Choosing art: notes for art buyers

Notes for buying art

  • Style: artists typically start to focus on a specific subject or technique as they evolve and hone skills through practice, observation and exploration of different subjects and mediums. This can result in some repetition in their work, which can in itself be of interest to a buyer as evidence of a developing and maturing style.
  • Originality: an artist’s development will see them transition from being influenced by their peers to progressing to their own styles and themes freeing them to create unique and original work.
  • Content: select art that is original, intriguing and legible. Seek out pieces that stimulate your senses, tell stories and lead to interesting discussions. Emotionally dark or violent art is often powerful at first, but that initial response can fade over time.
  • Emotional connection: great art leaves a lasting impression. Look for pieces that keep your attention even when you’re not looking at them.
  • Artist’s background: an artist that appeals to you may not have formal training – many of the great artists were self-taught. Do look for signs of dedication and obvious demonstration of skill. Well executed ‘creativity’ takes an incredible amount of thought and technique, search out artists whose work demonstrates an obvious love and commitment.
  • The balance of process and product: art can and should challenge the viewer and offer new perspectives. Try to find a level somewhere between conceptual meaning and the finished piece.
  • Quality: the quality of the materials used and whether a piece is well finished demonstrates the artist’s dedication and practice.

Ultimately an individual’s response to works of art is a very personal one, the same could be said of the artist creating it. Overall what could be described as a very intimate relationship between two people who may never meet is developed which, in itself, makes the purchase of art intriguing and verging on mysterious. Long may those relationships remain.