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The Beginner’s Guide to Buying Art: 9 Expert Art Collecting Tips

You don't have to have an art degree or a pile of money to collect fine art. Follow these 9 tips from our resident art expert, and you'll be well on your way to having a home full of eye-catching artwork!

1. Surround yourself with what you love. Art is subjective and very personal. If you're really moved by a work of art, you'll never regret buying it. Even if your tastes change over the years, you will value every bit of time spent admiring the pieces you’ve loved. 

2. Buy local. Invest in your community. By supporting local artists, students and craftspeople, you're supporting your local economy. Plus, those standout pieces by lesser-known or emerging artists just might fetch a pretty penny someday. 

3. Shop secondhand. You don’t have to be a millionaire to start an impressive art collection. Keep an eye out while you're estate sale shopping, and you're likely to come across everything from 18th-century sculptures to contemporary paintings. At Blue Moon, we’ve been known to sell loads of original artwork, including pieces by big-name artists. You never know when you'll come across a signed Salvador Dali etching or a colorful Alexander Calder lithograph. 

4. Trust your gut, and think fast. The best time to purchase a piece of art is when you see it, especially when you shop estate sales. Many pieces are one-of-a-kind so there's no replacement, and there's no better time than now. (Trust us. The one that got away will haunt you forever.)

5. Open your mind. Fine art is so much more than Classical oil paintings by old European guys in berets. There are so many mediums out there that have been mastered by artists all over the world. Keep an eye out for handcrafted pottery, Folk Art, drawings, carvings, sculptures, mixed media works, glassware, prints, beadwork, photographs, mosaics, textiles, design objects, illustrations and even conceptual pieces.

6. Look for fine art prints. Not every print is a cheap, mechanical reproduction of a grander work. In fact, many prints are made with the sole purpose of being prints. Printmaking is an art in and of itself, and a lot of technique, skill and creativity goes into it. When perusing prints, look for limited edition and/or hand-signed works, as they’re more exclusive.   

7. See beyond the packaging. Great art isn't always displayed in the best way. Sometimes, it's difficult to see beyond an ugly, out-dated or busted frame. If you're drawn to a piece, take a moment to imagine it outside of its current environment. With a keen eye, you’ll be able to nab those diamonds in the rough. 

8. Take care of the art you collect. Improper lighting, matting, framing, storage and even air quality can lead to deterioration and damage over time. Do a little research, and take your pieces to a trusted professional for appropriate display advice. If you protect your investments, they'll bring joy for years to come. 

9. Don’t stress. Have fun! Art is for everyone.