Many interior designers will tell you to stay away from reprints and reproductions of famous paintings if you want to spruce up your home with art. However, that feedback often comes with the assumption that homeowners can afford original art in the first place. With news of famous original paintings selling at auctions for millions of dollars, homeowners may feel like they can't afford original art. However, buying original art can be quite affordable if you know where to look. Below, we'll discuss places you can check out where you can not only support local emerging artists without breaking the bank, but also find original antique and vintage artworks for much lower prices than you'd expect.
Etsy For Vintage/Antique Art & Independent Artisans
Etsy is a great place if you want to find unique crafts and handmade items, but it's also a place where many art galleries and independent artists sell art. At first glance, it may seem like it will be impossible to find quality artwork due to the sheer volume of items being sold. For instance, a search for "vintage art" yields over 3.2 million search results, with many search options being either downloadable art (art prints that you can download and print out) or reproductions.
However, it is possible to find high quality original artworks. First, you can filter your search results to show "art and collectibles" and then choose the type of art you're looking for (painting, mixed media, photography, etc.). Then you can look at the shop names to help guide you for the type of art you're looking for. For instance, vintage or antique shops may sell original vintage and antique paintings. If you're looking for contemporary artists, Etsy has a designated portion for independent artists. There, you will find original artworks with costs ranging anywhere from S$10-S$50 if done by an amateur artists to several hundred dollars for art created by more established artists.
Artsy for New Contemporary Artists
If you have a larger budget, you can check out Artsy for one of the largest selections of contemporary, modern and antique art. While you can find options that range in the hundreds of dollars, you may have to spend at least a thousand dollars for most pieces of art. However, the upside is that Artsy only deals with established art galleries, so the chance of you getting a low quality or fake work of art is very slim. There's also an option that lets you buy artwork directly without having to bid or inquire with a gallery, which makes purchasing art convenient
If you're on a very tight budget, you can choose to get a limited or open edition print. For instance, Salvador Dali has created many art prints throughout his career that currently sell for as low as a few hundred dollars. Despite these prints not being unique works, they're still a better option than a reproduction from a print shop (and cost less than his paintings while still having his name attached). However, you should be sure to that the print comes with at least a certificate of authenticity if the signature of the artist is missing.
Local Art Fairs to Support Local Business and Asian Artists
Are you looking for art that's closer to home? In that case, you can check out Singapore's many art fairs for good deals on emerging artists. One option in particular is The Artling, a leading resource for Asian Contemporary Art & Design. It is an online gallery similar to Artsy that will let you buy photography, drawings and paintings from artists around the world. It has something for everyone, with almost 3,000 works of art available for under S$500.
Cost Distribution of Art on The Artling
Alternatively, you can go in-person to fairs like the Affordable Art Fair. The Affordable Art Fair hosts exhibitions in different cities around the world, with the next one in Singapore happening November 12th-14th. However, they also sell plenty of original art online from emerging artists around the globe. With over 1,240 pages of art work available for sale, you can find anything that suits your interest if you can't make it to the in-person art fair. Best of all, original art starts as low as S$38, which is one of the most affordable starting price points we've seen in our search for affordable art.
Other Ways to Save on Artwork
Beyond finding alternative means to buy art, there are a few other tips you can do to reduce how much you'll end up spending. For instance, if you found a work of art you love but it's just slightly above your budget, you can negotiate with the gallery or seller for a lower price. In some cases, they may be able to accept a lower offer (5-15% of the purchase price). However, we wouldn't recommend doing this if you are buying from the artist directly, as that can be seen as disrespectful.
Another option is to see if your credit card's rewards or points system covers purchases from galleries or will give you cashback on online purchases or international sales. While you won't receive a direct discount, you'll at least be able to get some cash back or earn points that you can spend towards other purchases. Lastly, you should also keep your artwork well protected by increasing your home insurance contents coverage to cover the additional value it brings to your home. That said, you should be aware that there are limits to artworks, so be sure to check the policy limits for art and valuables in your policy and contact your insurer if your art will cost more than the limit. In the end, whatever you decide to do, you should be cognizant of the fact that a high quality work of art is going to be an investment and it pays to spend a little extra if you truly love the piece.