Tak­ing the in­tim­i­da­tion fac­tor out of build­ing your gallery wall.

How to buy art like a grown-up.

ELLE (Canada) - - Content -

FOL­LOW YOUR IN­STINCTS. Turns out you were onto some­thing when you hung that The Starry Night poster in your dorm room first year. Repli­cas of fa­mous works are a great start­ing point—they’re fa­mil­iar and pleas­ing to the eye. (Duh, that’s why they’re clas­sics.) And even though some art snobs might shud­der, there’s noth­ing wrong with buy­ing a poster of your favourite work, fram­ing it and hang­ing it in your apart­ment. “If it pleases you, you should have it,” says Deb­o­rah Carver, di­rec­tor of Stu­dio 21 Fine Art gallery in Hal­i­fax. “You know what it is, and you know that it’s a re­pro­duc­tion. But re­ally think about mov­ing to­ward the idea of buy­ing art that is made from the hand of the artist—that they touched and ac­tu­ally made.”

GET THEE TO AN EX­HI­BI­TION. “To know what movies you like, you go to the movies. To know what lit­er­a­ture you’re in­ter­ested in, you have to read a lot,” says Gaë­tane Verna, di­rec­tor of the Power Plant gallery in Toronto. “It’s the same with art—you need to get out there.” Be­yond the ros­ter of mu­se­ums you vis­ited on grade-school field trips (which are a great way to de­ter­mine whether your tastes lean to­ward ab­stract or land­scape or il­lus­tra­tion or pho­tog­ra­phy—not so much to de­ter­mine what you can af­ford), there are tons of op­tions, from stu­dio tours to art fairs to ro­tat­ing ex­hib­itions. Com­mer­cial gal­leries of­fer plenty of in­spi­ra­tion be­cause all the art has been vet­ted, so you don’t need to de­cide whether or not it’s good, only if you like it. And if you can’t af­ford a Basquiat, you can al­ways try to dis­cover the next Basquiat at art-school stu­dent ex­hi­bi­tions, which usu­ally take place at the end of a se­mes­ter or school year. Short­cut: The e-com­merce site Tap­pan scouts up-and-com­ing artists and sells their works on­line. Think of it as Net-a-Porter for your walls.

PAY­MENT PLAN IF AN ARTIST IS REP­RE­SENTED BY A GALLERY, PUR­CHASE THE PIECE THROUGH IT. OUR EX­PERTS WERE SPLIT ON WHETHER OR NOT YOU SHOULD TRY TO NE­GO­TI­ATE THE PRICE. OUR CON­CLU­SION: YEA IF YOU ARE A STEADY CLIENT OR BUY­ING MORE THAN ONE PIECE; NAY IF YOU’RE JUST HOP­ING FOR A DEAL. ALSO, IF YOU LIKE A WORK THAT’S BE­YOND YOUR BUD­GET, MOST GAL­LERIES AND ARTISTS WILL AC­CEPT IN­STAL­MENT PAY­MENTS. IF ONLY GUCCI DID THE SAME.

ASK QUES­TIONS LIKE YOU’RE SPEED- DAT­ING. “Too of­ten peo­ple think that they’re go­ing to un­der­stand a work just by see­ing it, and that’s the big­gest bar­rier,” says Verna, who stresses that you should ask gal­lerists about ev­ery­thing from the artist’s bio to their paint­ing tech­niques to the cul­tural con­text of the piece. And try not to get sucked in by the hype of a buzzy artist—if your vibe is cu­lottes and Su­per­gas, you wouldn’t buy the Saint Lau­rent yeti boots from spring 2018, even if they do look fab on Ri­hanna. “When you look at art, there are things that talk to you… there [has to be] some­thing about that art­work that clicks with you,” says Carver. “It doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily have to be some­thing that makes you feel good. I re­ally like art that is a bit un­set­tling.” MIX AND MATCH. If your home is full of con­tem­po­rary art and you throw in a Monet (goals), or you love illustrations but just bought a quirky pho­to­graph, or even if the vibe of your pad is Marie Kondo min­i­mal­ist but you’re ob­sessed with baroque art, it all works. Re­mem­ber: “All th­ese things can live side by side, and the rea­son they can is you chose them, so it’s all be­ing fil­tered through your brain and your aes­thetic,” says Carver. How you frame and hang your col­lec­tion is also up to you. A gallery rule of thumb is to hang works slightly be­low eye level—it feels su­per-low but en­sures that you can take in ev­ery de­tail of the paint­ing. And if you’re plac­ing sev­eral works of art in a row, line them up in the mid­dle. n

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