Six Rules of Buying Art For Fun and Profit
(anyone is invited to comment by activating the "comment" button at the bottom of this page.)1. Have an honest discussion with yourself (and partner.):
This discussion includes practical and philosophical questions and answers. Sometimes the answers to the practical questions also solve the philosophical questions and vice versa. Taking this step first will help you focus your efforts.
We will start with the practical first.
a. Why are you buying art? Is it for home decor? Or investment? Do you care about investment? Is it a little of both?
b. Where will you put your new art? How important is this question?
c. What requirements do you have? Color, size, degree of abstraction? Do you need the neighbors to swoon or do you only want to please yourself?
d. How much money do you want to spend? How much can you spend? If you add 10% to your budget does it make it out-of the question? Can you spend less if you love it?
e. Does it need to be an investment piece for you to feel right about it? What IF the neighbors think you are an idiot? Do you need to love it? Or could you buy it because it is an investment piece?
Philosophy: There has always been two main purposes of art: decoration and status. Of course this is looking at art from the perspective of the buyer. Artists look at art much differently, but we are not talking about the process of creation here just consumption. a. Status defines our position in society. Art as a luxury item is often used as a marker.2. Look Alot Before You Leap:
Looking at art is the single most important step in making good decisions about the art you purchase. Developing an eye is a matter of seeing and sifting through galleries, museums, studios, magazines and other venues filled with artwork.
The contemporary art market has a lineage like that of a racehorse. Most artists themselves can trace their artistic ancestry back a couple generations. Because of this deep historical root, a true understanding of art, especially your art, is improved by an understanding of where it came from.
a. The first step is to go to a large museum and choose which type of art appeals to you most. Is it detailed or abstract, bright or muted, is the style romantic or realistic, are the subjects things or landscapes or people? Now go to a gallery and see what appeals to you, and then to a different museum. This can be a process that takes a lifetime if you are lucky. If you want to have a lot of fun with this take your child or grandchild through this same process and plan to purchase one object of art on each birthday. Children have have an absolutely amazing relationship to art.
b. The shortcut to this step is to go to an art district of a major city, Seattle for glass, Union square in San Francisco or art center like Carmel or Santa Fe and spend a long day going to lots of galleries and looking. Play the game: what did you like best? At the end of the day, you probably will only be able to remember one or two pieces of art. That’s what you should focus on. “Tell Santa Fe story.”
c. At some point in this process you will have activated an inner voice. This inner voice will chime in when you see something you like. It will also help you evaluate whether the painting is authentic, whether it is well-done, whether it is appropriately priced. Now all you have to do is learn to listen to that inner voice.3. Learn More About Your Choices:
a. As you can see, this is a process of elimination. By now you have looked at a lot of art. You have learned some of the jargon, met some artists, found some nice galleries. You are feeling more comfortable, but still haven’t bought anything.
b. Get to know the artists who created the work you like. What kind of training do they have? what kind of awards have they won? How long have they been painting? How old is the artist?
c. Get to know the galleries that carry the work of artists you like. How long have they been in business? Do you like going into the gallery? What are their policies? Which other artists do they represent? What types events do they sponsor?4. Have some fun:
Enjoy this process of building a collection piece by piece. Go to openings and receptions. Subscribe to some magazines. Get your kids involved. You should meet some really nice people, find yourself drinking some good wine, and looking at many intriguing forms of art work.5. Decide What’s Next:
Before you make a purchase consider mapping out the future. Is this piece part of a larger collection? If so what is the theme? What forms of art complement this collection?6. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake:
This is just like anything else. Be sure to ask to try a painting in your home before committing to it. Objects look different in different places. Your taste will change through the years. You can resell your art.Call me if you want some help:
Kristen Kestly Gallery Owner