Move over, rich heiresses and tech billionaires—there’s a new art collector in town. No, it’s not your neighbor who drives the Bentley or your ex who married that Wall Street guru. It’s you! Don’t look so surprised. You have great taste and an eye for aesthetics. So why shouldn’t you adorn your walls with visuals you love?
Thanks to the Internet and local movements to promote artists of all kinds, art is accessible and affordable to almost anyone. In fact, for the amount you spend on a month’s worth of cappuccinos, could buy you an original piece of art to start your own gallery—right in the middle of your living room.
From Online to On Your Wall
image via 20×200
Artists no longer have to wait in obscurity surrounded by unsold masterpieces. Instead, they can reach out to millions of potential buyers via online stores, apps and auctions. Here are a few of our favorites:
Buy Cheap Art
This online marketplace pools the finest local classifieds dedicated to artwork priced under $1,000. You can find art in a three-block radius from where you live or buy from artists across the globe. It’s like having access to thousands of local community artists all in one place. Buycheapart.com
With the motto “It’s Art for Everyone®”, 20×200 was one of the first sites to sell affordable works by emerging artists. Look for two original pieces of artwork—a photograph and a work on paper—offered twice a week for as low as $20.
Featuring hundreds of thousands of artists from around the world, Society6 offers a platform for artists to sell their works while retaining control of the rights to their art. On the site, you’ll find everything from gallery-quality art prints and home décor to iPhone cases, t-shirts and other products.
Every Tuesday, Tiny Showcase offers a new limited edition, high-quality print from an up-and-coming artist for around $30, with a percentage of each sale going to a charity chosen by the artist.
This cool app—downloadable for free from the Apple App Store—lets you connect with local artists, hear their story recorded in their own words, and project an image of their original artwork to scale on your own wall using your iPhone. finestraartapp.com
By now, just about everyone is familiar with Etsy. And although the amount of products can be overwhelming, it still offers a great online storefront for artists and their creations.
Get Out and About in Your Community
Photo Credit: Adriano Castelli
We know the glow of the computer can be enticing—not to mention the convenience of shopping online. But if you want to really get to know your local artist community and see real art up close, nothing compares to an in-person visit.
Summer is the season for festivals, including art festivals and craft shows where local artists sell their wares. Find a festival near you on festivalnet.com or on Etsy’s page for local events.
Check out event listings online, in your local paper or on the bulletin board of your local coffee shop for art openings in your neighborhood. Colleges, universities and art schools are also great venues.
Estate sales can be hit or miss, but sometimes you can find a treasure. Find an estate sale near you online or in your local paper. Just beware that there are usually no guarantees with estate sales; something you think is an original may be a cheap reproduction.
Local classifieds like Craigslist, Backpage and local newspapers often have an arts and collectibles section where you can pick up original works at a nearby location for a bargain.
Many local retailers support artists by selling their products or offering pop-up shops for a limited time. Look at local listings or check out Etsy’s page for local events to find a retailer near you.
Why Supporting Art is a Beautiful Thing
image via Art & Lair
When you buy original art, you’re allowing artists to make a living doing what they love, which also has economic benefits for the entire community. But it’s not altogether altruistic. You too get major benefits—a more beautiful home, a piece of history and an heirloom you can hand down for generations to come.