Art Collecting for the Savvy Shopper

I always say a room is never done until the art is on the walls! But when you’re decorating a new space, the finishing touches can seem daunting.  What color, what size, how much should I spend?   I’ll tell you a secret: no matter what your budget, it’s not impossible to curate an art collection you love that won’t break the bank!

The first piece of art I ever bought was a watercolor titled “Second Liners.” I purchased the piece in New Orleans in 1993 while traveling on business. I had never been to the Big Easy, and I fell in love, from the beignets to the antique stores to music on every corner. What a fabulous place!  That trip was the beginning of my love affair with buying art.

My walls are lined with photographs, oil paintings, watercolors and mixed media.   I try to stick to around $500 or less per piece, if possible. For someone starting out with a limited budget, you may want to start by buying prints of an artist you love. It’s a great way to get your feet wet. I have seen some gorgeous art for less than $100, so don’t ever devalue a piece of art because of the price tag. If you love it, then it’s worth every penny.

Here are ten fantastic places to look for that special piece of art:

1.      Carrier Collective

One of my favorite pieces I own is from Carrier Collective. Artist Angie Carrier’s pieces are whimsical and fun. When I looked into the eyes of Coco, I was a goner and had to have her. I met Angie at HighPoint Market while she was showing her line, and I hope to see her again this year. On her website, Angie sells original paintings, wood reproductions, and giclees. Some of her pieces sell for as little as $20 to $100. If you love animals, Angie’s paintings are worth checking out!

Titled:  Coco

Titled:  Coco

2.      Suze Ford

I recently discovered artist Suze Ford while surfing the net. Suze paints bright, happy paintings and also offers prints and custom painted ornaments. Although her original artwork can be a little pricey for first-time buyers, her prints start at just $35. If you’re looking for larger prints, they go up to $160, which is still a great price.

Titled: Happy Place

Titled: Happy Place

3.      David Williams

A local Virginia artist that I am loving right now is David Williams. His landscapes are stunning.  I must admit I am a bit biased as they are mostly all Virginia countryside. If you live in the area, you might also want to check out David’s painting workshops and classes.

Titled:  Morning Song

Titled:  Morning Song

4.      Art Finder

For some lesser priced alternatives, check out the fabulous Art Finder. Art Finder is a global marketplace for affordable authentic art. They connect over 6,000 talented independent artists and galleries with art lovers who value craft, quality, and originality. Shop for paintings, photographs, and other hand-crafted artwork. There’s a wide selection of pieces under $300, including many options under $100. Some of the extra-large paintings are reasonably priced at around $500. Art Finder also offers a 14 day money back guarantee, so you can buy in confidence.

5.      ArtStar and Little Collector

Another great website to check out is ArtStar and its child-focused counterpart LittleCollector, which partners with artists to offer a curated selection of artwork from around the world. Affordable, limited-edition, signed, and numbered prints range from $50 to $750. Each ArtStar print is accompanied by an authenticity card containing the title of the work, the artist’s signature and the edition number in order to maintain the value of your specific edition.

6.      Uprise Art

Uprise Art operates as a type of layaway. Buyers can shop the online gallery for contemporary, curated pieces and then set up an account to purchase them over time. It’s a great solution if you want higher-priced art but don’t have the budget for it now. On the other hand, if you’re looking for affordable artwork now, they feature a shopping section for pieces under $800. Some of the artwork sells for as little as $80.

7.      Custom Made

Custom Made is a site that’s designed to deliver just that; custom made. Simply describe what you want, get quotes from artists, and have your artwork made for you. You will find everything from jewelry and furniture to paintings, photography, sculptures, and more. You can also browse existing designs, including thousands of pieces under $100.

8.      Etsy

Etsy is a marketplace for handmade goods, including clothing, jewelry, costumes, and craft supplies, but that’s not all you’ll find there. If you’re a fan of vintage artwork, there’s an entire section of the site devoted to it. In the Arts & Collectibles area of the site, you can purchase prints, paintings, glass art, ceramics, and more.

9.      Local Art Galleries

Although you can buy artwork from anywhere with the aforementioned sources, don’t forget to visit your local framer or art gallery. They typically carry pieces by local artist and can help you find the perfect piece for your home.  Many times they offer picture hanging services. My local go-to framer is Broadway Gallery. Caron Broadway is also a fine art painter and offers commissioned artwork. She painted this piece for a client’s bedroom. Love it!

Titled:  Surf Side

Titled:  Surf Side

10.  Juried Craft Shows

Aside from your local art gallery, there are likely other places and events in your area that are good for finding affordable art. One such option is craft shows. You'll never know what you might find and at what price, but it’s worth checking out.

Local flea markets sometimes feature original artwork as well, and you may also enjoy art school exhibits. Don’t be afraid to check out events like these when you’re traveling too; you just might find the perfect piece of art while on vacation or a business trip.

The most important thing about buying art is that you love it! My art brings me joy each and every day reminding me of the trips I have taken and the wonderful times I have had.

Do any of these websites or local options speak to you? Which one will you browse first to find that special piece of art you've been dreaming about?