How To Pick The Perfect Picture

15 Jul 2010
RETAIL therapy is all too common, but have you ever felt the same need to splash out and buy art?

You might be surprised to learn art features on the shopping list for more and more people, and galleries, fairs and auctions are generally enjoying growing attention.

People aren’t just recognising  how  important  buying art  is for their homes but also becoming more confident about choosing  it.  Artwork is now an essential for smart rooms - and people are buying art bigger and bolder. They want something original which makes a statement.

Here at StateoftheArt.co.za we see women in particular, turning to art as a way of giving their homes individuality, and making a statement which expresses their personality and style.

But what about the rest of us who feel nervous about taking the plunge into original art and lack the confidence to buy anything other than ‘mass art’ sold by the high street stores?

Nowadays, it’s perfectly possibly to buy affordable original art. Don’t be afraid if you like something to ask questions at a gallery or fair and if possible talk to an artist about it. So how do you choose the art that’s right for you? And how do you avoid the pitfalls?

Preparation is key.
  • Take time to think what you want before you arrive at a fair or gallery. Have an idea of the space you are considering for the work so you get the size of the work in proportion to your room. Make sure you are familiar with colours, the degree of sunlight and general surroundings that will affect the look of a piece in a room.
  • Find out where the artist’s background and training (watch out for the University of Johannesburg and Michaelis Art School in Cape Town), exhibition history and future plans. Have they won any awards and been picked up by a collector?
  • Track the artist’s development. You might not have bought your new piece of art as an investment but it may well become one. Track the artist’s development through the gallery they work with and keep an eye on the prices in case you are tempted to sell!
  • Set yourself a budget. Decide how much you are willing to spend and stick to it. You don’t need  millions  to invest in art.
  • Check authenticity - any artwork you buy should come with a certificate and be signed by the artist. This verifies the originality and provenance of your new artwork. Some artists, particularly photographers often prefer not to sign the actual work and in this case you should be given a Certificate of Authenticity.
  • Also check the edition of a fine art print. The smaller the edition or print run, the more exclusive it is.
  • Ask what sort of fine art print you’re buying. Print’s a general term which covers etchings, engravings, drypoints, woodcuts, lithographs, lino cuts and silk-screen prints.
  • Find out whether the price includes framing/mounting. When the price includes framing it is worth asking the price without the frame as this can save considerable amounts and allow you to frame the work in a style that you choose.
  • Buy something you like NOT what you think you should like! Most experts advise buying an artwork primarily because you love to look at it, and regarding investment value as only a possible bonus.

University art degree shows are open to the public and you could discover a brand new talent before his/her price becomes out of your reach.