Historically, the art world has been a rather highfalutin, impermeable space that seemed open to just a select few. But I believe that is changing – the online world now easily connects artists with buyers and the amount of affordable art seems be increasing by the year – and it’s a sentiment shared by the creators of the upcoming Affordable Art Fair.
“Here, at Affordable Art Fair we’re firm believers that anyone can collect art. But, for those of us who aren’t au fait with the ways of the art world, dipping your toe into the market can feel like a daunting experience,” says the fair’s Australian-based director Stephanie Kelly. A global expert in art procurement, we caught up with her recently to help demystify the process.
Explore your options
“Take some time to research and try and define your taste. Get to know galleries on Instagram, get behind the scenes of an artist studio on Facebook and brush up on art terms online,” says Stephanie who believes that exposure is key. Like any matter of personal taste, the more art you see, the more you will know what art you like (and don’t!).
Get to know the artist and their inspiration
“One of the most exciting parts of collecting contemporary art is learning about established artists or discovering rising stars,” says Stephanie. From their backgrounds to their inspirations, motivations, techniques and preferred materials it pays to do your research before you commit to purchasing a piece. Galleries should be able to provide all of this information and the upcoming Affordable Art Fair provides a unique opportunity to connect with a host of galleries and art advisors in the one place.
Buy for love
While research and due diligence should form the backdrop for a purchase, it’s best to proceed with a visceral approach when it comes to finally choosing a piece. “Buying art should be led by your heart, with your head taking care of the detail. It is good to have ideas of space, size, medium and concept in your mind but on many occasions, people arrive looking for something quite specific and leave with something completely different,” says Stephanie.
And when it comes to art, there’s nothing wrong with making an emotional purchase. Often kept forever, artworks can be some of the most meaningful purchases people make and often come to represent a significant time in a person’s life.
Styling your piece at home
From which room to specific location details, it pays to think about exactly where you will house a new art acquisition. From available light (natural or lit), to the size of the room, there are lots of practical things to consider before making a purchase and that’s before you even consider your specific interior style.
“When it comes to styling, are you hoping your piece will contrast with your existing furniture, or complement it? Remember that opposites attract. A bold, bright abstract work can look amazing in a clean, white space while similarly, a busy room can really benefit from a monochrome or minimal piece that oozes calm,” says Stephanie.
Free tickets to the Affordable Art Fair
The Affordable Art Fair will be held at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building from 5-to-8 September. Over 50 galleries, from Australia and abroad, will be exhibiting works ranging in price from $100 to $12,000. Many participating galleries will offer a ‘try before you buy’ scheme and the fair also partners with Art Money which allows art buyers to buy art with 10 payments over 10 months with no interest.