Finding art that reflects who you are


“Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator” Seth Godin

Do you want to buy art that speaks to you but you can’t find it in a department store or furniture shop? Does it all feel a bit too ‘samey’. Then read on for ways to connect with local artists and find affordable and inspiring artwork that reflects who you are.

But…Aren’t Galleries Elitist?

visitor to an art gallery

Here’s a big barrier that used to stop me buying art – I thought if I bought from a gallery, exhibition or direct from an artist it would be too expensive?

Now I am more involved with the art world, through selling some of my work in galleries, I can see it isn’t necessarily over priced or elitest. It just depends where you go…

Of course you can go to an auction house and pay £15 million for a Lowry or £450 million for a da Vinci – but what about the real world – where you and I hang out?

Go Direct

Many artists, myself included, sell their work direct to collectors from their own websites, through independent galleries or via online galleries such as Artfinder. There are price points to suit every budget too.

If you prefer to buy online many artists share a lot about what they do on their website giving you a sense of connection to the person who created the work you love.  Many will have a bio section oultining the inspiration for their work and a little about themselves. They might have a blog outlining what they’re working on and perhaps where you can meet up with them or see their work in person.

artist using spray cans

So if you feel a little intimidated by the thought of the empty room you might be faced with when approaching a gallery (and I’m one of those people so I hear you) and you know you’ll feel like a gazelle all alone on a great African savanna then why not shop online.

But wait – Galleries aren’t out of the question – opt to go along on opening night for an artist’s show – you could easily get lost in the crowd that way. Sign up to your local galleries’ email lists to be kept in the loop about goings on.

Face to Face Shopping

If you like the face to face shopping experience then independent galleries are your go to and often have price points to suit almost everyone. They are knowledgable about the artists they represent and, to dispel a myth, they really don’t speak in some strange language no-one outside the art world understands.

Photographic Artist Kirsteen Titchener at an art fair in the UK

On my stand at Contemporary Art Fairs: Reading

Art Fairs and Markets are a relaxed alternative for face to face shoppping. You can nearly always chat with the artist too (or not as your mood takes you) and there are plenty of other shoppers around so no quiet or intimidating spaces to deal with.

Put it into action

Perhaps you’ve seen a gorgeous oil painting of a local seascape that you adored but suspect you couldn’t afford to buy the original piece. Why not ask the artist or gallery if the piece is available as a print. Tpyically a Giclee (fine art paper) reproduction that sells for a fraction of the cost of the original. Many galleries have prints inside but they probably won’t be on show in the window so you may have to venture in.

Think about it this way, there is only one Mona Lisa and one van Gogh Sunflowers so only one collector can possibly own or afford these pieces. There are probably hundreds of thousands of prints of these images around the world. I am looking at a print of Ophelia by John Everett Millais right now which I picked up in the shop at the Tate. This makes a print a really accessible way to have that piece you love exactly where you want it in your home.

Prints aren’t just for the famous works

Many prints come as a limited edition, my own included. This means that unlike shopping for a picture in, say, Laura Ashley or Next you won’t see the same picture on the wall in a house 3 doors down the street. This is because for a limited edition only a small number are ever printed (usually quite small e.g. 25, 50 or perhaps 150). Once those sell out that is it, no more will be available.

This is an opportunity to hunt out something you really LOVE rather than following the limited range of items, usually ‘in fashion’ at the time, in high street stores. These often date quickly and can end up being a false economy.

Individuality

With a little legwork you could end up with something a bit more edgy, that really resonates with you, challenges you, or you simply adore for a comparable price to some high street stores.

Local Artists

If you’d like to support local artists then there are a few options for finding them

  • Look out for the annual Open Studio events. Most Counties in the UK run these events and large numbers of artists open up their studios for a long weekend for collectors to come and browse, shop and chat. This pdf guide is an example from Devon, my home County.
  • Local galleries often support local artists. For example Artizan Gallery who represent my work also support many other local artists. They are very welcoming and knowledgable about the artists they represent. Artizan also hold a Summer Open each year (opening night) which shows the work of a hundred or so artists so you can see lots of variety on display all at once (as opposed to visiting a show featuring one artists work). Many galleries do something similar.
  • Art Fairs are great for meeting individual artists who have come from further afield. Contemporary Art Fairs for example run number of fairs each year with artists from all over the UK attending.
  • If all else fails a simple internet search should do the trick –  ‘artist [my area]’ or ‘watercolour artist [my area]’ – you might be surprised at how many you find.

Happy Hunting Art Lovers

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