Published October 2020 for Your Local Link
Do you like the thought of an original piece of art on your wall but are too afraid to buy one ? Do you tremble at the idea of going into posh galleries and having your lack of knowledge & inexperience laid bare for all to see? Well, fear no more.
So often it is not lack of money which inhibits art buying but a feeling of trepidation, a fear of the unknown, & a feeling that “art is for others”. People are always saying to me “I don’t know anything about art”. I invariably reply “that’s all right, neither do I”.
The best reason – perhaps the only reason – for buying a piece of art is that you love it & want to live with it. My first original painting was bought in the mid 70s & cost £28. I was at the time working in a bookshop & earning about £15 a week. I still have that painting & enjoy it every day.
Spend time looking in galleries & you will find that the more you look, the easier it gets. Don’t allow anyone to persuade you to buy for financial gain: the “investment” is in your own enjoyment, of seeing something every day that inspires you, brings back memories & lifts your spirits. Ask questions – about the artist’s training and career to date, about the medium or technique used, about where else they show, etc. You will soon learn to judge which gallery owners know their artists and their work, and have a genuine interest in progressing the artists’ careers.
Original art need not be expensive, and if you buy young, unknown artists you have the added excitement & pleasure of following their careers over the years & knowing that, in a small way, you may have contributed to their progress. For example, thirty years ago I bought the work of a young unknown artist in Manchester: it cost £60. Liam Spencer has since had solo shows in prestigious galleries, including a solo show in Manchester City Art Gallery, has shown in New York, & his work sells for thousands. I still have that paining, enjoy it every day, & have refused offers to sell it.
Search out & buy only original work. Don’t be sidetracked by presentation. A glossy, expensive frame may be distracting you from poor work or – worse still – a machine-made reproduction. On the other hand, many skilled artists are surprisingly bad at knowing how to present their work, & their framing may not always do their work justice. So much so that I have on several occasions bought a painting from an exhibition in order to rescue it from its inappropriate frame !
Above all, trust your own judgement. It is your judgement that matters.