Ever look at the Instagram shots of walls that are laden with gorgeous art and wondered how in the world people can afford such majestic art displays in their homes?
The trick is to know where to find decent deals. Rarely is that on a website, or any chain store that sells mass-produced prints.
Take a look at the creative place's artists feature their work
- Final year exhibitions
Students studying for an Art Degree do an exhibition in their final year of study. May and June are when the majority of art degree shows are put on at over 30 universities across the UK. Around April each year is when to do your research into the types of art shows that will be exhibited by each university. These are the shows where you can meet up-and-coming artists just as they are about to embark on the next steps in their careers. Part of that journey is likely to involve getting visitors at their exhibit onto their mailing list. Take the chance if you get it.
- Local artists – look and ask around
A common theme among artists is that they are great at what they do, but they struggle when it comes to getting found. The ones that do make a name for themselves often charge a fortune and they likely need to because it is expensive to advertise.
To find quality art on a budget, you need to find artists who keep on top of their cash flow or don’t spend to market to the masses hoping to find just one buyer per piece. For unique or even custom art, particularly paintings and canvas, keep your search local. Ask around your neighbourhood and keep an eye on social media. Many times, it will only be a single piece that pops up as available to buy and it’ll be very infrequently because of the time it takes to create the artwork.
When you see a post from someone selling a custom piece, connect with them and ask them your questions. What types of art do they create? Do they take custom orders? Do they frame the pieces – or would you need to buy a frame and mount for it? Some artists work with local framers, others DIY their frames, and then there are some that will leave the framing decisions to the customers.
- Alternative spaces for art shows
Art exhibits are not the only game in town for artists to get their work into the hands of customers. Gallery exhibitions – in the traditional sense – are for large collaborative events such as final year degrees. The rest of the year, you’re more than likely to find artists using alternative spaces, such as local businesses ranging from cafes to beauty salons and wellness clinics where they provide the wall decor and in return, they get exposure to their work. Other areas to be on the lookout for art shows are in upmarket bookstores, and local noticeboards for announcements of art fairs taking place in either a rental space, community hub, college/university campus, or church halls.
- Artist's co-operatives
Given the turmoil of the past few years, more artists are now part of a co-op, because pooled resources and collaboration gets more accomplished. These are groups that work and move as a collective. There are advantages to consumers as well as the artists within a co-op. The more members a co-op has, the more membership fees they have to afford rental space for gallery shows, and the more variety they can exhibit at that show.
- When travelling anywhere, put an art gallery visit on the itinerary
In the UK alone, there are over a thousand commercial art galleries. More internationally. Each is unique, offering a true insight into the local area and its culture. And this ties back to the staying local part for finding affordable art because every gallery is local to the artists around it. The art there will be more affordable than if it were needed to be shipped halfway around the world.