The world of art collecting can be a daunting place. When you reach the point in life when you want to invest in an artwork for your home, it may be difficult to work out the next step.
Melbourne Art Foundation CEO and director Maree Di Pasquale has a simple jumping-off point – she says you should buy art that you love and want to look at every day.
To get a sense of what styles you like, she recommends visiting art galleries and museums such as the National Gallery of Victoria, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, and Heide Museum of Modern Art.
“Attend art fairs such as Melbourne Art Fair, where you can be exposed to a wide range of new and interesting work from a curated selection of hundreds of artists,” Maree adds.
Maree is also the artistic director of the aforementioned contemporary art fair, which is relaunching in 2018. She says you should read art magazines and follow their social media, as well as talk to gallerists and get added to their mailing lists so you can check out exhibition openings.
Even if you’ve settled on a style, there’s a bit more homework to do before you make a purchase. Maree says it’s important to consider the location or size of the wall where you will be placing it, and look at other elements in the space, such as where the doors, windows and lights switches are, and the height of the ceiling.
“Avoid locations that could damage the artwork including heaters, fireplaces and sunlight from windows,” she says.
She says it is important to understand the structure of the walls in your home, as a very large picture isn’t going to stay on a plaster wall if you’re only using a couple of screws.
If you can avoid these pitfalls, Maree says art can provide a useful point of inspiration for the interior design that surrounds it.
For her personal collection, Maree predominantly acquires works by early-career artists from emerging markets. “I tend to buy from art fairs, but I try to follow the artists beyond that first fair encounter,” she says.
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Fenton & Fenton’s Lucy Fenton, whose business specialises in selling original artworks as part of its homewares selection, agrees with Maree about art’s transformative power.
“Art can bring a room to life, so make sure the piece makes you feel good,” Lucy says. “Don’t follow trends and just buy something that’s popular now – unless you love it – as you are likely to be over it in a short period.”
Lucy says to avoid buying art just because it’s affordable, because you will grow to dislike it over time. She suggests saving for a piece that resonates with you. “Invest in pieces you want to have on your walls forever,” she says.
To make it easier for first-time buyers to visualise artwork in their own homes, Fenton & Fenton displays its art with furniture and accessories.
Lucy says her business, which she has been running with her husband Josh for almost 10 years, helps make art more accessible.
“Traditionally original artwork was sold through galleries, which can be a little intimidating for some of us, in particular younger people who are just starting to collect art,” Lucy says.
Framing tips from Fastframe’s Odette Miles
Once you’ve decided on an artwork to hang on your wall, you need to find the perfect frame to compliment the piece. We asked framing expert Odette Miles from Fastframe for some help.
Here are Odette’s top five framing tips:
- Before you begin, decide where you want to hang your artwork. A large piece in a small area can overpower the space, and a small piece in a large area will look lost.
- Ask for advice from a professional picture framer to help with ideas on the design and the layout of your project. Try to keep an open mind about what’s best for the piece.
- The frame should fit the artwork, and act as an extension of it.
- The picture framer should use acid-free backing and matting as well as glass with UV protection to protect your art work from deterioration.
- Beware of framing trends – being on trend means your art might only look great for a season. If you choose a frame to suit the artwork, it will never go out of style.
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