Buying art for your living space or office can be daunting at times. So many unknowns around the size of the piece, type of art, abstract or naturalistic, type of medium, frame, or canvas type to choose, etc. As it turns out choosing artwork can be very intuitive and satisfying if you keep in mind a few things. Let me break it down so it is not so intimidating.
Get to know the artist. If you are buying from an artist directly chances are that you will know her/his values, style, and content well. Understanding the content she puts out and her background can help put things in context. Follow their portfolio to learn their style and see if you can connect with the pieces. Read up about them online through their blogs, social media posts, and visit their online gallery frequently before making a buying decision. Communicate through social media channels and understand their personal side. Trust me, it's worth it.
Frequent galleries. If you are a book lover there is no replacement for a trip to the library or a book store.. It is something about the smell of fresh paperback and the visual elements. Similarly, if you are an art lover or someone interested in getting to know art visit local galleries. Get to know local artists and their work. Some of the high-end galleries might lack the service. Even if you can afford the artwork try not to take it personally if they don't choose you. I prefer smaller galleries as they have a closer relationship with their artists and can even clue you in on upcoming sales or events.
Know your space well. Remember, every piece however small or large conveys a vibe, an emotion. So choose a theme keeping the decor and overall character of the space in mind. Art is for self-expression, often through the texture of the medium, the color, and content. Don't worry too much about making a statement. To explain this better refer to the placement of the small charcoal sketch of my husband that I did years ago. It is quaintly displayed in my reading nook in a quiet corner of our living room. When I retire to that corner at the end of a busy day I seek the comfort of the quietness and the memories the sketch brings every time I glance at it.
Large pieces of art call for attention. If they will be the focal point then use a minimalistic approach to accents in the room. For example, go with few objects in the room and muted tones for the rugs or furniture, or frames. If you find a piece that you really like build around it. Another reason to connect with an artist whose work you like is that they can customize art to suit your needs or offer expert guidance on what would work the best for you or refer you to other artist's in the network. As a general rule of thumb while considering the size plan for three-fourths of your available wall space. Again, if you are looking to hang a focal point above a piece of furniture—such as your bed or headboard, or dresser using the same guideline find a piece that is slightly smaller than the furniture, say about two-thirds smaller.
Don't be driven by trends. Art is self-expression. Invest in something that speaks about you. Don't be fooled by trends. Something that is genuinely attractive will stand the test of time. Seek unique and original art. While it can be tempting to buy mass-produced artwork for less there is nothing like owning an original piece of art that you can choose to hand down through generations. Ask around for other clients who have purchased art from the artist you like. Listen to true testimonials and word of mouth.
Commission a piece. Do you love an artist's work? Commission a piece. This is the best way to customize to the size and your needs while collecting your favorite artist's work. Try not to request the artist to stray too much away from their style and state clearly your expectations. Having done several commissioned pieces myself it is a great relationship-building process as well.
In conclusion, an artist's individuality, expression, and vision are powerful things. Focus on the joy it would bring to your guests, your family, or yourself. If you want a vibrant, social living area let the art you choose reflect that. If you want a quiet place of solitude look for a unique piece that speaks to that. It's all about connecting with your heart. It should tell a story...your story!