Five myths about buying original art: Why starting your collection is easier than you think

Recently, I took to Instagram stories to discover some of the reasons people don’t buy art that they like (beyond not being able to afford it). As suspected, I uncovered some super interesting misconceptions and hang-ups people have. I’m here to disprove these myths because everyone should have things that make them happy and that bring beauty to their walls.

You need to be a gazillionaire.

Short story: If you have disposable income, you can afford art.

Okay, okay, so art can be quite expensive (of course), but it isn’t always. Depending on the size, and especially if you are buying from an artist early in his or her career, it’s pretty easy to find original art for under $100 and especially for under $500. Look at my collection of small pieces. These ranged from about $50 to $250 each.

Bottom left:  Molly Whalen ,  Erin Spencer , me. Top right:  Erika Lee Sears ,  Polly Jones ,  Sari Shryack , Cuban street artist,  Donna Walker .

Bottom left: Molly Whalen, Erin Spencer, me. Top right: Erika Lee Sears, Polly Jones, Sari Shryack, Cuban street artist, Donna Walker.

I’m not saying $100 isn’t a chunk of change, but there are a lot of things people spend $100, $500 or even $1,000 on without thinking twice. A new phone when your old one still worked just fine. A little shopping spree at the beginning of the season. Dinner and a movie (and movie snacks). A gym membership you’re not using. Going out for lunch every day. A designer purse. New cars every few years. A weekend getaway.

I learned that a lot of people have disposable income, they are just buying other things instead of art. So, can you actually not afford original art, or do you just think you’re not the type of person that can buy it? Are you prioritizing other things and have you evaluated whether your spending aligns with your values?

Certainly, if you are struggling to make ends meet, I am not advocating for buying art over groceries, etc.

You need to have a huge house.

Many people think they don’t have room for art (I understand that some truly don’t), but you don’t need to have a giant house to start your art collection. And even if you want to go big, you might be surprised to realize that you have a couple options for hanging large pieces in your home. The painting below is HUGE – 5’ tall by 4’ wide. See how it fits just fine between my two normal-sized windows in front of my normal-sized table and chairs?

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This painting over the fireplace is five feet wide! Even in our home full of windows, there are several other places we could hang these big pieces.

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You and your significant other need to agree on it.

I’m lucky in that my husband is very creative and is interested in art and design. We have an eclectic collection of art and furniture that we have found and made over the years. So yes, when looking for things for our main living spaces, we look for things we both like. But surely you have at least a little space over which you have sole jurisdiction.

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This map over my dresser is so big that it fits in the “we both need to like it” category, but the little pieces on my dresser? That’s my territory. You might have a desk at home or work. Or perhaps you or your partner have a man cave or a she shed or a large walk-in closet or dressing table where you could display small work.

You need to have interior design know-how.

I don’t know the first thing about interior design. I just know what I like. My husband and I have a range of art in our home. When buying art, you don’t need to worry if a painting is going to look good next to the one other painting you have, because you probably aren’t going to hang them right next to each other! With the exception of my collection of small paintings, our art would not look great hung side by side. But mixed in with our furniture and other décor pieces (blankets and pillows on couches, lamps, coffee table books, vases, flowers, decorative dishes, etc.) it all looks very “us” and tells our story.

This is a limited edition screen print. We love this rapper and went to this concert on our anniversary. We framed it in a cheapo frame from Wal-Mart or something.

This is a limited edition screen print. We love this rapper and went to this concert on our anniversary. We framed it in a cheapo frame from Wal-Mart or something.

I love this colorful  Erin Gregory  giclee print from One Kings Lane, but hope to “upgrade” soon and put a piece of original art here.

I love this colorful Erin Gregory giclee print from One Kings Lane, but hope to “upgrade” soon and put a piece of original art here.

We commissioned this buffalo by  Kasie Sallee  to commemorate our time in Oklahoma.

We commissioned this buffalo by Kasie Sallee to commemorate our time in Oklahoma.

You have to frame it.

Sure most paintings look great in frames, but there is no rule saying you must frame paintings. Many artists will sell their paintings ready to hang on a wall without a frame. Custom framing is rather spendy; if you’re dead set on a frame but can’t handle the additional expense, buy the painting now and frame it sometime later when you have the funds.

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So, that’s it! Buying original art isn’t as big of a deal as you might think. What did I miss — what are some other reasons you haven’t purchased art that you like? Does this make the whole thing seem any more approachable? I’d love to hear from you.