How to Get Your Hands on Quality and Affordable Art

Many young professionals (YPs) still approach art with as much caution as dating a friend’s sibling and may feel like it is out of their reach financially and even intellectually as art newbies struggle with how to even begin to discuss art in the first place. Historically, original art has been associated with an expensive price tag and an accompanying air of pretention. Times are changing, though, and quality art is now more accessible than ever. When you take such time in decorating the rest of your place, complete with upgrades, it seems out of place to dress your walls with fake paintings sold at IKEA or the same mass-produced posters that everyone has had at some point or another. Luckily, there are many ways that you can get your hands on art that means neither expensive original works nor boring department store reproductions. Being notable means a sense of culture, and that obviously includes art; here is how you can Live Your Notable Life (#LYNL) when it comes to art…

Attend Affordable Art Events
Art is demystified, democratized and made accessible through a variety of art fairs and festivals across the country. Even if you don’t end up purchasing any art, they offer a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon and a chance to chat with art enthusiasts and artists. Some of our favourite upcoming festivals are Toronto’s upcoming Artist Project (February 20-23), Vancouver’s Harmony Arts Festival (August 1-10, 2014), Montreal’s Festival International Montreal en Arts, (June 11-14, 2014) and Calgary’s Sled Island Arts and Music Festival (June 18-22). 

Another option (and fun night out), Art Battle live competitive painting is an increasingly popular event for young people across the country. Art Battle offers a chance to not only take in the creative process of talented local artists as they create their best works of art in 20 minutes, but also to obtain affordable art when the paintings are silent auctioned off at modest prices after each round. Since debuting in Toronto, it has since become a coast-to-coast affair, with Art Battle events now in Halifax, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver, along with smaller cities like Peterborough, Kingston and Hamilton. Last year’s Art Battle National Championships were produced in association with the Art Gallery of Ontario and took place on-site at the gallery. Check out Art Battle for yourself in Toronto next week and stay tuned for upcoming battles in your city. 

Rent It
If you can’t buy it, you can always rent it. Especially if your current home is temporary and you want to wait to purchase art until you really set up home (who knows how long that will take). Many galleries across the country offer a collection of art for rent. The AGO, for example, features a rotating collection of over 500 pieces of original work that can be rented at a monthly rate, and this includes around 100 artists who don’t currently belong to a private gallery. The price starts at $40 per month and goes up to about $350 per month, depending on the price of the artwork. Should you decide to purchase a work at the end of your rental contract, three months’ rental will be credited from your balance. Other galleries offer similar rental services, including The Vancouver Art Gallery and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Shop the Sites
You don’t always have to see it in person to fall in love with a piece. Buying affordable art can be easy as a few clicks from your couch. One of our favourite sites for affordable art is Eye Buy Art. Here, you can buy limited edition fine art photos from rising stars in the art world and browse art from a variety of affordable price brackets; $35, $60, $250, $500, $1000, $1500 and $2000. They release two new images every two weeks, direct to subscribers’ inboxes (but you don’t have to sign up to use the site) so they can get first crack at the editions before they go public. They also offer gift certificates, making for a good option as a housewarming or wedding gift.

Another affordable online gallery is New York-based ArtStar, which offers art lovers the chance to collect museum quality, limited edition fine art prints by some of the best contemporary artists working today. Each print is printed to order using fully archival inkjet pigments on 100 per cent cotton rag paper – the same quality that is found in museums. Easy to navigate, the site invites users to shop art by genre and colour (perfect for the art newbie). Far from mass-produced department store art, only a limited number of each image are printed – ever – to maintain the integrity of the edition.

Subscribe and be Surprised
Canadian company Papirmass offers an affordable monthly art subscription right to your door, which includes a print with art on the front and writing on the back. To keep things exciting, the format and style vary from month-to-month, meaning that over the course of a year you might receive graffiti-inspired portraits, landscapes, illustrations, collages as far as the art goes, along with short stories, essays, graphic novel excerpts and poems. Subscriptions to Papirmass are one year long and include 12 art prints. A subscription makes a unique gift for a friend who has everything.

There’s an App for That
The My City Muse app brings the art world into the digital age and is a new must-have for any YP wanting to get more involved in their local arts scene. Created by Toronto-based Sean Green, the app allows even art enthusiasts and the art curious a chance to preview the artwork online that is currently being displayed around the city in an attempt to make art in cities more accessible and less mystifying. You can download the free app from iTunes and find information on the works displayed in your city (or city you are visiting) and get information about gallery. The app, then, makes art less intimidating, since you don’t actually have to set foot inside a gallery; local galleries are opened to a mobile platform that allows users to see things like pictures of the most recent exhibits.

There you have it, no excuse not to discover your inner art enthusiast with ways that won’t break the bank. So go ahead and explore – your walls (and wallet) will thank you.

Live Your Notable Life | #LYNL


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