RIOT ART GALLERY: A curated selection of art for the next generation collector

5 tips for Buying your first Piece of Art

TipsErika BelavyComment

Buying art is a big deal and can definitely be an intimidating experience. You might be thinking that buying art isn't for you, or that only those 'in the know' can make such a purchase. But even the fanciest art collectors had to start somewhere! Here are five tips to help you get started in acquiring that first piece:

1. Buy what you love.

Yes, an artwork can be considered an investment but that should not be the primary reason it is enhancing your home. Many times a work of art does substantially increase in value but there is always a possibility that it won’t. If you’re buying it because you love it, it’s much easier.

If you don't know what you love yet, don't fret! Explore the different styles of art out there. Go to museums and galleries, check out Instagram and Tumblr, and over time you'll develop your taste. Keep looking at an artwork. If you enjoy it just as much now, as you did when you first saw it, then it's probably love. There will come a point when you see an artwork and just can't take your eyes off of it!

2. Determine your purpose for the artwork.

There are many reasons people buy art. It could be to tie a room together, it could be as an investment, it might be for the status and prestige or for the pure joy of collecting work from a certain artist. Whatever the case, it's important to know why you want to acquire a work of art.

If you're staring at a blank wall in your home, ask yourself what needs to be added in the room? For example, if your space is all white and minimalist with clean lines and surfaces, then perhaps you need something bold and colourful on the walls to create a feeling of warmth and movement. Conversely, if it's a closed, smaller space, something less busy or bright can help create a sense of calm and openness. On the other hand, you may just fall in love with a work and will create or organize a room or space to enjoy its company – which takes us back to consideration number one.

If you’re buying with an eye toward investment and you want it to actually have long-term value in the future, it’s a little bit more tricky. It’s very important for a first-time collector to know that there are various factors that affect the price of the work, for example, a work on canvas is generally more valuable than a work on paper by the same artist; or if it’s an edition versus a one-of-a-kind piece. For the best kind of investment, consider looking into young, emerging art. These pieces are cheaper and have a great potential for increasing in value and leading to future gains. Not all art is created equal; decorative pieces or lesser pieces with impressive names can be great, but they are often times more expensive and do not appreciate for a long-term investment.

3. Think about your budget.

No one needs to be art poor. However, there is usually a way to have a few carefully chosen original pieces in your possession. First, decide on your budget. Next decide if you need to save for the artwork or if you are ready to purchase now. If there is a specific artwork you just can’t live without but it is beyond your current budget – ask about purchasing in installments. Otherwise consider making a fair offer within your budget. Pricing of art work is partially subjective and many factors are taken into consideration. Sometimes reasonable offers below a ticket price will be accepted simply because the work is going to be appreciated.

Set a budget and be prepared to spend a little more, a) because there’s shipping and insurance and things like that; but, b) because if it’s the something you really love and it’s a little bit over your price range, “stretch”. Life is short and you want to be inspired.Most often people don't regret the works that they purchased, but the works that they didn’t purchase. If you really love it, trust your instincts. True love is forever!

4. Care for the work

Like with a new home, new car, or new handbag purchase, your artwork will also require care. The physical quality of the products used have a big impact on the price and the lifetime of an artwork. Canvas and oil paint are a lot more expensive to work with and will result in higher priced pieces, but as a result should offer more than one life time of enjoyment. Other materials can be fragile and will need extra care for preservation. You'll need to consider all of this when buying your first piece. Frame the work. Getting insurance for it once it's in your home. Keep everything: the receipt, invoice and documentation. Don’t throw anything away, as this is what is used to authenticate and value a piece.

5. Take your time.

Sometimes you have to wait for the right artwork to come into your life. The deep smile of satisfaction knowing “this is the one” is worth the wait. For some reason it seems to get easier after the first purchase, just be careful, buying art can become addictive ;)