May 23, 2011

How to Start An Art Collection

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of viewing a exhibition of my cousin Gregory's extensive collection of art at the New York Art Academy [Persistence of Vision - The Peterson Collection which has unfortunately already ended it's run.] As I walked the gallery and viewed the pieces he's collected over the years, I thought about the bare white walls in my apartment and my inability to walk into a gallery and by whatever my little heart desires.

 [Harper's Bazaar. Miranda Kerr. Enhanced Matte Print. 16x21.6 by Kasia Blanchard]

I've lived in my apartment for a year now and finding artwork that both fits my vision and is inexpensive has been a challenge. Have you ever browsed It's incredibly overwhelming and uninspiring. Ditto the random art and poster stores I would stop in on occasion. So I've been stuck with [off] white paint until I could spare the time and save the pennies needed to buy something that truly moves me. That is until my sister said something that I should have thought of back in December ... "You can discover unknown artists on Etsy." Eureeka!
[Endless Love Original Obstract Oil Painting 24x24 {sold} by artinstocks]

I've shopped Etsy previously for vintage clothing and accessories, but I never ventured into the art category. The site is a treasure trove for fashion illustration, photography, paintings and more at affordable prices. I'm enamored with works from Kasia Blanchard of feelingartsystudio, Robert Cadloff of bomobob and Evan and Nichole Robertson of littlebrownpen. My first purchase was this piece from Danielle Hardy's pixelcloud, which I plan to hang in my entryway:

In my searching over the last week I've noticed that most pieces are in the $20-$30 range for an 8x10 size piece, excluding shipping. The larger the artwork the higher the price, but I've never seen anything over $300 and most were around $160. You can also find several discounts and sale items when store owners want to make room for new pieces.

Based on my experience, here are a few tips to make the process easier:
  1. Take an hour to look through the site - research artists and 'favorite' pieces you love as you search.
  2. Take advantage of Etsy's recommendations. They do a great job of showcasing items you may like based on your 'favorites.'
  3. When you find an artist with multiple pieces you love, add them to your circle so you can follow their activity. That way you'll know when they rotate inventory and put other items on sale.
  4. If you find an item that you really love, don't wait! Buy it immediately. These are one-of-a-kind pieces and, unless it's a print of an artist's previous work, there is only 1 available. I learned this the hard way and missed on the original oil painting pictured above. However ...
  5. Don't be afraid to contact the artist if a piece you love has sold out. They're always happy to hear from people who appreciate their vision and you'll put yourself in the running to be the first to hear about a similar piece or a print of the original.
I've only just started my collection and have yet to tackle how I want to showcase each work in my apartment. I'll be sure to share the final look with all of you once it's complete.

I'd love to hear about your own personal collections, art or otherwise. What's on display in your home? Tell me in the comments!

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