Buy Fine Art Without the Snobiness
By Ida Gustavson
When I was in art school in New York City I would plan days to go visit galleries. Not to buy art, but to appreciate it and learn more about what was going on in the art world and about the artists involved. But even with an art background and dressed in my best clothes it was a daunting experience to walk into some of these galleries. The person working in the gallery would instantly judge that I was not a buyer and therefore act as if I was really not cool enough to even be in there. This treatment and attitude really turned me off, and made me aware of why people are sometimes intimidated to walk into a gallery, let alone ask questions and buy art. Of course that was New York City, but I believe that people who don’t know a lot about art feel that they can not appreciate it the same as someone who has some knowledge of the art market. This is so not the case! The greatest thing about art is that it is 100% subjective, and a person does not need a PHD in art history to know what they like and what they don’t like. Appreciating, viewing and buying art for your home should be a fun learning experience.
Selecting art for your home is a personal process. The art should reflect your personality and your sense of style and it is a great way to put your unique signature on a space. Artwork in a home should reflect the homeowner. It creates a visual dialogue in the space and helps set the mood or feeling you are trying to evoke. A work of art can be humorous, deadly serious, thought provoking or just plain colorful, but in the end, it should reflect you and your style.
The best advice I can give to people with little or no art buying experience is to go with your gut feeling and then ask lots of questions. When you walk into a gallery, hopefully someone greets you and welcomes you to walk around and take a look. See what strikes you and catches your interest and then ask questions. Art is such a great topic to talk about because it is so subjective. The interpretations of a work are endless and can be a lot of fun to discuss. The owner of a gallery will most likely have some insight into the artist’s inspiration and intention and this information can open up a whole new dialogue between you the viewer, and the work of art. Take this opportunity to learn as much as possible about the artist, his medium and technique. Part of the joy of owning a fabulous painting or sculpture is being able to discuss the piece with visitors to your home.
Another important factor in choosing a work of art is budget. Unfortunately it is the least romantic part of selecting art for your home but an obvious reality. Have an idea of what you want to spend and look in that price range. Galleries for the most part carry a wide range of art for different budgets. Let the gallery know what price range you are interested in, and they will be more than happy to show you options. Good art is not always expensive and not all expensive art is necessarily good. Emerging artists are a great place to begin because their prices are usually lower. They are trying to establish collectors and they are producing their best work in order to get their foot into the art market door. Another option in today’s digital world is fine art reproductions. The quality of today’s reproductions is impressive and though they are not originals, many are printed in a limited edition and signed and numbered by the artist, the smaller the edition the more valuable they are. Don’t be afraid to discuss your budget. Galleries and artists want your business and for the most part they will try and accommodate a potential client and collector. If you have fallen in love with a piece, but it is out of your price range, talk to the gallery about smaller works or studies by that artist that might be more suitable to your budget.
The galleries in San Jose del Cabo’s Gallery District, as a collective, have a wide range of art for all tastes and budgets. From internationally recognized artists to Mexican folk art, the choices are endless and the selection is great. Each gallery has their individual rosters of artists and is knowledgeable and friendly. It is a great place to start when looking for that perfect piece of art for your home in Los Cabos or afar. And, I promise there is not an ounce of snobiness to be found!
After graduating with a degree in Illustration from Parsons School of Design, Ida worked as an independent artist and illustrator in New York City. She also participated in various solo and group shows. Ida moved to Los Cabos in late 2003 to open Galeria de Ida Victoria, touted by the local press as "the finest gallery south of Los Angeles". Get to know more about her and her gallery at idavictoriagallery.com