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A guide for buying cool contemporary art for the home: 10 things to look for when purchasing a piece

contemporary art for the home

A guide to buying cool contemporary art for the home by Ruth Wilkinson, creative director of gallery Scream London.

When buying art people are usually in two camps – those who buy because they love a piece or are passionate about the artist and those who buy art as an investment. Whichever you are here are a couple of things to think about when buying contemporary art

1. Do your homework – of course buy with your heart but also understand your genre. Visit exhibitions and see big shows, learn what you like without the pressure of buying by going to galleries and exploring different types of art and artists, from pop art to portraiture there is something that will inspire you. For example, with contemporary art look back to the roots – if you are considering a Tracey Emin piece, for example, study artists who influenced her and the movements that inspired her to give you a deeper understanding of where her works comes from.

2. Look on social media – Instagram is a great way to find inspiration. Search relevant hashtags, look at auction houses and look at artists own profiles, sometimes looking at who they are following is a way to broaden you knowledge of a particular type of art.

3. Seek advice, form a relationship with your favourite gallery. A good gallery will allow you the chance to meet the artists and you may enjoy finding inspiration from them directly.

4. Quality, not quantity – invest in fewer pieces that are higher quality. Art is a purchase for life, so it’s better to collect slowly with a strong focus than try to rush and take an approach centred on decoration and looks and not knowledge. See your art collection as something that will grow with you and move with you through your changing abodes so think about the longevity of works and how they sit within your living environment.

Fly With Me - Cassandra Yap
Fly With Me – Cassandra Yap

5. Think about scale and how it will look in your home – if you are keeping the piece you should like it. Understand where your new piece will hang within your home, if you are looking to fill a large wall or space then buying a small piece of art may not be the way to go and in the same way purchasing a large artwork with nowhere to hang won’t make sense either.

6. Buying Online – can be a great way of purchasing limited edition prints for any budget, it allows you to look at artists and pieces in your own time, browse and return to have a second or third look. Good galleries and websites should list all of the details needed and buyers shouldn’t be afraid of this. There is a new found confidence in buying art online that should be embraced.

7. When buying prints look at the number on the edition of the print – prints give you the chance to acquire art from well-known names at more accessible prices, and are exciting works in their own right. Try to buy prints within a low edition, something that is reproduced over a hundred times won’t hold the same value as something more limited such as an edition of 20 0r 50. As a limited edition there should be no difference between the number from the edition that you buy but if you have a choice buy towards the start of the edition as these number are more sought after having been printed early.

8. Framing can add value to an artwork, when buying an original artwork the frame plays an important part, make sure the framing is good quality as it is included in the price and be sure to check that everything is place for hanging in your home.

9. Be confident with your purchases, if you love it buy it! Art inspires the soul and brings personality to your home, it reflects you to people who visit so if you want to make a statement go for it and don’t feel as though you have to play it safe.

10. Finally take care of your art, whether it is a poster, limited edition or an original piece it is always important to keep it clean, away from too much sunlight and looked after you never know you might have a piece which will one day sell for millions.

Look out for great limited edition prints from artists such as Remi Rough, Shuby and David Shillinglaw which allow you to buy amazing artists work at a more affordable price. Originals from David Wightman and Cassandra Yap will start a strong collection at great value.