Saturday, January 2, 2016

Seven Sources of Affordable Art

Seven Sources of Affordable Art

If you thought that acquiring art was only for the very rich, then here is why you might want to change your mind.

One of best things to happen to art over the recent past has been the rise of the affordable art sector. Yes, the media is terribly fond of teasing a dumbfounded public by reporting the astronomical sums being paid for some artworks (In February 2015, Paul Gauguin's 1892 oil painting 'When Will You Marry?' sold privately for close to $300 million!). That is clearly an inaccessible part of the art market to most people. What is now increasingly easier to access though is a large and diverse range of affordable art.

So let us take the case of a person like me; based in Sydney, with nothing significant by way of a budget for collecting original art, but with an aspiration to start acquiring original art for my home.

My first stop could be one of the number of online galleries that offer original artworks by emerging and established artists at extremely attractive prices. While these online companies have disrupted the business model for brick-and-mortar galleries, they are providing potential customers like me a hassle-free and easy way to browse art by price, size, style, medium or artist, compare works and pay online (usually with a money back guarantee, monthly installments options and free shipping within the country). Names that come to mind include ArtPharmacy, Bluethumb, State of the Art Gallery, Art Me Gallery, Art GalleryAustralia, The Art Box and Art to Art. This is by no means a list of the biggest or best or the most user-friendly; it is just a sprinkling of some of the names I have come across or checked out at some point (so please do your research before deciding which suits you best).

If I believe in the buy-local approach, I may actually find reasonably priced artworks if I am patient and through in my research thorough local open studios and local art schools.  

If the price tag of even the lowest-priced paintings is still too daunting, an increasingly popular way to make it work is to create groups of like-minded would-be art collectors who pool in a fixed amount per year, which is used to acquire a few artworks that are then circulated around the group, so all get to enjoy the artworks in their homes through this process of rotation. It is not a new model; art-buying groups are mushrooming all over the world, building a shared collection while at the same time reducing individual financial exposure.

If this community-model is not my thing, then I might just decide to take advantage of a number of interest-free loan offers from financial institutions. Here’s an example of one; Beyond Bank.

If the original artwork I have become infatuated with is beyond my budget’s stretch limit, I might also consider acquiring limited edition prints by the same artist, if that is available.

Finally, the good news is that Sydney is now home to more affordable art fairs and exhibitions than ever before. For example, The OtherArt Fair gives me a chance to start early with works by emerging and undiscovered artists.

If all else fails, I might just decide to spend an afternoon in the garage with a couple of canvasses and some acrylic paints and make up DIY artworks! No payment, no shipping delay, and most importantly the work of an artist that I am likely to be enthusiastic and supportive of over the long term!