Am I a seascape person or a landscape person? Would I enjoy a whimsical print, or perhaps a serious portrait? Do I want to support emerging artists or established names? Life-like or abstract images? Thick colourful brush strokes or delicate moody tones?
If this sounds like the inside of your head when you’re wandering through an art fair or scrolling through our online gallery — don’t worry, you’re in the right place. Here at Affordable Art Fair, our ethos is simple: anyone can become an art collector.
You don’t need a huge budget, a colossal home, or an art history degree to buy and fall in love with art. But we understand that despite the wealth of art at your fingertips — becoming a collector isn’t easy. It’s fair to say, for many, working out what kind of art you want in your home can be a daunting prospect.
With this in mind, we’ve created a very special ‘How-To’ checklist, with eight simple tips to facilitate your decision-making when it comes to taking the plunge in the art market. This may help with one specific purchase, say a birthday present, or it might be the start of a beautiful relationship with art, helping you mould your preferences and establish the sort of styles and creative influences you want in your home.
And the first step? Relax! Remember, buying a piece of art is supposed to be fun. After that, just go through our handy check list, and we promise you’ll be browsing with confidence at our next fair or on our online marketplace in no time, with a big smile on your face.
1. Get familiar
Learning a new skill doesn’t happen overnight — and in a similar sense, getting to know the wide range of creative styles used by artists takes a little time. There may be mediums or movements you’ve never even heard of yet. To get started, take a look at the handy categories in the Shop art area of our website, and scroll through a variety of mediums, including lino-cuts, collage, bronzes and charcoals. Or spend some time researching the sorts of artists you’re finding yourself drawn to. We have plenty of information in our online directory to help you get to know our artists, and you might read something that draws you to their work even more.
2. Be creative
A curator at one of the Affordable Art Fair’s exhibiting galleries once told me that half the reason she loved her favourite artist was because she could never in a million years paint the way he did. Some people like having work that embodies real skill, and a great way to appreciate this is by trying your hand at the medium yourself. Our fairs are always jam packed with opportunities to get creative — so check out one of our workshops, or head to a local art class to see what it’s all about.
3. Explore your local art scene
Art trails, local festivals, intimate exhibitions, artist talks — it’s not just blockbuster galleries or massive metropolises where the art world takes place. So, do a little digging and see what’s going on in your area; you may see a local show, meet an artist or have a conversation that impacts your future decisions.
4. Check out a fair…
Once you’ve taken a few initial steps into the art world, it’s time to pay us a visit. Pop some of our upcoming fair dates into your diary, join a tour, a workshop or lecture and chat to one of the organisers or a gallerist about any work you find interesting - you’ll be feeling like a pro in no time.
5. …But take it slow!
Some veteran collectors whizz round a fair during our Charity Private View - but usually, we tend to suggest taking your time and not rushing your visit. Our cafe and bar is there for a reason: to help you mull over ideas and possible purchases without feeling overwhelmed or rushed.
6. Make Friends
One of our favourite things about the fair is the incredible range of galleries, both local and international, that make up the Affordable Art Fair family. And they’re a friendly bunch. If you’re intrigued by an artist you’ve spotted at the fair or online, talk to them, give them a call, ask them to send you some more ideas and be honest if you’re not sure. They’re here to help you after all!
7. Try before you buy
Don’t forget, many of the Affordable Art Fair galleries let you take work home with you for a trial period — and returns to our online shop are always free of charge. So if you think you’ve made a decision about the type of work that’s right for you, you can trial it first in your interior.
8. Own It!
Finally made the decision but your bank balance isn’t feeling sympathetic? Many galleries are part of the wonderful Own Art scheme, or have similar schemes where you can pay for work in monthly instalments.
And it’s as simple as that! We’re positive that if you follow these eight handy ‘How-To’ steps, you will find yourself feeling not only confident about your own tastes but also informed about the creative styles, mediums and techniques you peruse.