April 2021: How to start buying art?

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What got me thinking about this?

Over the last two years, I’ve had many new art buyers come to my studio (in between lockdowns) or get in touch online about how to start buying art. Now, perhaps more than ever, people are looking to fill their homes with points of interest, escapism and happiness as Covid keeps us at home. I consistently find it flattering when someone wants to include my work in their art collection or even start their art collection at home with one of my paintings- this, honestly makes me so happy!  

The flip side of this is that I’ve also heard many stories of people feeling intimidated about buying art. This generally comes down to a couple of reasons a) they don’t understand the art they like and want to know more but are not sure what questions to ask b) art galleries are not always the most welcoming of spaces. I understand this- I’m an artist and I’ve felt uncomfortable going into some galleries!  & c) They don’t know any artists or anything about the art world plus some of the terminology can be inaccessible so figuring out where to begin can be frustrating.

The plus side is that how art is accessed & viewed now has dramatically changed in recent times. If you’re not a fan of the traditional route for buying art through galleries (not slaying them, there is room for us all!) you will find that many artists have moved their work online making it easy to start thinking about what type of art you would like. To further narrow your thoughts down I would begin considering questions like do I want art for my home, or art for my office or maybe you would like to give an original gift?

green contemporary abstract painting by abstract painter aisling drennan. how to start buying art
Shallow Time, 2021, oil paint, oil bar & charcoal on panel board, 50x50cm SOLD

How to start collecting art?

I’m probably a little biased on this but I think Instagram is an excellent tool for finding what you want by using the right hashtags. If you’re not a regular or indeed have never used Instragram I would suggest being specific with Instagram’s search box for example using terms like expressive art, large abstract painting or figurative art. You could approach it geographically and search artists near me or abstract artists london. The world is literally your oyster on Instagram as you can view, learn and listen to a fantastic array of artists and makers.

Open studio events are a really great way to learn about art because you can meet the makers in person and see their working environment. It’s also a great way to consider how to choose art for your home because there’s lots of variety. Open studios are fun and relaxed events where the conversation is easy and artists are very open to sharing their knowledge and talking about their art. For example I’ve had really interesting conversations around some of my painting techniques because sharing my painting processes such as masking tape painting or painting ideas I use with someone who is not aware always raises more questions and helps me to think about what I’m doing in a different light. My studio is at Delta House studios in south west London. Our building hosts an open studio event every year in October, learn more here and fingers crossed it can go ahead this year!

With the online art market growing there’s a big emphasis on virtual interviews and art blogs. Again this is a great way to connect with artists and learn more about modern art artists and contemporary art practises. Some contemporary art blogs I would recommend are Artplugged, Cass Art & Diary of Londoness. In line with art blogs there’s some cracking art podcasts available like The Savvy Painter, Art Juice & Art Matters.

Oscillate, 2021, oil paint & oil bar on canvas, 80x80cm £1500

If you are thinking about buying art in the coming months/ years I hope this helps. Like many areas of the arts, there is no right or wrong route to building an art collection. I think the best thing to do is reach out, start a conversation and see where it takes you and of course always buy what you really love because you will have it in your life for a long time!

Thanks for reading, Aisling x

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Aisling Drennan is an award-winning abstract artist with a London, UK-based art studio.

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