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artist GA Gardner mixed media abstract collage

What is the best art to buy?

In various times in history different styles of art have become more popular than others.  From representational to surreal, abstract to realism, they have all had their turn at being popular.  The simple answer is to buy what you love and what makes you think or engages you the most.  However, that is just a simple generic answer. Diving a little deeper into the answer, ask yourself who are you?  Are you the kind to want original art or printed artwork?  What is your budget?  What are your space limitations?  

Original fine art "Zora Textstraction" artist GA Gardner

First let’s take the issue of style.  Get to know them all but don't think too much about that as you are either attracted to something or not. Knowing the name of the style you like will serve you later in researching more art in that style. By far the most important question you will have to answer is budget.  Can you afford what you like?  Original fine art can be seen as an investment.  In fact most collectors see themselves as caretakers of the original art rather than owners.  It can be an expensive endeavor to take care of original art, as you must try to keep it secure, safe and housed properly to protect your investment. Most people overlook this expense but this is one that you must consider. Proper housing and storage of original art is one of the biggest issues for beginning collectors. It's like buying a car and not considering the price of the insurance policy.  After the purchase of your brilliant work of art you must leave reserves for maintenance.

fine art prints by GA Gardner at  Gartsy

Inspirational archival prints in bedroom (

An alternative to collecting original art is buying archival prints. Prints such as archival art prints can answer the size limitation issue as well as the budget issue. These art long lasting prints, and can can be purchased as framed prints or unframed prints, as stretched canvas print or as fine art posters. Prints can be made in various sizes to fit that special space. Generally, the smaller the size the less expensive the print.  Prints can be limited editions or open editions prints.  An open edition print means that there is no limit to the print run.  The print can be run at any number, as a result they are generally more affordable than limited prints where the artist limits the numbers of the edition.  These prints are generally signed by the artist with a series number and name of the artwork.  This work is generally more expensive than the open edition print but cheaper than the original.  Prints can be collected and based on the numbers of prints can increase in value over time. 

Original art collecting can be a serious undertaking. It may start with your attraction to the artwork and end with research on the artist, exhibitions and demand for the art.  All help to determine the price of the art. When buying original art try to get to know the artist and understand the style of the art.  You are now making an investment into the artist and their development. The more comfortable you are with the artist the less likely you are to have any buyer’s remorse.  Research can be done online or by contacting the gallery associated with the artist.  If you are not concerned with the resale of the artwork in the future then little more needs to be done beyond the initial attraction. However, it is always a good idea to do your best to make an informed decision. 

 Once you have made a decision between original and print then you need to make a choice on style.  Styles of art can include contemporary, pop, abstract mixed media collage expressionism, realism, impressionism, surrealism, graffiti, modern, cubism and many more.  All have the potential to make a return on your investment.  These styles are always growing and merging.  A surreal artist for example may have elements of expressionism in their artwork. If you like how it looks, the price meets your budget and it fits through your front door, works perfectly in your space and keeps you engaged or engages others visiting your space, then it may be the best art to buy today.  Do not worry too much about the potential for return on your investment as the art world is made up of many variables that can affect the prices in the future. 

abstract art by GA gardner

Original abstract mixed media collage (artist GA Gardner)

 “Great art is like a stop light, when you see it you will stop,” I was once told by artist Sam Gilliam.  I agree.  If you see a great piece of art you will stop to take a closer look.  If it makes you stop then most likely it will do the same for others viewing it in your space.  This makes it a great conversation piece and can then be considered a great buy.  Both prints, limited prints and originals can create the same impact in a space.  This may also answer the question as to whether to invest in an original  or a limited print. Buy what you can afford and what you like and it will be certain to engage you for years to come.  Challenge yourself to go beyond that initial attraction to really looking closer at the work itself. Some artworks do not reveal themselves early on, this can be interesting as it possesses a great challenge to the viewer.  Getting a piece like this can help you to engage more with the artwork overtime.  With abstract mixed media collage created by GA Gardner, for example, viewers may tend to interpret the same piece differently and often a viewer can see different things each time they view the piece.  This is wonderful as it may encourage you to engage with your art more over time.  Perhaps it may even force you to see it and your world differently.

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