Buying art doesn’t have to be intimidating

HOM_BA contemporary Art_Claudia Ferrari_Rojo Amor, rojo pasion, rojo sangre, rojo muerte_02
“Rojo Amor, Rojo Pasion, Rojo Sangre, Rojo Muerte” by Claudia Ferrari is one of the many works available at the Affordable Art Fair.

Cristina Salmastrelli, director of the Affordable Art Fair, which opens this week, isn’t some stodgy art snob (just check out the hysterical “S— People Say At Art Fairs” video she co-stars in). To help novice collectors (such as yourself) finally make their first art world purchases, she offers the following tips.

Do some homework

Before you think about buying art, look through art websites or magazines to see what type of work you’re attracted to, says Salmastrelli. “Do you like oil paintings or photography? Do you like small pieces that you can bunch together? That’s something that’s really important to know, because art can be overwhelming,” she says. “If you figure out the genre you’re looking for, that narrows it down.” Salmastrelli recommends perusing sites such as Artnet.com, Artsy.net and Blouinartinfo.com.

Size matters

To help narrow down your search, “think about the size you want,” says Salmastrelli. “Are you looking for something to go over the couch in the living room or over the bed in the bedroom? Or are you looking for something that’s going to hang above a side table?”

“Stealth Kate” by Marc Quinn would look great in any room.
“Stealth Kate” by Marc Quinn many not work for every room, but can be a unique feature in the right one.

Know your budget

“This will help you stay focused when you [walk through a fair or gallery] and not get overwhelmed,” says Salmastrelli.

Fall in love

“The most important thing about buying a work of art is that you fall in love with it,” says Salmastrelli. “You don’t want to buy a piece because the name is hot or someone else has it. And when you see it in your home, it’s going to make you smile every time.”

Need some color? Try “Untitled” by Xavi Carbonell .
Need some color? Try “Untitled” by Xavi Carbonell.

Ask questions

Don’t be afraid to ask a dealer questions and learn more about a piece. Salmastrelli suggests starting with: “What kind of materials were used? Where is the artist from and where is he or she in their career?”

Expert tip:

“If you’re in a city that does have galleries, definitely walk around them. When you see art in person, it has an amazing effect on you and it’s very different then if you see it over in a magazine or a computer screen.”

Her picks

Pieces hanging in Salmastrelli’s home:

• “A Standard Moment” by Manolo Campion
• “Dream in Colour” by Richard Heeps
• “Cheese” by Willy Rojas “It is a photograph of a miniature figure skiing down a block of cheese. It’s in my kitchen and I just love it.”


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