Aleta Pippin’s The Ripple Effect in a collector’s home.
(By Aleta Pippin) You’ve just looked around your home and realize there’s something missing, something that has the power to make your décor pop. We’re talking about art. The right pieces will literally move your décor from “okay” to fantastic. So, how do you begin? Where do you look for the “right” pieces? And just exactly what are the “right” pieces anyway?
If you’re like many people, purchasing art can prove a bit overwhelming. Here are some tips to guide you, as you search out that perfect piece(s) of art, the one that will give your home that “drop dead” gorgeous look.
First, there are a few myths that need to be debunked.
Cody Hooper’s Summer Song hanging in a collector’s home in Texas.
Myth 1: Art should match your sofa.
Great art looks good anywhere. It doesn’t have to match your sofa. Of course if you’re getting ready to purchase a piece to be placed in a certain area, you may want to consider the color and find a piece that enhances it. However, don’t make your purchasing decision based solely on such strict criteria. Remember, if you do purchase an original piece of art, it will stay with you long after the sofa has changed, the walls have been repainted, and you’ve even relocated two or three times.
Myth 2: Original art is a good investment.
It seems to be a common line in many galleries, to tell potential buyers that purchasing an original piece from an up and coming artist is a great investment. They’ll tell you that the artist’s prices have risen steadily over the years or that the artist is just on the brink of making it big. All of that may be true. However, unless you know people who are interested in purchasing art, you will not be able to resell your investment piece and make a profit. The only people who really make a killing in the art market are those who purchased Picasso 50 years ago.
The best reason to purchase an original piece is because you love it. I have several original pieces from other artists in my home, which were purchased because I loved them. (And yes, they are up and coming artists whose prices have risen steadily over time.)
To say that you should love a piece is not an understatement. Art should evoke an emotional response. That response may be from the color, composition, or even something intangible like reminding you of a poignant happening in your life.
Cody Hooper’s Distant Drums in a collector’s dining room.
Myth 3: My child could have painted that abstract piece.
Yes, children paint wonderful pieces, but to suggest that a child can produce some of the beautiful abstract work that is in the market is dismissing artists’ creativity too quickly. Actually, most abstract artists learn to draw and to paint representational work before they evolved to abstract work. All good art conforms to guidelines of line, shape, form, atmosphere, design, and rhythm. Each artist finds their voice, much the same as a writer, and that voice may express in paint, sculpture, stained glass and on and on. And in each of those categories, there is a myriad of expressions limited only by the artist’s imagination.
You’re Ready to Purchase
Before you go shopping, stop and consider a couple of things – Do you want to purchase an original piece of art or a retail piece and how much money are you willing to spend?
Originals vs. Reproductions
There is one thing that drives many artists crazy…reproductions made to look like originals. There are plenty out there. They’re those “paintings” you find in department stores, flea markets, even retail outlets in the malls. Of course, these paintings are fairly inexpensive in the $75-$400 price range. Just don’t mistake them for original pieces. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to see the “hand of the artist” in an original piece.
Giclees have been extremely popular. A giclee is a computerized reproduction of an original piece that is usually “printed” on canvas. Some artists, or their employees, paint into this reproduction, giving it the texture and look of an original piece. Usually these pieces are numbered in the lower corner, like any reproduction, so there’s no question in the buyer’s mind.
Giclees are good buys if you’d like to have a piece that looks like an original, at a lower cost. It’s also a way of collecting the work of an artist you like, but an original is out of your chosen price range. (Not all artists agree with mass production and will not produce giclees.)
However, nothing matches the beauty of an original piece of art. If you’ve decided to go that route and have designated the amount of money you’re willing to invest, you can probably find a piece. It may take a little doing but it will be worth it. Visit the Internet. Check out the local galleries. Talk to friends who have artwork you admire.
Aleta Pippin’s Momentum (right) hanging with a Rick Stevens painting in a Houston collector’s home.
Blue Arc by Greg Reiche, commission steel and glass sculpture Blue Arc in a local New Mexico home.
What to look for in art?
Are you looking for a certain color, a certain pattern or even a certain size? If you’re purchasing an original, you should love it. If you’re purchasing art purely to finish the décor in your home, then you’ll want to find pieces that enhance the décor. There are several retail outlets that sell reproductions and prints, many already framed – Target, Hobby Lobby, Overstock.com just to name a few.
Why not spend a day looking at the various options. Check out local galleries, as well as the retail outlets. You may decide to purchase an original after you see all of the wonderful art that is available. And don’t forget the outdoor Art Festivals; these are a wonderful way to connect with an artist and to purchase an original piece.
If you choose to purchase an original, do a background check. Ask about the artist’s career, sales history, and make an intuitive assessment of the integrity of the person trying to sell the piece to you. Personally, I think original work truly adds to the quality of any environment.
Have fun with this. Take your time. The right piece will show itself. And it’s worth finding it, because art will add sizzle to your décor.
© 2002 by Aleta Pippin, abstract painter. Visit her web site at www.aletapippin.com. Updated 4/7/2015.
See this blog post featured on the Santa Fe Gallery Association website.