“What should I look for when buying art?” That’s a question I am asked often and thought I’d share my thoughts with you. There are as many opinions on this subject as there are people, living and dead.
First, I’d say buy local, from a living artist. I do make a living supporting and helping local artists but also, why shouldn’t you?
Since this is my opinion – it is somewhat skewed towards my budget, tastes, and lifestyle. Still, people nod their heads affirmatively when I answer so here you go.
Buy what pleases you. It doesn’t matter if you’re matching colors on your coach (I hear lots of disdain from artists on this point) or filling an empty space in your foyer. For me though, I have to see a story.
I look for a story in the art, and that doesn’t need to be complicated. It could just be a martini glass, or a broken record rearranged into a Texas flag.
One of my favorite pieces is a photograph of an old typewriter keyboard by Jennifer Wilde (@jennywildephoto). The real story is what makes this image personal to me. Fond memories of my childhood, when I “discovered” an old typewriter that a neighbor threw out. I cleaned it up and got working properly. I still have it too.
Should you buy collectible art? I say if you like it, and have the funds, go for it. I do not collect art as an investment, however, and therefore do not advise anyone else to either.
If that is the route you’d like to take, study. Join art groups that tour, go to artist talks and visit galleries and talk to the gallerists. Educate yourself. You wouldn’t just start blindly investing in the stock market, you’d hire a broker. You can do the same with art.
What about new artists versus established artists? Looking around, I have many pieces by both. I really look for both quality and “my story” in my purchases. I like “gallery wrapped” canvas. It’s usually 1 1/2 inches thick or more and the canvas stretches around the back. For thinner canvas, plan on getting it framed.
Ready to get started? For you first excursion I want you to visit Valentina Atkinson’s gallery, Serrano Gallery.
Atkinson is also an artist and her shows are always top-notch in a relaxed atmosphere.
Friday evening gallerist Valentina Atkinson of Serrano Gallery hosts with The Consulate General of Mexico in Houston, the Mexican Tourism Board and Serrano Gallery present “THE FIFTH ELEMENT,” a group exhibit showcasing the work of four artists from Oaxaca, Mexico and a “Fifth Element.”
Artists: Rolando Rojas, Saul Castro, Dieder Mayes, Ixrael Montes, and a “V Element.” Curated by Armando Rodriguez and Lorena Morales. Silver Street Studios, 2000 Edwards Street, Houston, TX 77007. 6 – 9:00 p.m. For detailed directions visit www.serranogallery.com/v-element.
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards, find him at ArtValet.com