How to buy art

November 2, 2015 James 1 comment

Buying original artwork can make a big difference to our lives. It can add depth and richness, and help to create a supportive environment in which to live.

I believe this works best if we select work that we love and resonate with. We are missing a great opportunity if we select work on the suggestion of someone else or buy it for an investment. Nor does it work as well for reproduced work.

How can this be so? Everything has a life force called chi in China or prana in India. An artwork has chi, as do we as human beings. When we come across an artwork that resonates strongly with us it means that there is a direct connection, beyond thought, a direct seeing or knowing. It hits you in an instant, like a flash.

So why do so many of us not take advantage of this amazing opportunity? I believe there are three main reasons.

The first is you need to know where to look. It is no good finding a work you love for £10,000 in a major Gallery when you only have £300.00 to spend. Good places to start looking on a limited budget are student shows or artist studio open days. With a bit more money the open exhibitions are a good place to go, such as the RA Summer Exhibition. If money is no object, then the major Galleries may be the place. If work is almost within your budget then a scheme called Own Art could help. It is an interest free loan that lets you pay off the artwork over 10 months. Check with the Gallery to see if they offer the loan.

The next is you have to know how to look. Walk into the space, most likely a gallery of some kind, with stillness and presence. When the mind is still, it is in a state that can experience this resonance. If you walk into a space thinking I need to buy something to fill a gap on my wall, or I’ll just dash around to see if anything strikes me, it is unlikely to work. To find the right artwork for you needs presence and stillness of mind. Walk in and sit down for 10 minutes before having a look round. Allow yourself time to settle and come back to yourself. Then have a look round. Try not to have any preconceptions about the work.

Now comes putting it on the wall. This may be as simple as banging a nail into the wall. But something that seems very simple may end up leaving you with a print in a drawer for years or a canvas leaning against the wall. If you buy the artwork unframed, you must add a realistic amount to the price to cover the cost of the framing. For large works this can run to a couple hundred pounds or more. You will be doing yourself a favour if you also make sure that the frame or canvas has attachments for hanging the work when you purchase it.

Galleries often use a 5ft centre line to make sure the artwork is in the best position, so you could try this as a starting point. It is important that all the pictures in a room hang well together. You could try lining up the top of the frames so that they are all the same height around the room. Another option is to try lining up the bottom and the middle of the pictures to see which works best. Even gaps look best, so measure the space either side of the work. Make sure you know what you are drilling into when making a sturdy fixing for your work. Hidden electric cables could be a hazard, if you think this may be a problem for you, there are products on the market that will locate them for you. If the walls are other than brick then special fixings maybe required, search hardware stores to find the many different options.

Now you have your cherished work on your wall, it will continue to repay you for your investment for years to come.

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