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Purchasing original art is an exciting way to contribute to your cultural landscape. That being said, taking the next step and contacting an artist whose art has caught your eye may feel intimidating.
What should you say? What shouldn’t you say? What pricing should you expect? These are all valid questions as a first-time art buyer. While some minor preparation may be helpful, don’t overthink the interaction. Remember, artists sell their pieces for a reason. Oftentimes, they welcome and encourage all art lovers to ask questions. They don’t expect you to know everything!
As an art platform that values communication, Bidgala and other similar websites make it easy for you to contact an artist. Of course, as a buyer, you will need to initiate the first conversation. Here are some tips to remember when approaching or commissioning an artist.
Know the artist’s style
Doing a bit of research before diving into your shopping is always helpful. There’s a plethora of artists, art styles, art venues, collectives, galleries, etc. to choose from. Knowing what you like and what you’re looking for will make your experience much easier to navigate.
If you’ve found an artist you like, check out their website or their social media. Look through their portfolios and ensure what they create aligns with your personal taste. Read the comments or reviews and see what other people think too! It never hurts to have more information. With this, you can make educated decisions and approach the artist with full confidence in their ability to deliver what you want.
As with any other conversation, introducing yourself is always a good way to start. As consumers, we often forget to acknowledge that we are interacting with real people. This is especially important for artists. Creators are often emotionally invested in their pieces, so it is crucial to make connections between buyers and sellers.
An art enthusiast such as yourself should ask questions! Get to know who you’re purchasing from. This will make for a more pleasant transaction, and the artist will undoubtedly appreciate your curiosity. It’s a win-win!
Here are some suggested questions to ask the artist:
- What do you like about the piece?
- Why do you choose those materials?
- How do you choose a title?
- What is your biggest inspiration?
When buying art, you may encounter a wide range of prices depending on the artist you are buying from. When reaching out to an artist, try to have an idea of what you’re willing to spend. Artists work hard to create their pieces and price accordingly. It’s best to know what you're walking into so that there are no surprises. If you’re looking for a commissioned piece, ask for an estimate before you move forward with anything final.
This tip is especially important when looking into commissions. Do your best to be clear and straightforward when expressing what you want from the artist. Some artists may feel more inclined to collaborate with you on the creative side. If not, make sure you know exactly what you want; indicate sizing, colors, materials, etc.
If you’re more of a visual person (and the artist most likely is as well), you can share an inspiration board (such as one from Pinterest) as a reference! Give the artist as many details as possible so that you’re both pleased with the end result. Once that is settled, establish a clear timeline for production and set a trustworthy payment method.
All in all, don’t forget to enjoy your shopping spree! Collecting art is a stimulating hobby that shouldn’t feel like a chore. Enjoy yourself and the artist will too. Good luck!