Given that it relies so much on personal style and taste, collecting art may naturally seem like a solo activity. But in reality, couples, families, flatmates and siblings have long headed to the Affordable Art Fair intent to invest in a piece of art together. And it’s clear to see just why this is; buying art as a pair, or group, is a wonderful way to maximise your budget, do something a little different with your free time and brighten up your shared spaces.
Despite this — let’s be honest — choosing anything en masse can be tricky, whether it be a gift for a work colleague or what to order in a restaurant. Selecting a piece of art can be intensely personal, and often you can’t really explain why you like something, you just do. It’s one of our favourite things about the Affordable Art Fair; seeing happy visitors taking pieces of work home that they’ve simply fallen in love with, without any real rhyme or reason. As a result, buying a shared piece can seem easier said than done, unless your pal or partner shares your own impeccable taste…
So, how do you buy art with a loved one without tearing your, or their, hair out? To answer this question, we’ve pulled together some top tips on how to discover shared styles and tastes, and to how to really enjoy your new piece once it’s been found. So, read on for some pointers on how to master the social side of collection — and let us know how you get on!
How to purchase Art as a Pair
Where can you both enjoy the artwork?
Before you choose a new artwork that you both love, you need to do some groundwork to make sure it is hung somewhere you can both enjoy it, particularly if you’re housemates rather than a couple. Consider your interior carefully and make sure it’s in a place where you’ll both be able to see it every day — shared spaces like kitchens and living rooms are the best bet, meaning you’ll both be able to enjoy your shared perfect piece!
Once you’ve agreed on a spot, this will give you a steer on the size of the artwork you are looking for, plus make note of the colour scheme of the room – don’t forget to keep this information handy, along with a photo of the room, to help you select the perfect piece.
Purchasing power as a pair
One of the real pros of buying art à deux is that you have the power of two budgets to play with; meaning you’ll be able to invest in work that you may not have been able to usually afford. Before you start browsing, have a chat with your purchasing partner to make sure you are aligned. This could be agreeing a total budget, or if you plan to take advantage of one of the payment plans that many Affordable Art Fair galleries offer, you could agree on a monthly payment ceiling. Think in this way and you’ll be able to buy something really exciting that you wouldn’t usually go for. However, one tip we always offer at the Affordable Art Fair is to make sure you still follow your heart; a budget is great to set parameters before the hunt begins, but taking home an artwork that you love will pay in kind for years to come.
Visit an Affordable Art Fair
Now here's where the real fun begins! It’s important to see what style you both really love, and where your tastes overlap and complement each other. You may think that you’re more of a portrait art kind of person, whilst your other half is all about abstract; but perhaps you have a shared love of seascapes, or monochrome photography? A walk around one of our fairs is a great way to discover shared arty interests.
And remember to take your time — mull over your ideas while enjoying a glass of something bubbly, join a talk, workshop or a guided tour which might help to highlight works you wouldn’t have previously considered. There’s no rush and if you don’t see something perfect on the day together, you can continue your research on our online shop, complete with artist profiles.
Get art advice from a gallerist
We can’t stress enough how fantastic the Affordable Art Fair roster of Gallerists are at understanding your needs, even if you haven’t quite worked them out yourself! Gallerists can provide information ranging from an artist’s background, inspiration, creative themes, method and materials along with handy framing, hanging and interiors tips. So, share your musings with the very people who know the artists and artworks like the back of their hands. Plus, when it comes to buying art as a pair, with their years of experience, a Gallerist may just have the answer if you and your pal are struggling to compromise or find a piece you both love.
Be brave without the risk
Don’t be afraid to try something new, spurred on by the new set of criteria your pairing provides – its exciting to think outside of the box, so why not make the most of it? Check with the gallery if they offer a trial period before making that final decision: the perfect way to test out a few pieces on the wall at home before committing. If the artwork doesn’t quite work for you both, you’ll be able to return it to the gallery. So be brave and embrace something a little different now that you’re thinking and collecting as a pair.
So there you have it, to find the perfect artwork as a pair, our simple tips are; select the spot, agree the budget, visit an Affordable Art Fair to explore your tastes and find shared passions, chat to our expert gallerists for more information and don’t forget to take advantage of payment plans and trial periods. If you tick all of these boxes and follow your heart, then buying art as a pair will be as easy in process as it is easy on the eye.
A pair of art collectors at the London Hampstead fair, 2018, browse the art.
Featured art from first to last:
Happy visitors at Affordable Art Fair Singapore, 2016.
Buying art as a pair at Affordable Art Fair Brussels2016.
Even more happy art browsers at Affordable Art Fair Brussels2018.
Yara Damian, I'll Stay Here, 2017, Oil, original, framed, signed, £1,900, IONA HOUSE GALLERY.
A gallerist speaks to visitors at Affordable Art Fair Amsterdam, 2017.
Katie Edwards, True Romance, 2016, silkscreen print, limited edition, £110, Wychwood Art.