‘Buy what you love. The investment is the pleasure it will give you’
from a young age: her mother and sister are both artists, while her father collects modern British art. She studied history of art at Bristol, before working at the White Cube gallery, Christie’s and an online auction house start-up founded by an ex-director at Sotheby’s. After that she branched out to be an art consultant for wealthy clients.
“It was a cut-throat world; we were all chasing the same collectors and it wasn’t particularly fulfilling. I wanted to sell art to people like me, who wanted it in their homes rather than as investment pieces stored in a vault.”
At the same time her friends, who were just buying their first flats, were asking her where they could buy art for their new, bare walls. “They had rela- feed @partnershipeditions – Spray hosts pop-ups in galleries, co-working spaces, and with fashion brands.
Her own home functions as a gallery of the pieces she most loves: a vibrant contemporary interpretation of a Khoisan cave painting hangs above her fireplace by South African artist Lady Skolly (£380 on the site); behind the sofa she has hung pieces by India Dewar (£200), the Instagrammer’s favourite Jonathan Schofield (£550), and Julianna Byrne (£380); while the snug and her bedroom hold even more.
The works constantly rotate. “I recently put up a piece by Jonathan Schofield in my lounge, which had large sections of red; then I realised that the red little stepladder I keep near the sofa worked really well with it. They spoke to each other.”
There are more ways than ever to find wellpriced original pieces for your walls: the Affordable Art Fair, which takes place across the world, is pitching up at Battersea on Oct 18. If you arrive early ( and look hard) Frieze London also has some pieces from emerging artists that could fit the bill. A tour around some of the UK’s best art schools, from Slade and Goldsmith to the Glasgow School of Art during degree shows, is an excellent way to pick up a bargain from an as-yet-unknown artist.
Another way to find more affordable pieces is to buy etchings or screen prints, adds Spray, who is passionate about only selling original pieces of work rather than digital reproductions. Her customers generally pay about £200 to £350.
“I find many of them will quickly make a second, more expensive, purchase once they receive the piece and can appreciate the time and skill that has gone into making it,” she says. She will also be introducing the option for people to pay in instalments soon.
Arts Council England runs a littleknown scheme that provides interestfree loans of between £100 and £2,500 for the purchase of works of art by living artists. The programme, Own Art, means the loans can be paid back over 10 months, and the art can be bought through a network of galleries.
Spray says it’s important to go with your own instincts and tastes when deciding what to buy, and ignore what might be currently in fashion.
“This could be one or a combination of elements, from great composition, use of colour, and concept or their talent for capturing a moment or an essence of something, often only in a few marks. Personally, I like to collect art that is aesthetically satisfying and at the same time challenges me or has a deeper narrative beneath the surface.”
For Spray, buying art should not be approached as a get-rich-quick scheme. “There’s no real way to tell if an artist is going to be a good investment,” she says.
“You should just buy what you love. The investment is the pleasure that it will give you over your life.”
Georgia Spray at her home in Hackney, east London, where her walls are covered with art, main and below; bottom, her Jonathan Schofield next to the red stepladder