Buying art is traditionally considered a hands-on process; however, with advancements in photo technology, many web savvy artists have decided that buying art online is the way of the future, especially for new collectors. The internet places a wealth of information at your fingertips. This guide to buying art online will help you build a collection that reflects your personality and style—on your own terms.
Is the piece a decoration, an investment or a gift? The majority of art purchased online is for the buyer’s own personal home décor, which is the assumption we will follow for this guide. If you are looking to make a serious investment, you’ll probably need a more in-depth, hands-on tutorial. If you are buying for someone else, follow this guide with the recipient’s taste, personality and decorating style in mind.
Once you have decided to purchase a piece of art for your home, survey the room you intend to buy for. Space limitations, color combinations and lighting are all factors that need to be taken into account when buying and hanging or arranging art. Color and lighting schemes can be redesigned to accommodate a must-have artistic find, but walls and room dimensions are harder to manipulate. Plan how you want the room to look and feel with the new art in place, and measure accordingly.
You know what you like when you see it, but chances are you’ve never really thought about what exactly defines your “taste.” Your clothing, accessories, furniture and home interior say a lot about what you like and don’t like, and are good predictors of your taste in art. Look through magazines or visualize the homes of friends and celebrities for decorating ideas; then, visit a museum or art show to get an idea of the various styles of art today. Remember, you’re building a file of general styles and patterns you like, not specific pieces.
While it’s important to have a good grasp of the styles and trends you like, don’t feel tied to artwork just because it fits into one of your categories. Size limitations aside, if something grabs you that seems outside the scope of what you usually like, go for it. On the other hand, if a piece is the perfect definition of what would work in your living room, but you can’t find anything special or get excited about it, don’t talk yourself into liking it. It is almost always best to trust your initial reaction when dealing with art.
At the end of the day, buying art really is all about you. You’re the one who’s going to see it everyday, so take the time to find a piece that you absolutely have to have. Express yourself by choosing pieces that you wish you had created yourself.