Collecting art can be confusing and overwhelming when starting out. Here are a few ways to feel confident when selecting and buying art. Remember, art is art; whether it's my work or someone else's, everyday art or fine art, it's all about what speaks to you. These guidelines will help you be more confident when pulling out the credit card.
Often, opening yourself up to the idea of investing in art and letting the process unfold over time is best. Begin with noticing what your living space has already and where you would like to change things. Look around at the art displayed in public spaces when you are out in the world. As you begin to get ideas, choosing and buying art becomes less intimidating and more fun.
Color. Think about the colors in your space. Look around your home or office and notice the hues and tones you already have and like. A room with cool colors like blue and green will fit best with art in cool colors -the same with warm colors like red, yellow, and orange. A room with neutral tones, like beige or white, is an opportunity to make more of a statement. Since the neutral tones won't clash with the art, you have more freedom to be expressive. Then, when the right piece of art does come along, you already have an idea of what you are looking for and how it will fit.
Size. While I would be doing cartwheels down the street if you were to buy a six foot wide piece, it may not work out for you. And that would bother me. Get your tape measure and find out what would fit in a given space. Also think about the format of the image. Do you need vertical because the space is higher than it is wide? Do you like the wide and narrow format and want something that goes over the couch? Determining the size you want and need beforehand will help you avoid a piece that is too large or small.
Theme. What is the theme of your space? If your area is cozy and comfy, you would most likely choose a piece of art that reflects that feel. Select an understated piece that shows your desire to live surrounded by warmth. Cool and contemporary might ask for a bold piece that makes a statement. A game room or den would be a good place for a colorful image that "pops" in the room. Acknowledge the theme of your home and let it speak to you.
Room Use. Choose a room you want to add some interest to, and think about how you use that room. When you enter a room, the space can remind you why you are there, with the right art in the correct place. After repainting our main bedroom, my wife and I hung a photo of a Buddha statue to look over us while we slept. Your bathroom might brighten up with an image of some lovely flowers. How would a landscape help you feel more connected to nature as it hangs in the den? My mom attends church online several times a week. So I sent her a picture of a church in the countryside at sunset. I suggested she hang in the room where she watches church online daily. Hey, even a car nut can dress up the garage with the suitable print of a classic car. The idea is to make the rooms you live in fun and enjoyable places to be.
A Visceral Feeling. Please don't ignore it. If you look at a picture, see a photo, or observe a painting, then you get shivers and can't stop thinking about it. Something is going on there, and there is a better-than-good chance you need that piece of art in your life. Take your time and consider the items above so you find that perfect spot.
A Word of Warning. Buying art while traveling can lead to disappointment. I want your art experience to be a positive one. Galleries are fantastic places to view and buy art. Legitimate galleries allow you to return home, make measurements, and check colors. Online ordering is so common now this shouldn't be an issue. If you feel pressured to buy on the spot, get up and walk out. If they offer you a deal that expires today, that is a red flag to smile and walk away. I want to say something about Las Vegas here. A note of caution about that city should do—caveat emptor.
Finally, as they say, You do You. Start small and work your way up, both in price and size. Identify a small spot you would like to beautify and invest in a modest piece of art for that area. Build your collection as you build your confidence. Before you know it, you will be living in the showplace you have always dreamed of.
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