Original Art on the Cheap

A lot of clients ask me to help them select art for their spaces- from prints to original investment pieces. This is one of my FAVORITE parts of designing. I’ve studied art all my life and for my senior show in college could not decide between mediums, so I did a show of painting, collage, mixed media AND photography. Actually, that show is a great metaphor for my life and inability to choose things for myself! :) After college I worked at a well known Boston art gallery and loved pairing people with beloved works of art. In fact, I still hope that someday I’ll own my own gallery (perhaps an area within my home store?)
Anyways, not everyone can afford to walk to into a gallery and plunk down a couple G’s for original art, but you also don’t want to still showcase framed posters on your walls either, right? Good thing there are so many avenues available to you to find emerging artists at a great price point!
The first is Etsy, hands down an amazing place to find just about ANYTHING these days. I found this fantastic abstract painter Aisyah Ang on there and think her portfolio is really interesting and her work really accessibly priced.



Another great source is UGallery, which is a site where art students from schools all over the country can sell their work. You can search by medium, subject, size and price to find something specifically for your space (and perhaps the work of the next Jackson Pollock?) I am particularly enamored with the photography of Mark Elverson of the Massachusetts College of Art (a hometown shout out)- his smoke series is seriously AWESOME.



Go straight to an art school famous for pumping out creative geniuses and shop at Savannah College of Art and Design’s site– here are some various works I like (but also check out they jewelers and home goods designer too!)


Ebay is always another option- but it takes more patience to wade through the crap to get to the good stuff. If anyone has other sources for original art they would like to share please leave a comment!


19 comments

  1. These are fabulous tips! Being married to an artist (with a different day job), I’ve always felt that it is important to pay a fair price for artworks. Unfortunately, that price is often not in my budget. I love your suggestions and hope to get some of their work up on my walls soon.

  2. WallBlank.com has a print a day and they’re all generally under $50 — and some of them are really lovely.

    I did a very similar post on buying art not too long ago — Etsy and UGallery are definitely two great online sources. Some of my favorites off UGallery are Sarah Diaz and Andrew Stein (both supertalented photographers).

  3. For Bostonians, Copley Society of art (the oldest non-profit artists’ association in America) offers a wide range of styles, media, and prices. They have several annual deal-friendly events: a student show in February, Fresh Paint in May (Boston-centric en plein air paintings that are auctioned), and Small Works in December (where the gallery is filled with hundreds of smallish works). Even if you’ve missed an exhibit, you can browse past exhibits online and see if any artist’s work catches your eye, then contact the gallery to be put in touch. http://www.copleysociety.org

  4. For Bostonians, Copley Society of art (the oldest non-profit artists’ association in America) offers a wide range of styles, media, and prices. They have several annual deal-friendly events: a student show in February, Fresh Paint in May (Boston-centric en plein air paintings that are auctioned), and Small Works in December (where the gallery is filled with hundreds of smallish works). Even if you’ve missed an exhibit, you can browse past exhibits online and see if any artist’s work catches your eye, then contact the gallery to be put in touch. http://www.copleysociety.org

  5. I love browsing galleries, but I also try to support local artists each year by going to local Open Artists’ Studios and Art Walks around Boston, Somerville, and Cambridge. You can always find interesting pieces that range from practically nothing up into the hundreds or thousands of dollars. I like meeting the person behind the piece that I’m buying and I feel good about supporting them directly. Last year I also picked up a neat piece at the MFA School’s holiday market of student-produced art.

    Along those lines I can’t wait for the South End Open Market to start up in May!

  6. I love what you have shown…I love all types of art but love the whimsey of contemporary!
    Blessings…

  7. Esty is great! Good to have names of artists whose work you know and like! (I’m liking the circles….)
    Thanks for sharing, -susan

  8. I love the smoke series, too! I always imagine them blown up to poster size to make a great focal point in a simple room.

  9. Emily- those smoke photos blown up really large in a bar/lounge space would be INSANE. Dying to use them somewhere!!!

  10. What great sources! What a wonderful way to support young artists. I just started reading your blog and love it – I think you might be very good substitute for my Domino Magazine addiction. Thanks!

  11. I love Etsy for art – I purchased some watercolors recently. Thanks for the intro to the other 2 sites :)

  12. Delightful! My niece goes to SCAD (Savannah art) and it is a wonderful place full of talented young artists!
    Thanks for sharing such beautiful pieces!

    Robin

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