Buying art can be daunting for many people, so here are some suggestions!
Visit the artist
Painting is a solitary occupation and we are only too delighted to break for coffee and a chat with anyone who’s vaguely interested in our work. You will get a first hand look at where the work is created, the process and often be able to pick up pieces that would otherwise not be up for sale. The Salt Studio shop is an excellent example of a collaboration of artists selling preparatory or non gallery work.
Open studios are a great way to visit artists in a much more casual atmosphere. I am part of the fantastic Henley Arts Trail which runs for three days next weekend, and typically we have about a thousand people through over the bank holiday (this year is the 2-4th May). It’s fun, there are plenty of venues, and an enormous variety of art and artists to see.
Look at artist or gallery websites. Decide what you like then you can either visit the artist or the gallery to view it in person. I find a lot of people buy prints online, but most prefer to see originals in the flesh before committing to a purchase.
Ask them their advice! Tending a gallery can lean towards being a bit dull if no one talks to you! Most gallery owners or managers will be only too delighted to help find something to suit your taste and budget. There isn’t the pressure of engaging with one artist and the gallery owner will have a broad knowledge of art, able to source work outwith their current exhibition or published list of artists. Penny at Oil and Water does the excellent ‘try before you buy’ scheme, meaning you can take the work home, live with it for a day or two and then decide. A lot of galleries are signed up to ‘own art‘ meaning you can pay in instalments, from as little as £10 a month until the work is paid for. Most artists are also happy to do this, several of my original sales or commissions are paid in 3-6 instalments by standing order.
The Affordable Arts Fair and similar are the best way to immerse yourself in the art scene without the obligation to engage with galleries or artists. You can browse thousands of artists, glass of wine or coffee in hand, until you find work that captures your attention. My work will be at the Hampstead Affordable Arts Fair June 11th-14th, showing with Eduardo Alessandro Studios
At last spring is ambling into view. I always view the art season as kicking off with the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea park in mid March. I was lucky enough to get tickets for the private view, and so I duly trotted along with the talented Tania Still for company. As we made (very slow, as one or other of us knew someone in almost every stand) progress around the fair, I was really struck by how many fresh pieces of work were on display. I absolutely LOVED these pieces by Alan Kingsbury on the Panter and Hall stand. Apparently he had a bit of a revelation a couple of years ago, threw all he knew into the air, and started producing these massive, simple, but so striking still life’s.
VERY excitingly I am going to be exhibiting at the next A.A.F. at Hampstead in the 11th-14th June with the Eduardo Alessandro Studios I am busy burning the midnight oil producing some really cracking pieces that will be shown at the fair. I’m afraid I’m going to keep most of them under wraps until then, but can share this bulldog with you…
Bulldog 28×28 inches £2775
I really admire the EA Studios, they represent some incredible artists and I’m honoured to join the team. I particularly love Ron Lawson’s work, an artist I would love to own a piece by!
I’m honoured to be one their front cover this year. I have a lot of new work, and as we invested in a gallery hanging system for the studio last autumn it will look great when it’s all up. There’s a fresh team at the helm of the HAT committee, and a few new venues, so let’s hope for a weekend of fine weather!
I’ve been totally hooked on this series, and can’t wait to see who wins. My money is on Paul or Claire. I’ve also been surprised at the general low standard (these 10 were the best from 6000 entries?!?) and the outcry over the judges critiques. I realise I also now sound critical, but drawing and painting is as much as skill as any other discipline and some of them have not the slightest grasp of perspective, proportion or composition. To use an example, we would expect a competition featuring Britain’s best amateur musician to feature people who have a reasonable grasp of playing an instrument. I think it demonstrates the fairly dire state of many of our art schools in this country, the loss of basic draughtsmanship, with a few notable exceptions, (lavenderhillstudios.com, drawpaintsculpt.com) elsewhere the trite view ‘art is subjective’ is parroted. So is music subjective, but I doubt you’d want to listen to a musician who had never practised the basic skills of playing…. Believe me you don’t. My daughter is learning the recorder, she thinks she sounds amazing. I’ve rediscovered the joys of earplugs.
But perhaps you don’t agree? Maybe art is best left untaught, and everyone should develop at liberty, free from from the constraints of the past? Let me know….