A piece on curating your own art collection by Caitlin DuBois – Bio below.
Often put on the back burner when decorating a new home, art is actually essential to your mental health! You spend one-third of your life in your home so you need to surround yourself with art that defines you and the mood you want to exude.
Over the years I have had friends coming to me, frustrated because they want contemporary art but cannot afford gallery prices! They express disgust at poster options and have often asked my my thoughts on Ikea wall décor. While I never like to generalize, I think what people don’t realize is that the same amount of money that you’re spending on mass-produced work from Ikea, Target, Home Goods, etc. can be applied to original artwork by a lot of up-and-coming artists.If you are moving into a new home and your walls are bare, here’s where to start:
Goodwill: Traveling out to a Goodwill in an affluent area can turn up really amazing pieces perfect for filling in holes in a gallery wall but even more than that…. You can find really amazing frames! I once found a hand-carved, gold leaf frame with the Renoir nameplate still on the frame! It was so ornate and beautiful, I have it hanging just as it is. Salvaging frames in this way can also save you money later. Tricks of the trade are you can take an oversized used frame to a local frame shop where they can reuse it and have it cut down and fitted to your artwork saving you a lot of money! A tradition, gaudy frame on a contemporary piece of pop art is one of my favorite things!
Instagram: By owning art you also have a personal connection to the maker—you aren’t just investing in an artwork but you are investing in a person. With art, there is a unique relationship between a buyer and the artist that doesn’t really exist with many other objects. When you are purchasing art from living and working artists, that’s really a vote of confidence for them, especially if they are building clientele, building their portfolio, and getting their name out there. It’s a very meaningful act for both you and for the artist and Instagram is an amazing way to stay in touch and involved in their work and lives. I also support buying art straight from the artist when you are looking to keep your price point low. I have purchased nearly all of my originals and contemporary work from artists I have found on Instagram like Brie Cirel and Ekaterina Popova!
The Jealous Curator: Danielle Krysa has an amazing sense of humor and an even better eye. Her blog which was founded as a place to her to show off artwork that made her jealous. For her that jealousy inspired her to jump back in and create on her own but, as I am not an artist, her newsletters and now podcast have become integral to inspiring me and a huge part of how I can easily stay in touch with the market in terms of up and coming artists. It is so well curated, I find myself diving in to find all all I can about an artist, and if I cannot afford their originals even invest in a print or giclee to add to my collection probably once every few months!
Etsy: Experiment with search terms using the words you came up with in Step Two on Etsy! Although Etsy is best known as an arts and crafts site where you can buy everything from sterling silver paperweights to Superwoman-themed stationery, it’s also a huge marketplace for original art, including painting, photography, and even sculpture and once you’ve hit the sweet spot for what you are looking for from those search terms, it’s pretty sweet. Hint: If you are going for a gallery wall, Etsy is a great way to add a vintage piece to the collection for aesthetics.
ArtLifting.com: ArtLifting is a for-profit company that began as an online gallery for homeless and disabled artists but has quickly evolved into something more ambitious. The goal was to provide a way for these disenfranchised artists to sell their work, enhance self-esteem and change their lives. Art collecting and giving back meet and it doesn’t get much better than that.
Art.com: The ideal place to start is Art.com because of their sheer volume of art from which to choose. Categories range from vintage posters to florals to contemporary to animals to digital art, and you can even search by the color of your décor, making it possible to hone in on exactly what you want. This is also a great place to search by artist, so if you’re looking to add a Klimt to your gallery wall collection, one can be yours in a 24 x 31 art print for $24.99.
My name is Caitlin DuBois and I am an Art Consultant for Merritt Gallery in Philadelphia, PA bringing beauty to both residential and corporate spaces. I have always had a deep love of the arts and I believe the journey in building an art collection together brings more joy to the soul and personal truth to your collection then focusing on the end goal. Follow me on Instagram for daily interior design and art inspiration @GalleryGirlMG !