‘Affordable’ has a very different definition for everyone. In fact, the concept of ‘affordable art’ is just about as subjective as art itself! But this shouldn’t scare you away from starting your own art collection. No matter your definition of affordable, it’s time to drop any preconceived notions that you might have on art collecting – it’s not just for the rich and famous, we promise.
Despite what you might think, it doesn’t take you spending away your life savings to build and grow an impressive collection of original artworks to call your own. What it does take is time, patience, and a bit of self-confidence and savvy determination.
To help you out on your art collecting journey, we have outlined five top tips for collecting art on a budget.
1. Start slow
It can be tempting to want to have a complete collection right away, but buying slowly and thoughtfully based not only on how an artwork makes you feel, but also how it fits your budget, is always a good approach. Working out your own art taste doesn’t necessarily happen overnight, so take your time getting to know your likes and dislikes, cultivating a deeper understanding and appreciation of art and expanding your perspectives. The more you see, the more you can hone your own tastes and preferences.
2. Trust your gut
Often a lack of confidence is what stops us from buying our first piece of art. The art world can be intimidating, and with all the fancy terminology and talk of ‘sensible investments’ it can seem impenetrable at times.
If your purchase turns out to be a good investment, great! But first and foremost, you should love the art that you buy and be happy living with your collection. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy and collect art – art, by its very nature, is subjective. If you see a piece of art and it evokes that instant gut reaction of ‘I love this’, then trust that! Try not to overthink it; collecting original art is an exciting thing, so don’t deny yourself the opportunity to enjoy the process.
3. Support emerging artists
Buying work from young, emerging or lesser-known artists is a great place to start when collecting art on a budget. An artist’s work will typically be most affordable when they’re first starting out, and you’re likely to be one of their first collectors – your purchase may well be the crucial support and confidence-boost that they need to continue working. For those interested in art as an investment, there’s always a chance that the work could grow in value. It’s a win-win!
Both the Royal Watercolour Society (RWS) and Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers (RE) run annual open-submission competitions (the RWS Open [formerly known as the Contemporary Watercolour Competition], and the International Original Print Exhibition, respectively) open to artists of all levels, including students and those just starting out in the art world. These exhibitions held at Bankside Gallery are great opportunities to seek out emerging talent!
4. Consider an original print
If you’re looking to spend as little as possible on your first piece(s) of original art, then signed limited edition prints are a great option. We’re talking etchings, woodcuts, screenprints and the like. If you don’t know what these are, get to know! These prints are your best friends when it comes to owning an eclectic, varied and exciting collection of original art on a budget.
Most original prints are made using techniques allowing there to be multiple impressions made of the same image. This number of impressions will be limited and will be indicated on the print itself with its unique number, followed by the total number of impressions produced in the edition. As there are several impressions, original prints are often a much more affordable option to, say, a painting.
Side note: many of these printmaking techniques require hours of work, and incredible expertise and precision; having an understanding how something is made can really increase your appreciation of the work and the skill in producing it.
5. Pay in instalments
If you fall in love with an artwork that is way out of your budget, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, no matter your budget, buying your first piece of art or adding to an ever-growing collection can always be more affordable and accessible. Bankside Gallery is a member of Own Art, which allows customers to buy original art with interest free loans. This scheme makes it possible to buy any piece of art or collection of artworks worth up to £2500 and spread the cost over 10 equal monthly instalments, making it the perfect way to start your art collection on a budget!
Check out some wonderful paintings made by artists of the RWS, available to buy in our Online Store. If you see any artwork on our website or in our Gallery that you would like to buy using the Own Art scheme, simply give us a call or talk to one of our members of staff in person.
Feeling inspired? Be sure to check out our Online Store, which features brilliant original and affordable unframed works by members of the Royal Watercolour Society and Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers! All works are available to buy immediately and have delivered directly to your door.
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