Starting an art collection — or even just purchasing a few special items for your home — can seem intimidating. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that there are no real rules. Unless you’re in the art market to make money, it’s really about choosing what speaks to you and what you’ll enjoy living with, and often that means it might not necessarily even “match” the exact style of your house. Certainly, if you have say, a midcentury modern home, and you also love the art of that era then, by all means, shop and buy with that in mind.
However, some of the most interesting homes are often eclectic, with art of all types merging with the décor. Renowned Seattle artist Daphne Minkoff, who is currently showing her work at The Linda Hodges Gallery in Seattle and who is a professor at North Seattle College says “I think people need to trust their instincts and follow people whose work speaks to them!” However, below, she offers up more practical advice:
Make the Rounds
Go check out First Thursdays or other local gallery art walks if you live in a city or town that has them. Knowledge of local artists and galleries will help you figure out what kind of art you like. Don’t be afraid to ask the artists or gallery assistants questions.
Write down what catches your eye, and then continue to follow the work of those artists online.
Check Payment Plans
If a piece is beyond your price point, some galleries may be willing to set up installments for work, so you don’t have to it pay all at once.
Prints vs. Paintings
Look at buying prints instead of paintings. They are usually more affordable. Art colleges often have annual art fairs where students sell prints, and photos, and paintings. This is another great way to support young artists and also get some lovely, inexpensive work.
Check Museum and Gallery Rentals
Sometimes you can rent works from museums or galleries for a few months so you can live with the work before you commit to buying it. If you decide to buy it, the rental fee may go towards the purchase of the piece.
Remember, too, that “art” is a term that can be used to loosely describe many things besides paintings. For instance, are you a comic book fan? Signed pieces from artists at shows like Comic-Con, or even just actual pages from comic books can be framed and displayed. So can book covers, children’s artwork, vintage posters, old maps, family photographs, or magazine covers. When I was a child, my father collected all of his Rolling Stone magazine covers shot by Annie Leibovitz, and we blew up some of our favorites to hang as art in the family room.
Likewise, my current living room has everything from framed temple rubbings I did in Thailand to festival posters from Puerto Rico—all of which speak to my far-flung travels and give my guests a peek into one of my passions. Though my house is quite modern, I love mixing antique furniture with contemporary, and my choice of art follows that same principle. It’s like Minkoff says: “Trust your instincts.” Similar to your favorite couch, art should make your home look great and feel comfy too.
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