Art is for everyone and can improve our moods in ways we cannot put a price on. The good news is, you can buy amazing art on any budget.
For some, picking up a poster at Ikea or spending fifty bucks on a framed photo at Crate and Barrel satisfies their desire for art at work or at home. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But what if you fancy the idea of collecting contemporary art but simply do not have the financial wherewithal to flash the paddle at Sotheby’s?
Art Can Be Affordable
There are a number of resources for art lovers and aspiring collectors not blessed with limitless bank accounts. Several Internet-based galleries are committed to connecting new collectors with the work of emerging artists at varying (and affordable) price points.
For the most cost conscious there is 20x200. In 2003, founder Jen Bekman started a gallery located in a sliver of space on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Bekman believes “more people should collect art, not just to enrich their lives, but also because patronage matters,” and in 2007 she branched out with the idea of providing “art for everyone” by offering limited edition prints by emerging artists for as little as twenty dollars via the Internet.
Each week 20x200 introduces two new pieces, one photograph and one work on paper. Each piece is available at several price points. For about the price of a movie for two, $20, you can buy an 8x10 print from an edition of 200. Larger prints from smaller editions are also available. A 17x22 print from an edition of 20 is $200, and the largest sized 30x40 editions of two can be snagged for $2,000 each.
Gallery: Humble Arts Foundation
Starting at a slightly higher price point is the not-for-profit Humble Arts Foundation. Founders Jon Feinstein and amani olu (he asked that his name be printed all lower case) launched their site in 2005 and work with fine art photographers by staging exhibitions and by selling limited-edition prints.
The pieces are made and sold in editions of five and the average price ranges from $375 for an 11x14 print to $500 for a slightly larger 16x20 print. The work presented by Humble Arts Foundation includes portraiture and landscapes as well as abstract and surreal images. Humble Arts Foundation artist Bob O’Connor (see image, above) is drawn to photographing what he calls “banal, ordinary spaces” such as the hallways and storage areas of museums.
Gallery: Mixed Greens
If you are willing to budget a bit more, consider Mixed Greens, the pioneer of selling contemporary artwork online. “Everyone should have access to good art," says Paige West, who founded the site ten years ago.
Originally exhibiting the works of up and coming artists, Mixed Greens has seen a number of their artists achieve considerable success. As a result, the average price of work can be a little intimidating to a new collector. For example, Mixed Greens’ artist Lee Stoetzel’s sculpture “Worn Guccis,” a pair of realistically hand-carved Gucci loafers meticulously rendered in mahogany, cyprus and walnut is priced at $8,500. However, according to Heather Darcy Bhandari of Mixed Greens, “It’s important to us that we balance that work with artwork of a lower price point, under $500, to support the growth of emerging artists and collectors.”
In addition to their online presence, Mixed Greens also has a gallery space in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, where they curate group and solo shows that present photography, drawing, painting and sculpture.
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