Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Four Things Nobody Tells You about Buying Art

So, it's time once again for Saint Paul Art Crawl! As a participating artist, I talk to a ton of people during Crawl, and I notice that there's a short list of things basically nobody knows about buying original art. What follows are the Big Four:

 1. You can afford original art.

At my two shows this weekend, I will have originals ranging from $1500 to $20. I own several under-$100 pieces by other artists. Drawings, hand-pulled prints (if you're not sure, ask the artist if they're hand-printed or reproductions; see Item #2), small paintings, pieces of fine pottery -- there are plenty of options, and events like Art Crawl are a great way to see what's out there.

Art Crawl is the only time I create "on the spot" animal sketches, like this 8 x 10", for $20 to $40 (depending how long you ask me to spend on the piece). If you've never bought art before, this is a fun way to start, because you can watch the whole process.
2. Your questions are perfectly good questions. 

Somehow, people get the idea that there's a yardstick: YOU MUST BE THIS EDUCATED TO RIDE -- and most folks feel they don't measure up, so they leave their "dumb" questions unasked. Such a barrier, if it really existed, would result in a world full of sad, lonely artists who all had to find other jobs.

So what you want to know is super basic? It's okay. The level of art knowledge most artists expect from non-artists, is about the same as the level of chinchilla-breeding expertise we expect from ourselves (Sample question from artist to chinchilla breeder: "But how do you tell which one is the boy?").

 3. Artists (and many galleries) offer layaway. 

I am trying to remember if I've ever met a professional artist who would not happily arrange a layaway plan so that someone who loved their art could afford that piece they really wanted.

... nope, so far I don't believe I have. And I know that a lot of galleries will do the same. It's just good business sense. Asking about it falls under Item #2: perfectly good question.

4. We'll take commissions (as seen in yesterday's post, "I Didn't Know You Could DO That!")

As long as it's in our basic style and medium, most of us are glad to work with you if you need "Something like that, but in this other size" or "That kind of pot, but with a deep red glaze instead of the green that'll clash with my house," or whatever it is. It's also possible we already have exactly what you need, but it's at home, or there wasn't room to display it.

I hope this will put you a bit more at ease before Art Crawl, or that outdoor fair, or when you're standing in front of that little gallery and wondering whether to step inside.  There's plenty I didn't cover here, of course, so if there's something you're wondering ... remember Item #2.


Here's where and when to find me at Fall Art Crawl 2013. Please note that on Saturday I will be at My Kingdom for a Horse at Stillwater Art Guild Gallery from 4 to 9 -- an unavoidable overlap, so if you have an animal you want drawn that day, arrive right at noon! I'll be leaving for Stillwater at 3.

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