How to Buy Art

Becoming a collector of art

how to buy art

The Whyte Avenue Art Walk provides new patrons with the opportunity to meet emerging and established local talent. With 400+ artists exhibiting at Art Walk it can be hard to know where to start, so we want to offer some suggestions on how to buy art. It is our hope you will become a patron and a collector of art, not just a consumer. On the positive side, we find that many people come back year after year to add to their collections. Investing in a painting means you are investing in an artist’s career or at least provides the means to keep painting.

How to buy art? Buy what you love!

Buy what you love, not what matches your sofa. Many patrons worry about the art in their home matching, but to that end, you can always get a matching sofa in the future. Patrons often restrict purchases to one or two artists. Other collectors prefer an eclectic approach and will choose similar themes created by different artists.

Not sure where to start? Walk several blocks before making your decision. You might notice a theme that appeals to you, whether it’s birds, skulls, or landscapes, there is bound to be something that catches your eye.

Get the backstory when you buy art

The best art is a conversation piece and a focal point for your home or office, so why not get the whole story? In the final analysis, that’s how to buy art! Make time to talk to the artists – they’re just as nervous as you. Don’t evaluate the art by asking the artist how long it took to paint a particular piece. It’s important to understand that most will be screaming in their heads: “ALL OF MY LIFE!”. This is true. Undeniably, there is a lot of research, practice, and failed attempts that go into each piece.

Many layers of paint are hidden behind most finished works. Moreover, few artists keep track of time anyway. Time is irrelevant – a painting is finished when it is finished. Even Picasso could work quickly, creating some works in minutes, while others took years to complete. If you find yourself really interested in the processes involved in a particular medium you might find some insight in our resources section.

Here are some good questions to ask artists:

talk to the artist

  • Why do you paint this subject matter?
  • Which medium(s) do you use?
  • How did you create this piece?
  • What is your technique called?
  • Who inspired you?
  • Where else can I see your work?
  • How did you decide to become an artist?
  • Where do want your art to take you next?

How much to budget for art?

There is little need to haggle at the Whyte Avenue Art Walk. The work is all affordable but there is no standard pricing, and no two works are the same. No two artists are the same. As a matter of fact, you’ll notice that prices along the venue vary greatly and are related to the experience level and confidence of each artist. The size of the work and the cost of materials are other factors.

Setting an art budget:

  • Still in school? Your budget is the cost of your favourite outfit (or sports equipment).
  • Your minimum budget for the Art Walk is the cost of dinner and a movie (trust me, art lasts longer).
  • Looking to start a serious art collection? Your annual budget for art could be 1 week’s salary.
  • Just moved into your first home? Your budget is the price of your last piece of furniture.
  • Thinking of redecorating? Art could be half of your decorating budget or 20% of your last home improvement project.

You have no idea how pleased you will make an artist if you stop, talk about their art and buy it. Hope this helps. Enjoy the Whyte Avenue Art Walk this summer!

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