Collect Contemporary Art on a Budget
Our home is our fortress, a castle where we recuperate after a crazy day. We’d love to deck our walls with the fine art befitting such a place, but original Monet and Degas paintings aren’t precisely in our budget.
We’re fans of making our own wall décor (like turning regular photos into paintings on canvas), but we also like to support local artists and find the latest trends to sweep the art world.
So, we’ve compiled our favorite online resources for finding affordable yet collectible artwork, ranging from $20 artsy photographs to $200 paintings by rising stars of the contemporary art world. Technology makes the whole process a cinch, letting you browse, order and pay online. So, next time you go gallery hopping, you can spend your real energy on the champagne.
We’ve ordered them according to how useful we think they are, but they all bring something to the table. Read on for how they differ:
The Scoop: We love the 20 x 200 project for more reasons than just its slogan: “Great art, $20. Really.” The site stands out for everything from still life photos to pithy word art, all of which is easy to browse through color and thematic categories. Whether we want something green to match our living room or pictures of baby monkeys, there are lots of great choices. Good thing that one of the many search categories is “animals.”
The Price Point: Almost every 8” x 10” is available for $20 (prices increase as the prints get larger; 30” x 40” is usually $2,000).
Highest Quality: Artspace
The Scoop: Sure, we’d like to discover the next Andy Warhol at a flea market, but sometimes it’s nice to have someone curate the best of the best for us. Artspace lets us buy art from contemporary artists and rising stars online, curated in one place by a staff with a keen artistic eye. All of the works we saw include certificates of authenticity, and some are even limited editions exclusive to Artspace. The site is partnered with organizations like New York’s Guggenheim and the Brooklyn Museum.
The Price Point: Pieces range from about $100 to $1,000 (though you may occasionally find prints for as low as $50).
Special Deal For LV Readers: Get $25 off your first purchase at Artspace with an exclusive code just for LearnVest readers: LV3629 (case sensitive).
Biggest Selection: Etsy
The Scoop: Although Etsy is best known as an arts and crafts site where you can buy everything from sterling silver paperweights to Superwoman-themed stationery, it’s also a huge marketplace for original art, including painting, photography, and even sculpture. The site sometimes makes it difficult to find what you’re looking for, but once you’ve hit the sweet spot, it’s pretty sweet.
The Price Point: Prices vary widely, from small note card-sized prints that cost a few cents to sculptures that cost thousands of dollars, but some of our favorite paintings and photos are about $40 and under. (Though we do have a thing for a sculpture that’s almost $200.)
Most All-Inclusive: RedBubble
The Scoop: RedBubble stands out for photography, though its collections include paintings and drawings, too. We like the ability to buy artwork that’s already framed for us and ready to hang up on the wall.
The Price Point: The prices include the frame—you can choose two different styles, three different backgrounds, and five different wood hues. Most prices for framed art are just under $100, but you can also buy items as prints for under $30.
Best Color Matching: Imagekind
The Scoop: Some of the art on Imagekind is good, and some is really bad. You’ll have to find the diamond in the rough on this site, but its added value is that you can search by very specific colors—not just “blue,” but that exact ultra bold blue that matches your throw pillows. Art is user-submitted, so if you find something you like, there’s a good chance you’re discovering someone for the very first time.
The Price Point: Most of the popular prints are under $20 (and we’ve seen some as low as $11).
Need Some Inspiration?
Click on the pictures below for some of our favorite contemporary art finds:View Slide Show