How To Buy Art Like An Art Snob

by Rosie McKay

See Need Want Interiors How To Buy Art Sally West Beach Painting Detail
After more than a cheap print? Kerry-Anne Blanket of KAB Gallery shares her insider tips on how to invest in the right piece of art...

So you've dabbled with cheap prints and art fads and are finally ready to invest in something special to fill that hole on the wall in your home - but where to start! Indeed the art world can be complex and often daunting. 

Art critics dedicate their life to analysing and reviewing art and sometimes only scratch the surface with their life’s work. It certainly doesn’t help that many of them speak a different “art” language with impasto this, verso that, palette the other. Yes, it's enough to send you running back to the safety of another mass-produced print! 

Thankfully we know people - talented art people like Kerry-Anne Blanket of KAB Gallery - who can help decipher the art lingo, and arm you with all you need to know when investing in art. Here, Kerry shares her key insider tips on decoding the art world – current trends, buying do's and dont's and what is important to know when it comes to purchasing, displaying and maximising the enjoyment of a contemporary art investment in your home. 

What are some current art trends?

1. Mixing it up: It’s all about collecting a variety of art. Keep you art collection interesting with a selection of various art mediums, genres and subject matter. With such an array of contemporary artists working in the current market you can be liberal in your choices and purchase art that really connects to you and reflects your taste.

2. Texture: Give your wall an extra dimension by incorporating textured paintings. I have definitely noticed a general trend over the past year of clients looking for heavy and textured paintings. Regardless of the art being abstract or representational, the textured surfaces provide an entirely new dimension. Impress your friends and family by positioning textured art under or close to a new lamp so they can notice and enjoy the detail. 

See Need Want Interiors How To Buy Art Katie Wyatt Jade Valley Oil On Canvas 60X60Cm 790
Credit: Katie Wyatt “Jade Valley” Oil on Canvas 60x60cm $790 available at KAB Gallery,
See Need Want Interiors How To Buy Art Sally West Beach Painting Detail
Credit: Detail of a Sally West Beach painting (Beach Series – Exclusive to KAB Gallery)

3. Bold or soft colour makes a statement: The current trends in artwork colour are either extremely bold or extremely muted. Which way you choose to go is really up to you, but it’s all about making a statement. If beautiful soft muted tones suit your style and décor then feel free head that way to create your ultimate environment. If you prefer to grab your friend’s attention far quicker then by all means commit to works with bold colour. Just don’t look to no-man’s land in the middle of the colour spectrum, because the only message sent then is that you weren’t prepared to back your style.

See Need Want Interiors How To Buy Art Pro Hart See Need Want Interiors How To Buy Art Sally West Soft Muted Colour
Credit: Pro Hart Bullant items available at KAB Gallery, Sally West painting available at KAB Gallery
What are the main dos and don’ts when it comes to purchasing artwork?

 When buying an artwork it’s really important to consider a few simple points. You are looking for qualitybeautyversatility, and a good professional artist. I believe it is really important to love the art you are buying! That’s the best part about investing in a good art collection – you can enjoy the beauty everyday.

Do: Invest in quality art. Good art screams quality and a good professional artist will be addicted to quality materials. Similar to a hairdresser needing sharp scissors, a good painter will need the best pigments, mediums, brushes and canvas to work on. Look out for rich colour and texture in the paint and even take a look at the back of the canvas if you can to see the quality and weight of the canvas. This applies to all mediums and forms of art. 

Do: Ask lots of questions! Each artwork is unique. Art conveys a message from the artist and many artists stray outside the old accepted boundaries of art practice by inventing their own techniques. When making your purchase ask lots of questions and learn as much as you can about the artist, their practice, the art series and the unique message in your new artwork. 

Do: Look for an artwork that represents you and your life. It can be as simple as your favourite colours or as nostalgic as a still life that includes your grandmothers favourite flowers. Having a sincere connection to your art will add to your long term enjoyment of the piece. You will also love being able to discuss the work with confidence and familiarity. 

Do: It’s vital to ensure that your artwork investment is an original piece of art – Leave the digital prints for sale in the 2 dollar shop! Even if the gallery is presenting you with a high quality giclee print which is identical to the original image it’s important to remember that it is only a copy that many other people will also have on their wall. At the end of the day it is the rarity and originality of an artwork which contributes substantially to its value.

What about placing artwork?

Do: Mix and match frames. The trend of having all the art in your collection matching is has gone for good, or is at the very least consigned to the stuffy corporate art collections. Art collections consisting of one artist (usually framed exactly the same) are just BORING! The contemporary home is now filled with interesting eclectic collections of various art. 

Do: The cluster hang is great if you have a collection of small artworks. Put your art collection together – group a variety of subjects, colours, sizes, mediums, textures, frame styles etc. They don’t need to match, in fact it often creates a more interesting effect if they don’t! The more elements you can include the more interesting your cluster will be. Cluster your art on a main hallway or the entranceway to your home to enhance your commitment to art collecting (thus becoming the impressive “art snob” to all of your guests). 

Do: Create a luxe effect with ornate frames. There are some amazing ornate frames available and they can really enhance an artwork. If you are reframing an artwork, speak to the gallerist and ask them for ideas and suggestions. They see and handle beautiful art everyday and are experts in the field (Plus – they LOVE opportunity to enhance art) Keep in mind too that ornate doesn’t necessarily need to be gold. There are some great contemporary monochrome options available too.

See Need Want Interiors How To Buy Art Norman Lindsay Photographs
Investment pieces VS cheaper mass produced artwork – what are the advantages of investing in art?

I love investing in original art because it is a beautiful and tangible investment. Similar to real estate, it will remain for you and your family to enjoy even when markets are low. Investing in art can be daunting, and like all investments there is risk. Most investment markets experience rises and falls, and art is no different. By purchasing an original artwork you can feel proud and confident that you have invested in a one-of-a-kind creation by an artist who is committed to their visual practice. It is unique and special  - opposed to a mass produced substandard work.


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