“When I have more money, I’m definitely going to buy your work!”
How many times have you heard this? How many times have you SAID this?
Probably more than you can recall. That’s ok. Money is a big part of our lives and it allows us the ability to collect resources we need to survive and sometimes, extra things that bring enjoyment to our lives. Like art. And guess what? You don’t have to be swimming in money to buy art. It’s possible on a limited budget.
How do I know this? I’m on a limited budget and I’m collecting art.
This may seem like a no-brainer since I’m an artist, but making the decision to collect art from artists I love was a big decision I had to make. I could certainly put my artwork up on the walls, but I knew I was missing something by not buying from the artists that I truly respected and enjoyed. My house was missing personality and uniqueness. I knew that by adding original art would make the difference for me.
So I finally started this past year (I know. . . I’m a late comer. . . I’m really cheap!!) and here are six ways I started collecting art, even on my limited budget:
1. Start small, or buy limited edition prints
There are many artists that offer miniatures that can be collected at a very affordable price. As examples, my friend and colleague, Teresa Haag, has a “25 Days of Minis” sale at the beginning of December where she produces lovely 6 x 6 paintings for around $250 each. They are snatched up within hours, so you have to be ready to pounce, but they are worth every penny.
Another example is my colleague Jeff Schaller who did this limited edition silk screen print right after the Super Bowl this year… 6 x 6 for $95.
I jumped on that as a Father’s Day gift for my hubby because he loves the Eagles. I know it is unlikely I will ever be able to afford an original encaustic work of Jeff’s, but I love his work and I can start right here.
2. Look for emerging artists
Catch an artist when they are young and just getting started. They will have very affordable works and they will love you for collecting them. An example of this is Mia Schaller, daughter of my friend Jeff Schaller. She is 15 years old and just starting to sell her work. She’s uber talented and at $60 for the 6 x 6 piece below, I just had to get one because I knew that she wasn’t going to stay affordable for long.
3. Barter or trade!
Don’t write this off if you’re not an artist. Yes, trading is a great option between artists who mutually like each other’s work, but as you can imagine, artists need other things for which they might be willing to trade original art.
Just to name a few: legal consulting, home repair, tutoring for a child, website work, landscaping or car repair. Home organization or cleaning (as you may have surmised, many an artist, including myself, is NOT into either one of these tasks). It never hurts to ask. You may be surprised what an artist needs that you can provide.
Here are a couple pieces on my wall that I’ve traded for:
4. Ask about payment plans or layaway options
Not every artist is willing to do this, but some will do payment plans (these are very easy to set up via Paypal and other online services) or layaway. Most of us don’t have several hundred (or thousands) dollars just laying around, so breaking it into manageable payments can make your dream of owning original art come true. Just be smart and plan ahead. Actively set aside money each month toward that purchase.
5. Think birthdays, anniversaries and holidays!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking family members to pitch in and buy you that piece of art you really want if you have a birthday or holiday coming up. In fact, I’m sure they would love how specific and helpful you are! As a special gift to my Sister-in-law’s parents, my parents, aunt and uncle and grandparents split the cost of a painting they would love. You can do the same. If you love a piece of art, point your family to it and let them know.
6. Sell your old stuff to buy art
My cousin has this amazing system she uses in order to buy new clothes she loves. She sells her old clothes she no longer wants and then she has a wad of cash she can use to buy what she really wants. Money in, money out!
Why not use this system to help save money for buying what you really want—art? My guess is that if you are like me, you probably have a lot of stuff laying around the house that you don’t need or barely use and it is saleable. Why not give it a try using Facebook MarketPlace, Ebay, or Craigslist?
You might find that after a couple sales, you have all you need to start an art buying budget. (Just promise me that you won’t go out and use that extra cash to buy more useless stuff, ok?!)
In the end, if you want to collect original art, there’s no reason to let your limited budget stop you. You really can do this. Just make the decision to start setting up an art budget. Either move funds around or eliminate some unnecessary things! As an example, if you give up a $4 latte everyday for 8 months, you could afford a $1000 painting which could bring you far more joy and a lot less calories. . . (just saying!)
There are so many ways to bring original art in your home. I hope you will use these tips to help you make the leap and get started. I know for me, bringing more original art in my home has helped me enjoy my space more and I don’t regret any lattes, t-shirts, or other materials goods I might have had to give up in order to buy art. My guess is that you won’t either!