How to buy your first piece of art
Art can be an intimidating world. It seems that everyone understands what's going on except you, which can make it difficult to buy your first piece of art. It's not that difficult. It's really about educating yourself, setting and sticking to your budget.
Educating yourself begins with visiting museums and galleries. Decide what you like. Talk to other collectors or art consultants. Go to galleries and start to meet these people and talk to other people in the community.
Another way to get a feel for the art world is to attend art auctions to learn about value and the speed of bidding. By doing this, you learn about various periods, styles, value and, importantly, what you like. Visiting galleries also gives you the chance to see young artists as galleries feed to museums.
Once you feel confident and are ready to make your first purchase, it's about setting and sticking to your budget. Buy what you love but if you're going to spend a lot of money, you may want it to be an investment piece. The reason why you should set a budget is because you could get carried away during an art auction. The energy of the room and the rapid-fire pace of bidding could make you blow your budget.
So what is the budget for an investment piece? It's a wide range but expect to spend from $1,000 to $10,000 for an emerging artist's work. If you think you can score a bargain from an outdoor art show, think again. Outdoor art shows are a great way to decorate your home but it's unlikely that you'll find an investment piece.
Once you find something you love and can afford, buy it. Here are some tips on buying art:
1. Do your research. Open yourself to new things and figure out what type of art you like, and the best way to do this is to see a lot of art. Visit museums and galleries, talk to other collectors and artists; try to familiarize yourself with various periods, mediums and styles.
2. Set a budget, and be prepared to spend a little more. If you’re serious to start collecting, the things you’ll regret most are the works that you did not buy, and for years you’ll not not stop thinking about how much you loved the piece. Also be aware of the hidden costs of owning art: shipping, framing and insurance. If you buy something at auction, there is a buyer’s premium that can be hefty.
3. Go to an auction or two before you plan on buying your first piece. Understanding the rhythm and flow of an art auction can take time and first auctions can be overwhelming. The buyer could walk away with regret if they do not properly prepare themselves.
4. Talk to other art collectors and art consultants. The art world can be overwhelming at times and speaking to experts is the best way to navigate your way through your first time purchase. You can learn a thing or two about an industry. In the art world, you can ask for a discount when purchasing from a gallery. The listed price is not always the sale price. Galleries often give discounts to collectors that have purchased a number of works from them already, or perhaps the gallery is interested in developing a relationship with a new prospect. When purchasing from a gallery, there is never any harm in asking, “Is that your best price?”
5. Buy what you love. Trust your heart and be confident in your purchase. Always remember it’s important to try to see the piece you are considering in person. Things look different in a photograph or .jpg.
6. For the best kind of investment, consider looking into young, emerging art. These pieces are cheaper and have a great potential for increasing in value and leading to future gains. Not all art is created equal; decorative pieces or lesser pieces with impressive names can be great, but they are often times more expensive and do not appreciate for a long-term investment.
7. Keep everything, the receipt, invoice and documentation. Don't throw anything away, as this is what is used to authenticate and value a piece.
Finally, art can be an investment but it can be a bad one. If you’re not planning on selling the art, then you're not making any money on it!
Words: William Cameron