Two years into my first job, I found the first painting that I would fall in love with. The piece was hanging in a South Park restaurant that I frequented for lunch. It was $1500 and I was making $40K a year with school loans up the wazoo. I didn't know at the time that it was love, but I know now because I've never forgotten the painting. A few years later I came across a Charmaine Olivia oil painting that I absolutely adored. But I still couldn't commit to the high price tag. Instead I purchased a print version of it that's now in my living room. But when you love something, having the replica is not the same as having the original.
Fast forward to just a few months ago and a better spending income, Gregory Siff had an incredible limited edition piece (he was making 20, each slightly different than the last) that I wavered on for several weeks. Should I, shouldn't I? When I finally decided to bite the bullet, the pieces had sold out. Rather sucky but lesson learned, if I was ever going to own real artwork, I'd have to commit and commit fast. Luckily through my bits of research I'm finding the art world is increasingly becoming more accessible with online artist shops and curated sites providing buyers with more choices. Buying art has never been easier.
A friend introduced me to Uprise Art which he's used to rent art for his startup. Rent to buy, or "invest-over-time" is the the non-commital way to work your way up to owning a piece. Membership is free, purchase immediately or pay $50/piece per month. I'm currently eyeing this collage, Spirit (Horizons over Horizons) by William Crump.
The try-before-you-buy model isn't new. There are several other sites like Turning Art and Artsicle. Artsicle launched two years ago and has nice tools for the newbie buyer. There's a style test when you sign-on, which I thought was a bit silly until they gave me my results. Pretty accurate as I do consider myself to be the modern girl ;) You can browse artwork using a hot or not discovery game, midly entertaining but it's much better to jump into the galleries. I'm really liking Margaret Withers, tromping with blazing red stairs the coys shyly moved and Hyu Jeong, Phenomenon II.
My favorite site for browsing is Saatchi Online. It's an extension of the Saatchi Gallery in London which houses contemporary art, presenting work by largely unseen young artists or international artists that have rarely or never shown in the UK. Am loving this giclée print by Magnus Gjoen, Flowers Grow Out of Dark Moments ltd ed. Too bad it already sold and only for $450!
For those with the money or already collecting, I recently discovered Paddle8. The site offers curated auctions and partners with non-profits on benefit auctions, offering collectors the chance to bid on carefully sourced works. This is the crème de la crème. The screenprint from Banksy, Laugh Now, 2003 is estimated at $8K-$10K and Jeff Koons, Balloons Dog (red), 1995 is worth $10K-$15K.
Yep, that's a lot of money for balls.