Get some serious brownie points with our arty gifting guide
For the lucky few, buying a gift for a loved-one is a simple business. An exciting, original and heartfelt idea springs to mind, the gift of choice is purchased hassle-free, wrapped with a flourish and delivered to the recipient on-time. But for some of us, present-giving may not come quite as naturally. It’s something that needs thought, a little time, forward planning and most importantly, some great inspiration.
As self-defined art lovers, we know that art is one of the most thoughtful and personal gifts to make someone feel special or celebrate a special day; be it Father's Day, Mother's Day, Christmas, a birthday, christening or wedding. What’s more, investing in a piece of art is a great way to commemorate an achievement, whatever the size. So, read on for our buying guide on how to select and deliver that perfect present.
1. Think about their style
When buying a piece of art for somebody else, it seems obvious that considering the style — of both their home, but also their own personal sense of style, is a crucial thing to bear in mind. Are they a minimalist, or does their decor ooze opulence? Do they have lots of open spaces and blank walls, or is their home a delightfully cluttered menagerie?
Another quick tip is to think about the practicalities of their home, for instance buying a delicate sculpture for a family home full of pets isn’t the best idea; nor is buying a big work for a small home.
Spending some time thinking about their taste in colours, mediums and size will really help with the decision and make sure you aren’t secretly buying for yourself!
We love the work of Maria Jose Concha, whose Complimentary Composition can add just the right balance of calm or colour, depending on its environment.
2. To Frame or not to Frame?
Don’t forget you’ll need to factor in some time and budget for framing, or if you know the recipient would want to choose a frame themselves, it gives you a little more budget to play around with.
Again, considering what they already have in their home is a good starting point — do they favor artfully unframed pieces or is their current artwork all framed? If framing is the mode of choice, are they ornate or simple frames?
3. Speak to a gallerist
You’d be surprised how a chat with a gallerist who really knows their stuff can help you consolidate your ideas and what sort of thing you’re after; and if you’re really stuck, they may have a few ideas of their own. What’s more, if you do opt for a piece that doesn’t quite fit the bill, then they will probably allow you to return to the work, or try another piece.
Many galleries have special offers around seasonal celebrations such as Valentines Day or Christmas which are geared towards gifts — often with a cap on pricing to help you save some pennies. Beautiful pieces such as Jo Hummel’s Tangerine can often come in under the £500 mark.
4. Get personal
Still having trouble making up your mind about what kind of artwork to go for? Be thoughtful and cast your mind back to happy memories the two of you have spent together, trips you’ve taken or exhibitions you’ve visited.
If your recipient loves the great outdoors, then it makes sense to invest a landscape or seascape. If they’re a Mondrian fan, a bright abstract might be just the ticket. Likewise, what dog lover wouldn’t fall in love with Anne Storno’s classic Easy Rider?! Taking inspiration from your shared past or things you know they love will really help you to hit the ground running and getting some ideas flowing.
5. Set a budget
Sometimes, taking a risk and buying a show-stopping piece can get you serious brownie points. Schemes such as Own Art are a great way to pay for a piece month-on-month, without breaking the bank. But whilst we understand that you may just see an incredible piece and know it’s perfect for your loved one, do set a budget. It’s important to know when to stop!
6. Get family or friends involved
If you have fallen in love with a piece for a family member or a close friend, but your budget doesn’t quite stretch, don’t be afraid to get the whole gang involved. Another family member might be struggling to come up with a gift idea, and relish going halves, thirds, fourths or fifths on a perfect print or photograph. Likewise, Christmas or a big birthday is the perfect time to group together with your whole family, to invest in a piece of artwork.
How about investing in a minimalist, abstract piece like Gwenyth Fugard’s large, Untitled 05? Or try something a little more unusual like Alphonso Doss’s mysterious Message? Being from more than one person adds an extra layer of sentiment to your gift, and will naturally help with the cost too.
7. Consider your timeframe
Don’t forget that art doesn’t isn’t traditionally the sort of thing you can grab at the last minute as the shops are closing… so plan ahead, contact the gallery in plenty of time, and make sure you have enough time to pick the work up, or have it delivered to avoid disappointment.
8. Don’t forget the kids
Buying a piece for a child is a really special gift – memories of the pictures on the walls of our childhood bedrooms stay with us forever; and depending on the work, it might grow in value as the child grows too. A piece with bright colours, lots of people, or their favorite animal would make a lovely gift — we love Tim Southall’s charming Tender Bear.
9. Still stuck?
If you’re still struggling, don’t forget the Affordable Art Fair sells gift vouchers and can even set up a wedding list!
So, as the festive season approaches, don’t be tempted to spend all your time traipsing around the shops. Head to our online shop or to a gallery, and whether you’re thinking painting, print, sculpture or photograph; consider purchasing art as a gift.
A couple falling in love with art at our Singapore fair. Check upcoming fairs here.
Artworks from first to last:
Maria Jose Concha, Complimentary Composition, 2014, Oil and mixed-media, £1,750, DECORAZON Gallery.
Jo Hummel, Tangerine, household paint, £225, Liberty Gallery.
Anne Storno, Easy Rider, Silkscreen print on paper, £170, ContemporArti.
Jin Eui Kim, OPject - Trapezoid Form Small Blue Base, Ceramic on ceramic, £395, Degree Art.
Gwenyth Fugard, Untitled 05, Oil on linen, £5500, Lisa Norris Gallery.
Alphonso Doss, Message, Oil on canvas, £1700, The Noble Sage Art Collection.
Tim Southall, Tender Bear, Silkscreen print on paper, £265, Printmakers Council.