Some tips to buying “serious art” should ease your concerns. It’s really about asking yourself some simple questions before pulling out your wallet and signing that credit card slip. Also, it’s about doing a little homework in your quest for art investing.

Ask yourself one important question: Do I like it? Do I really like it?

No? Then keep on looking. Even if it’s a new, up and coming artist with tons of buzz (and you’re a deep-pocketed collector), walk on by. Art is subjective. What makes you like it is different than what makes someone else like it. It’s terrifically unique in its ability to be so personal.

But Ifv‘ve heard about this artist! He/she is supposed to be great and very collected.

So what? If you’re not entirely sold on the piece (or a relative of the artist), walk on by again. However, if you love the work and feel good about supporting this particular artist, by all means do so.
Just be clear about your motives. If you feel the price of this piece will climb like a trellised bougainvillea, don’t be so sure. Hot artists are like hot new restaurants…packed and interesting for a while until the new one comes along. With that said, if the artist is a personal favorite of yours, why are we even talking? Buy the art!

I love that piece. It goes great with my sofa!

Does it? How long will you have that sofa? Are you keeping it for another five years or is it just this side of shabby? In other words, buy art that will fit into your life now and down the road. Even if it does go with your furniture now, do you feel this color scheme will be something you’ll continue for years to come? Don’t buy bright pink abstracts with shock value unless that is something you want in your life for the long haul. Or unless you absolutely love it. Then refer to tip #1.

But can’t I buy it because I like it now? Who knows where I’ll be in 10 years?

True. Buy it for now. Enjoy it now. But be careful about buying “investment pieces” for a “now” purchase. Shocking abstracts may look cool and sophisticated in your midtown loft now, but will they fit into your suburban home in a few years? If not, don’t spend too much. If this is a style you feel you’ll always love, then spend more and get the best you can afford. Great art does age well. Cheap and shocking art becomes “bad taste decorating” quickly.

What makes the quality in artwork?

Numerous factors. I’ve walked into galleries where the art literally looked like it took about an hour from start to finish to complete. Two colors of bold dashes across a canvas. A finish that doesn’t ooze depth or richness won’t age well. However, those bold dashes of color could be tomorrow’s treasure if they are layered over an intricate background, or deeply tapestried color combination. Hence, creating a work of this level takes time and effort. It creates a smooth surface and a feeling of old-world mastery–even if it is a brand new piece.

Spend time at galleries before buying your art. Look up-close at the pieces. Do they seem multi-facted and intricate or are they simplistic and basic? Even minimalistic styles of art will be laid upon a well-prepared canvas. The cloth of the canvas will not show through, unless it is for the style of that particular art. A well-developed piece of art always makes me want to reach out and touch it, whether it’s a museum Rembrandt or a quirky city gallery abstract.

When you spend some time analyzing art, you’ll see what I mean.

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