The Do’s and Dont’s of Buying Art
We are lucky to be based in Asia, the heart of all fabulous art and budding Picasso’s. Wherever you go, there is bound to be some form of craftsmanship that will win you over.
While the feeling of chancing upon a great piece of art on the streets of Ubud, Bali and returning with your own priceless master canvas is hard to describe. So is the emotion felt when the same painting looks awkwardly out of place in your apartment in Singapore!
Vanilla Luxury comes to the rescue - We take away the pain and regret of buying the wrong piece for your house. Keep this list of Do’s and Don’ts handy when you go shopping for art – and thank us later!
1. Do your research
While serendipity is great, emerge yourself in art if you are looking to invest in a piece. Answer questions like, what art do I like? What medium speaks to me the most? Visit museums, art shows and galleries; and talk to collectors and artists to get familiar with techniques and genres.
2. Size up your Space
The beauty of vast canvas is intoxicating. Larger paintings tend to speak out so much more.
When looking at large canvases or sculptures for that matter, do keep the size of tiny Singaporean apartments in mind. Sometimes a large art object can be beautifully imposing in a small room but more often than not, it may not fit through your doorway or worse, you don’t have a wall large enough to hold it (true expat story that repeats itself year after year!)
3. Decide on Colour schemes
Experimenting with colours is often encouraged, it is our favourite part about buying art. However, do keep your personality and extreme likes and dislikes in mind. If you are one for cleaner, softer palettes a medley of fluorescent may not be what you want on your walls! Similarly, if you are outspoken and enjoy a piece that can be the centre of attention, stay away from bleak colours or run of the mill schemes.
4. Set a budget
You can spend millions on a piece or get away with a bargain deal at a flea market! It all boils down to how much you want to spend. When you set a budget, add another 20-50% on top of that. Buying art is like buying property – you will always want to spend a little bit more than you can afford, especially when you fall in love with the right piece!
5. Consider a variety of mediums
No one likes an empty wall. Or perhaps you haven’t realised the power of just one piece lighting up a room! Also consider investing in other mediums such as sculpture, paper prints or photography – it adds volumes to your personality and your home too!
6. Make sure the lighting is right
Lighting and focus can take an ordinary painting to extraordinary levels! When you invest in art make sure you aren’t scrimping on other aspects. LED bulbs should be your first choice as they emit no UV and little heat. Halogen versions can damage art over time, gradually burning away the material.
7. Look for art in unexpected places
Think galleries and exhibitions are your best bet when it comes to buying art? Think again. Some of the world’s most treasured art was discovered in flea markets, hidden stores and garage sales! Take advantage of the art treasure trove that is Asia, and go exploring!
1. Get pushed into buying something
Whether you end up buying something or not, shopping for art should be a pleasure and not a forced decision. Take your time, think about it and come back another day – unless you are at an art auction of course. Some galleries that sell expensive paintings, also allow buyers to take the piece home for a day to see if it suits them!
2. Be afraid to experiment
There are no hard and fast rules to art. Work with shapes, colours and sizes ; all mixed together works too. Remember that if it’s edgy or sensational, it will be remembered!
3. Hesitate to create your own art
Bring out the artist in you! Use family photos, baby hand prints or whatever you can get to make one or many outstanding pieces. Frame photos or inspiring posters in different coloured frames, mixing metal with wood, landscape with horizontal etc. Also don’t ignore or underestimate the power of affordable art. Anything from an old disc cover to a paper bag can be framed!
4. Throw away the receipt or any certification
Remember this often ignored piece of advice. Keep everything – the receipt, invoice and any documentation. This is your route to authentication and value of a piece, be it today or 20 years down the line.
For more information or consultation on how to pick art for your home, visit Deise Dias. She has a wide variety of framed and unframed paintings ranging from SGD100 to a few thousand. All her paintings may be viewed at in her home studio or on her website. For appointments/viewings drop her an email at [email protected]
Wordsmith and marketer by day, Natasha is your go-to girl on all things beauty, travel and family. This mommy to two loves her cheese, a fab read and crooning to Ping Fong (don't we all?). Natasha also heads Communications at Expatgiving and helps volunteers find their dream non-profit role! Reach her at email or via her Instagram @sonattymama
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