that you don’t need to. You firstly need to establish if the online platform you are looking at is likely to show you the kind of quality pieces of art you’re looking for.
We love our socials and being able to scroll through endless beautiful art, which also makes it all blend together and seem impossible to tell what’s worth looking at. So here’s our first tip: if the artist has a large following, their work may be what we call ‘decorative’ or ‘decor art’. Decor art, even though hand made by the artist and individually signed, will often be pretty, follow current interior design trends/colours and will often be only variations on other pieces by the same artist. This repetitious nature can demonstrate that the artist has noticed what sells well and continues to make financial and consumer-based decisions, rather than following their own artistic journey. If, however, they have a big following and their prices are very high, they might simply be a well known artist. We suggest looking for artists with a smaller following, unless you intend to make a large investment.
There are many great sites selling original artworks with many, even hundreds of artists. Often the larger sites have less quality-control and often no guidance on pricing (artists upload their own works and set their own prices). That isn’t to say there isn’t genuinely good art to be found, it just makes your job that bit harder to sort through. We suggest looking at the smaller sites - their selection will be smaller and their pricing might seem higher, but this is in fact a good thing. It means the artists and works have been curated and these higher quality artists will price their works accordingly.
The easiest way to find quality art by far, is to go to an art gallery (note, art gallery, not framers, not poster shop). Galleries work closely with their artists and only put forth quality art pieces from genuine artists. They make sure the artwork is made with quality materials and is by an artist with much experience and mastery of their art, exhibited their work widely and who has a good sales record that shows increasing value. Art galleries, however, can seem daunting and it is often believed that gallery pricing is far beyond the first time collector. At Vernissage Art we have heard this many times and while this hasn’t been true of our gallery, we understand the feeling - even we feel intimidated in some galleries! So what’s the solution? We suggest taking the best of both worlds - introducing the online stockroom of the art gallery. Most art galleries will list their available artworks on their website with full details including price. You may be surprised to see that many artworks on a gallery website can be quite affordable.
In Australia, we have just a few to choose from: Sydney Contemporary, Melbourne Art Fair, The Affordable Art Fair (which launched in Australia last year with it’s debut in Melbourne), and The Other Art Fair. Art fairs are fantastic for seeing thousands of artworks in the flesh all in the one place. They can also feel overwhelming, confusing and frenzied. The trick is to take your time and look at the experience as a chance to connect with galleries and artists and only purchase if you feel sure about the work. Yes, someone might snap up a piece you like, but a great artist will have other great pieces and will often make you another piece that you will also love. Avoid pushy sales people: a genuine professional in the business will be more interested in the piece going to someone that appreciates the artist and the artwork than the sale. (We will revisit this topic closer to the Affordable Art Fair in September, with information on the different art fairs, types of works and pricing you can expect.)
There are plenty of other places you might come across artworks: furniture stores, home decor shops - even in cafes and restaurants! But the advice is the same every time: look to the artist, not the work. Do your research, become an art sleuth - find out what you can about the artist so you have more context than just the one piece you can see. However, in general, these aren’t the places that will have guaranteed great, collectable art. So, back to the question: where does one look to find great, quality, collectable art? It’s out there for you to see if you look in the right places: smaller art websites, established art galleries and their online stockrooms, art fairs. If you think you’ve found a source of great art pieces, join their mailing list and check in on their social media/website from time to time to see the new pieces coming in and featured artists.
Finding the right piece for you can take time and building trust with the source will help in making your final decision. But, is right now the time to be thinking about art anyway? We know this is a difficult time of uncertainty, so next week we discuss why we think art is important right now.