The art world can definitely feel like a confusing and mysterious world for the uninitiated.
And with multi-million-pound auction sales grabbing headlines, you’d be forgiven for thinking that buying art was something reserved for society’s elite.
However, buying quality, affordable art is still possible. In fact, with more channels for finding art online and discovering new talent from across the country, it’s become even easier!
We talked to the advisors at ArtsHaus, an online platform for affordable, original art, to get their top tips for finding the perfect piece for your home.
Get out there and get to know your style
Art is one of those fantastically personal purchases. One man’s trash is another’s treasure. So, the first thing you need to do is to get to know yourself and your artistic style.
Start looking at art in museums, in magazines, in galleries, online or even on Instagram! Get as much inspiration as you can to help figure out what you’re attracted to.
Don’t worry if you find that you have an eclectic taste and are drawn to numerous different styles and mediums. Just try to identify the themes which are cross-cutting i.e. do you like realistic artwork, or do you prefer the more abstract, do you look for subtlety or bright bold colour?
Buy with a space in mind
Are you looking for something for your living room or your bedroom? Would you like a single statement piece or a series of smaller works?
Having a space in mind allows you to narrow down your search based on basic requirements such as size, orientation, and colour; and ensure it’s really going to work with its surroundings.
Look to mirror colours in the artwork with colours in your furnishing for a harmonious feel and make sure to give your piece ample ‘breathing room’. Whether you love a piece or not, it’s never going to look at its best if it’s crammed into a small space or perhaps clashing with the wall colour!
Also, don’t underestimate the ‘mood’ or ‘feeling’ of the artwork. In the bedroom we might look to create a calming and restive environment, whereas the living room might be a space for energy and entertaining; therefore, the types of artwork you would choose would be entirely different.
Get familiar with the artist
If you are umming and ahhing over a piece or trying to determine whether it’s worth the money, do your research. It’s always worth getting to know more about the artist and the motivations behind their work.
Are they starting out in their career? Are they showing signs of becoming a well-known name? Have they won awards or prizes or exhibited at prestigious galleries?
This will give you an idea of the quality of the artist and the significance of their work, which will allow you to understand whether the price you are paying is fair. Indeed, it may have an effect on whether the piece in question has any promise of growing in value.
By finding out more about the artist or their artwork, you might also be amazed to hear how it was produced or the inspiration behind it. You may attach greater significance to the work due to this understanding or appreciation of the skill which went into making it.
Treat it as a long-term asset
Trends in interior design come and go, but a piece of artwork can become a lifelong partner that is kept and passed down from your generation to the next.
Find something you will enjoy looking at frequently if not daily and don’t be afraid to make a statement with your style! If you go for something ‘safe’ or ‘nice’, it might work well above your fireplace, but soon you’ll forget it’s even there!
The famous Spanish painter Joan Miró said that “in a picture, it should be possible to discover new things every time you see it . . . you can look at a picture every day for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.”
Don’t overlook the finishing touches
Congratulations! You found something amazing that you cherish and adore. Now, make sure you do the little things to make it really stand out.
For a sculpture, placing on a mount or stand rather than on the floor can give it greater presence. Whilst for paintings or prints the choice of a frame can have a huge impact on how it fits into its’ environment – and sometimes the frame itself provides an added decorative effect.
Choose materials which are in keeping with the furnishings of your existing home and compliment the artwork itself. Perhaps wooden frames are best if you have wood floors, whilst heavy gold frames might be a great accompaniment to a classic oil painting. Talk to a framer to get some ideas!
And finally, don’t make the common mistake of hanging your wall art too high – it should be at eye level when standing and less than a foot higher than the top of your sofa!
Otherwise, simply enjoy the process, and have fun looking for the perfect piece! And if you do ever need a hand – the ArtsHaus team will be happy to provide free personalised advice!
Image credits: ArtsHaus