Here, at Affordable Art Fair we're firm believers that anyone can collect art. But, for those of us who aren't au fait with the ways of the art world, dipping your toe into the market can feel like a daunting experience.
So, just how do you overcome your concern over making the right decision, and how do you know, before you take the plunge, that the piece you're purchasing is really the one for you? To help, we've been chatting with some of our gallerists to bring you a list of top tips to adopt the mind-set of an expert art collector and get you purchasing that perfect piece…
HOW TO COLLECT ART, ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS
1. EXPLORE THE OPTIONS
Make sure you take your time to look at different types of artworks on offer; spend some time looking at our online shop or explore the whole fair. Check out the different methods, materials, colours and sizes when considering what you want to purchase. As Mark Jason, of TAG Fine Arts, explains, "do some research, take your time. See as much work as you can and make a note of your top 5-10 pieces." Comparing works also gives you an idea of what's available in your price range. Mark continues, "buy the best piece you can in your budget … sometimes it's a case of buying a major work by a minor artist or if your budget is modest, a minor piece by a major artist."
2. GET TO KNOW THE ARTIST
One of the most exciting parts of collecting contemporary art is learning about established artists or discovering rising stars. It's not only important to get to know as much as you can about their status and background, it's also fascinating to understand their inspiration and motivations, their techniques and materials.
Deborah Allen of Wychwood Art comments "Buying art for your home is a really exciting time, however, we know it can be a difficult and daunting process. It takes time and commitment on the buyer’s side but help is at hand from great advisers. We are here to help you find the right artworks for your space/collection. The key to success is to find the right art adviser for you. At Affordable Art Fair most, if not all, art galleries will be happy to help you with this."
Additionally, for many of the artists that we work with, we create a handy online profile. You can search for the artist by name, by fair, or browse the Affordable Art Fair picks for some inspiration.
3. EMBRACE THE UNCONVENTIONAL
Don't buy an artwork because you think it's what you should be buying; make sure your heart and head take equal part in your decision - if an unusual work captures your imagination plus fits your budget then go for it! As Mark Jason says, "on many occasions, people arrive at the fair looking for something quite specific and leave with something completely different. You really don't know what your reaction is going to be to an artwork until you see it." Who knows, you could have just spotted a future masterpiece!
4. EXAMINE THE MATERIALS
As Amy Caiger, Director of Caiger Contemporary Art says, "Traditionally artwork prices have always varied because of the medium and materials used. This is one (although not the only) reason why pencil, charcoal and pastel drawings have a lower price point than oil paintings and bronze sculpture. Drawings and sketches can be a great way to buy an original piece at a more affordable price compared to paintings. If you are after a painting then acrylic paintings will have a slightly lower price tag than oil paintings. Sometimes artists use special materials in their work, for example, our artist Rod McIntosh uses beautiful metallics such as 24ct gold, copper and silver in his artworks, such as this piece called A Hold Between Inhale & Exhale. Therefore artworks containing these special materials can affect the price. Bear this in mind when browsing artworks and try to compare like for like."
5. BE CONFIDENT IN THE ORIGINALITY
You can be secure in the knowledge that all artwork sold at an Affordable Art Fair or on our online shop is an original or limited edition. When it comes to limited edition prints, there are certain factors to be aware of which can give you confidence in your purchase.
Deborah Allan explains, "All prints made or designed by a printmaker are printed by hand and this is why usually they are more expensive than a giclee print which is printed by a machine. Each print from a printmaker is individual and will look different from the one before as the inks are applied by hand and not by a computer. Never be afraid to ask if the gallery has another print from the same edition for you to see in case you prefer a slightly different colour or version. For example, Eliza Southwood’s Mont Ventoux can be slightly lighter or slightly darker depending on when it was printed."
Now that you know the top tips from art collecting experts, it is important to remain true to yourself - the best reason for purchasing an artwork is because you have fallen in love with it. Collecting art is, ultimately, about developing and learning to trust your taste, so that you can enjoy it for years to come!
A visitor at the Battersea Autumn Collection enjoys the Private View.
Featured art from first to last:
Katsutoshi Yuasa, Tristes Tropiques #1, 2015, woodcut,limited edition, £1,800, TAG FINE ARTS.
Laura Jordan, Current Affairs, 2010, mixed media, edition of 20, £1,200, Wychwood Art.
Cai Yuan, One World, One Dream (Pink), 2010, mixed media, limited edition, £300, TAG FINE ARTS.
Rod McIntosh, A Hold Between Inhale & Exhale, 2017, ink with 24ct gold leaf, original, £1,100, Caiger Contemporary Art.
Eliza Southwood, Mont Ventoux, 2016, silkscreen print, limited edition, £200, Wychwood Art.