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  • Writer's pictureAmy

5 things to consider when buying art.

Buying art is easy when it's cheap but as soon as that price goes up it becomes emotional and a little more complicated. Here are some things to consider.

this blog post is about buying art because you love art, not as a financial investment.

1. Can you afford to buy it twice?

This is common financial advise- if you can't afford to buy it twice then you can't afford it. This rule comes into play because when we buy things that are that expensive they begin to hold power over us. If I buy shoes so expensive that if I lost them I wouldn't be able to replace them then I will be afraid to wear them and I might become a little obsessed.

I agree with this line of thinking. But it is also fair to say that art isn't really replaceable. You can't really buy the same painting twice. It is irreplaceable.

I guess what I'm saying is 1) yes, consider your budget. Is this a little stretch for you or a huge unreasonable leap? Art prices should make you a little uncomfortable but they shouldn't put you in huge debt 2) This item is unique, if it brings you joy it is entirely reasonable to budget for it like a car payment or something similar. It's an investment (not like one you resell or that makes you money. But like an emotional investment.)

2. Do you have a spot in mind?

In my experience we are made up of several different aesthetics. I love crazy prints and bold colors with eclectic furniture and knickknacks. But I also love clean spaces with whites, dark greens and golds (more sophisticated).

Consider your space and your current aesthetic- what have you actually settled with in real life? Will this piece fit in with your style? Where will it go- do you have the wall space?

I wouldn't recommend buying art with the thought "oh I'll make room". Take a minute to consider where it will actually go. You (and the artist) would hate for the piece to sit in storage for months while you tried to rearrange your life.

*If you're life is in flux (like moving) it's worth asking the artist or gallery whether they will hold it for you. It's better for the work to be safe and on display while you unpack etc.

3. Have you thought about it for at least 24 hours?

Art is such an emotional decision especially with a large amount of money on the line. Sometimes when you see artwork you fall in love immediately and it can be tempting to buy right away (we love it when you do this). But sometimes when you've had a chance to really look at it, you're not so in love as you thought you were.

Of course this depends on what sort of shopper you are. For me, I can talk myself out of anything. I've also purchased art both ways. I've impulse purchased and I've thought for months. For me, it helps when I've thought about it. If I can't stop thinking about it weeks later, that means I really truly love it. I've come to regret my impulse buy (not huge regret. I just know that given the same choice I probably wouldn't buy it again).

But at the end of the day- would you rather have the art work or the money?

4. If you have a partner, do they also love the piece?

Whether or not you share money, you do share a space. It's important that your significant other is on board. They have to live with the art work as well. Art evokes strong emotions which aren't always positive. It'd be a shame if you spent good money on a painting that had to be hidden away. Unless you have a studio or office you can put the piece, it's best to get your significant other's opinion.

5. Where are you buying from?

If you are buying online - do your research. Is the source reputable? What are their terms and conditions? You want to ensure that you're protected. At this point it's not an emotional decision. You've decided to spend $$$$ on something and you need to ensure that you'll receive the correct artwork undamaged and timely. Art scams for buyers are far less common. Typically art scams revolve around fake buyers trying to scam artists.

If you are buying from an artist directly, it's smart to have the payment go through something like Paypal which will ensure your money is safe. Buying art online or directly through the artist is often cheaper. However, some artists are under contract and can't sell to you directly. Also sometimes galleries offer discounts if you ask. It just depends.

Take into consideration that being able to return art is not standard (at least, I don't offer it) because it's expensive and there's risk of damage every time a work is shipped.

If it's possible, I recommend seeing the work in person and picking it up rather than having it shipped. If the artist is out of state or country this may be impossible. But when it is possible- it's best to see what you're buying and take it home yourself.

Every situation is a little different. If there's an artist (like me) or fellow collector you trust, you can reach out to them to ask about a particular situation.


Consider your budget. Think about it for a minute - will you love this piece tomorrow? Ask your partner. Ask yourself- where is the piece going to go and will it go with my aesthetic?

Make sure you're buying from someone you trust.


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