Intent on making 2017 your Best Year Ever? We can help with that, thanks to our 2017 Coach of the Month series. For December, a democratizing force in the art world and founder of the online art gallery Tappan, Chelsea Neman Nassib, gives lessons in art buying for the beginner. This week, Nassib shares her tips for the first time art buyer.
How to Figure Out “Your Style”
Setting the intention to discover and educate yourself about artists and their work is a key starting point. Even with a busy schedule, I always make time to visit artist studios, attend openings and visit local exhibitions—this is the most inspiring and rewarding part of my job! To keep informed about exhibitions in LA, I subscribe to ForYourArt’s weekly newsletter. The app See Saw includes more major cities in the US and abroad, and categorizes current and upcoming shows by neighborhood. Visit museums and galleries in your own city and when you are traveling, explore innovative online platforms, and understand the context behind what you are looking at. Don’t be afraid to meet and engage with artists, and seek advice from art industry experts. It may seem daunting to approach a gallerist with questions, but rest assured they will enjoy engaging with you and sharing insight into their artists’ work.
Where to Find Art to Buy
In addition to buying art directly from galleries, art fairs like Frieze, Basel and Paris Photo are great opportunities to discover a lot of new artwork in a short period of time. If you are looking to build a substantial collection, creating a relationship with an art advisor to help you navigate the industry can be extremely helpful. Online platforms can also be great resources. At Tappan, we look to cover all of the above, so while our e-commerce platform allows our artists work to reach a wider audience, our exhibitions offer buyers the opportunity to physically engage with the work while our in house advisory team offers one on one guidance.
How to Determine an Art Budget
When setting an art budget for yourself, do set a number that you’d like to stay under. But know that if you really fall for a piece that you can’t live without, you may have to stretch your budget just that once. Seeking advice of knowledgeable friends in the industry can help you understand why something is priced the way it is, and make sure that you’re investing in the right work.
Start Building Your Gallery Wall
Large scale artworks can be expensive. Creating a unique and dynamic gallery wall is a great way to get started with a collection of smaller pieces. We recommended sticking to a consistent color palette for a strong aesthetic and playing with a mixture of mediums, such as works on paper, small paintings, photography and prints, to achieve something that evolves with you over time. (Check back next week for a step-by-step guide on building your gallery wall!)
Lean Towards Photography
If your space really does call for a large anchor piece, landscape photography is a great option, and tends to be more affordable than a work on canvas of the same size. Photographs of nature and distant horizon lines are not only meditative but also particularly powerful in helping small living spaces appear much larger.
Patience Is Key
Finding art that you love can take time, whether in person or online. Don’t rush to fill every empty wall at once. Start with one or two key pieces, live with them for a bit, and build one by one from there. Enjoy the process of discovery and allow your collection to develop naturally.
The Matte Is Your Friend
Framing a smaller-sized photograph in a matte border essentially acts as a window around an artwork and can give a smaller piece more impact. We’ve used this technique when framing Polaroids by Tappan artist Travis Schneider, to elevate something quite small into a mid sized piece. Online framing companies tend to offer better prices, but depending on the value of the piece, you may want to consult a local framer first about using archival materials and UV plexi glass to protect against long-term exposure to direct and indirect light.
Love, Not Like
Whatever your budget, your collection should be focused on pieces that truly speak to you. Get to know the artists behind the work by reading about their practice and even following them on social media. We believe that any investment in art, however small or large, should be fueled by love for the work first and foremost.