Art Hound, a guide to living with art Art Hound

on the hunt for good art

You Spent What??? How To Think About Art Purchases

March 12th, 2010 · 3 Comments

Deciding how to spend your money is always emotional and complicated, but deciding to purchase art is even worse. For starters it’s intimidating as all get-out. You have to grapple with the complex and opaque art market which is like the stock market but has even more speculation and fewer rules.  You also have to determine how much a piece of art is worth to you while including factors like it’s uniqueness in the marketplace, how long you plan to hold onto it and whether it will retains its value.

Everyone approaches these questions a bit differently and for totally valid reasons.

A Few Common Approaches:

SOME save their money for big but infrequent purchases. Instead of spending $50 on a print here, $200 on a small painting there, they save up for fewer higher-ticket pieces that really set the tone of their home.

SOME view purchasing art as an investment akin to the stock market. The idea is to strategically buy work before it increases dramatically in value. These folks become very knowledgeable about the art market and follow “hot” emerging artists who are just on the brink of success.

SOME avoid “investing” in art at all and stick with lower-cost options like prints. These people simply do not see art as an investment and can’t justify spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on something that may not retain its value.

AND SOME buy art based on their gut feelings about a particular piece, putting aside practical considerations like cost, size and style. If they “fall in love” with a piece of art, they have to have it. (If you fall in this category it helps to have lots to spend!)

A few pieces from my collection. Betsy Walton and Cameron Cundiff.

How Do I Think About Buying Art?

I CONSIDER ART an important element of my home and as such I dedicate a portion of my overall home budget to art.

I BARELY FACTOR IN RETAINED VALUE. For me the value is in owning and enjoying beautiful, inspiring things in the same way that I enjoy the occasional fancy dinner or trip abroad.

I TAKE THE MIDDLE PATH: I prefer to buy several pieces a year instead of one big purchase every year or two. I like variety and buying art is one of my absolute favorite things to do!

I LIKE SUPPORTING ARTISTS. It makes me feel good.

I BUY FROM EMERGING INDEPENDENT ARTISTS who sell their work very reasonably. *

* Next time you’re thinking about buying a piece of art, ask the artist how much the materials cost and how many hours they spent on the piece. Then do the math. Most of the time their hourly rate ends up at or below $10/hour.

Thoughts? Considerations? I’d love to hear your take on buying art.

Picks of the week!

November 27th, 2009 · No Comments

As usual the picks of the week span a wide price range, this week from $15 to $300. All pieces are originals except for Katie Kulper’s Neighborhood Watch which is a limited edition linocut print.

Picks of the week – remix!

November 14th, 2009 · No Comments

In the spirit of promoting alternative and affordable art, this week’s picks all fall into the “art-as-household-objects” category. We have tea towels, a t-shirt, melamine plates, a mug, tiles, decals and a calendar, many by artists we’ve previously featured!

And I should add that this is just the tip of the art-as-household-objects iceberg! There are so many artists today selling their work in non-traditional forms which we think is fantastic because:

– this kind of art is very affordable

– it means a steady, secondary income for the artists

– and it’s much easier to justify the $$$ if you can USE/WEAR it!

This week’s picks were found on:



Rare Device

Third Drawer Down

The Big Debate: Original Art vs. Prints

September 22nd, 2009 · 1 Comment

This is one of those questions that gets people all riled up but when all is said and done, has no “right” answer. In my humble opinion, original art is (mostly) worth the fuss and extra cost, especially given the abundance of affordable art in the marketplace. There is the long-term value of the art that some consider, but more importantly, there is something very special about owning an original piece of art.  As someone who owns both originals and prints, I can attest to the fact that I am much more attached to the originals, even after factoring out what I paid for them.

However, there are many reasons to consider prints, especially as most of us are adjusting to life on tighter budgets. Artists, like the rest of us, are feeling the effects of the downturn, and even if you can’t afford an original, purchasing prints not only brings art into your home but also supports the artist community.  Furthermore, there is a slew of e-shops that sell prints of top-quality emerging and established artists.  So just because you can’t afford originals doesn’t mean you have to settle for Starry Night.


– They often cost considerably less. A print of an original valued at $3000 might go for $50. That’s 1/60th of the cost of the original!

– If you don’t believe in art-as-investment.

– If your taste changes frequently.

– If the piece is whimsical and you’re unsure it makes sense in the long haul.

– If the original is sold, there may be prints available.



Keep Calm Gallery

Little Paper Planes

Sycamore Street Press

Tiny Showcase

The Bird Machine

The Shiny Squirrel

The Small Stakes

Thumbtack Press

Tugboat Printshop

How to find great art on Etsy

September 14th, 2009 · 2 Comments

etsy header screenshot

This post is for all of my friends who think Etsy is the best thing since sliced bread but have no idea how to use it effectively.

The main complaint I hear again and again is “Etsy seems so cool, but when I try to search for interesting art I get totally overwhelmed and give up!” I get so sad when I hear this because Etsy truly is one of the best places to find affordable art.

So here are my tips for everyone out there with the same frustrations:

1) Don’t get overwhelmed! Yes, there is a lot out there, but you do not have to go through a myriad of listings to find art you like. I promise!

2) Start small. Find a handful of items that appeal to you and make them your favorites.  You can start by browsing through the handpicked items on the homepage, the showcase (where you can select sub-categories such as painting, print, mixed-media, etc.), the editors’ picks, connections and so on.

3) Browse shops. From the favorite items you’ve selected, browse through the sellers’ other listings.  You may have found a painting you really like, but after browsing through the artists’ other items, discover a similar piece that you absolutely love!

4) Browse your favorites’ favorites. Chances are your favorite artists have links (via favorites) to other interesting artists.  You can’t usually ask people for their entire contact list, but through Etsy you can anonymously search through sellers’ contacts and start a chain of discovery.

5) Ask the experts. Many online art publications and blogs showcase their Etsy favorites.  Two of my favorites are etsy art and a thing of beauty. Taking this route means all of the heavy lifting has already been done for you!  (For Honestly Art’s favorites, see Favorites page)

6) Sleep on it. Before making a big purchase, come back in a day or two.  You may feel differently after some reflection.  Obviously if you still love it, buy it and hang it up!

There are many other great ways to search on Etsy, so please feel free to share your personal tips and tricks…