“The more the art dominated my life and my house, the more the house became a home.” – Burt Reynolds in Architectural Digest, Sept 1983
Purchasing original art for your house is incredibly rewarding, and an often missed opportunity to personalize your space and transform it into a home–YOUR home. Sure, you can go to Home Goods and purchase a pretty print for your wall, but why do that, when you can buy one-of-a-kind art created by a local artist, or from an artist you encounter on your travels?
Art collecting is not just for the elite! Art is for everybody. You can start your collection today, without spending a fortune or spending a second in a stuffy environment. Follow these tips and before you know it, your home will be filled with original work that sings to you, and every time you walk through the door, you will know you are home.
1. Stop Decorating
Art is about so much more than matching the sofa. This is about choosing pieces that you are drawn to because they give you visual pleasure, tickle a fond memory, or hold a deeper meaning for you. This is about being selfish by finding what you like and acting on your intuition. If you buy what you are drawn to, there will always be a place for it in your home.
“You’re a collector when you stop decorating – when you buy something, don’t have a blank spot on the wall for it and have to take something down to put it up.” - Steve Oliver
2. Discover All The Art
In addition to paintings, you can collect sculpture, photography, collages, artistic objects found (like seashells), prints, drawings, and mixed media pieces. You may find that you go through a period where you are really into a particular art form, and that is ok! There is great deal of satisfaction in the exploration of art and the education that you will receive as a result of your curiosity. To see a lot of different art in one place, I recommend visiting the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria. Enjoy the journey!
3. Find and Meet Local Artists
Meeting artists in person adds another brushstroke to the art buying process. Most artists love answering questions about their work, and getting to know their art buyers. Hearing about their creative process and the stories behind their work gives you a deeper connection to their work. Luckily we live in an area with a wide spectrum of art shows, galleries and indie art spaces.
In the DC Metro area, you can discover local art shows and events using the following online resources:
4. Purchase Respectfully
It’s important to keep in mind that an artist’s work is a personal expression. This is how they earn a living, so don’t haggle over price. This is not a flea market. It is ok to say something along the lines of, “I love this piece, but it’s outside of my budget right now.” That way, it opens the door for the artist to adjust the price if he/she is in a position to do so, but you respect their original price point.
5. Hang It & Display It
Now that art has entered your home, you need to make sure to hang it or display it properly. This is not about decorating, but about showcasing the piece in a way that shows it the utmost respect while placing it in a space where you can best enjoy it.
6. Prepare for Conversation
Not only will you get endless joy from your art collection, but visitors to your home most likely want to know more about it. We find that people are automatically attracted to the art in any home. It’s something different and unexpected, so it sparks curiosity and conversation. That’s a really good thing!
Make sure to gather information on the artists you buy from in the form of business cards, email, website, and any online social presence. You will want this information so you can stay in the loop of their future shows and creations. You will also want to make sure to have that information to pass along to anyone who wants to know more about the art they admire in your home.
7. Protect It
You will want to protect your art so that it lasts a lifetime, or many lifetimes. Light, moisture, cleaning chemicals, improper framing, theft, and age can all pose a threat to your art. It is always prudent to get advice from the artist on how best to preserve their work. Beyond that, you will want to consider talking to your insurance carrier about documenting your art properly and have them added to your homeowner’s insurance. This information sheet from Art-Collecting.com provides detailed tips and considerations for preserving your creative treasures.
“There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart….pursue those.” - Unknown