When Fred and I first moved to the city we found a studio loft apartment on 28th and Madison. Figured that way we could walk to our jobs. I didn't realize that I would end up in Kings Plaza Brooklyn after three months of job training. We certainly didn't realize that we would be sharing our new hood with prostitutes and SRO hotels either.
It took time to put our place together because we had no cash. We had a mattress and a TV that his parents were getting rid of and a cheap wooden table and chairs from a discount store. We finally bit the bullet and ordered a couch that had a two month lead time. So nightly we found ourselves in our walk-in closet sitting on camp trunks and using an upside down milk crate as a table to play cards every night because the only light we had was in the closet. Eventually the place came together and we started to bring in some income so we decided to buy a piece of art instead of putting up posters. Oh yes, we were adults now.
We would look at galleries in Soho on the weekends. We knew how much we wanted to spend and we knew we would know what we wanted when we saw it. Our first piece, which I still love, is above. It is called the smoker and the poet. We continued to buy art after getting bit by the bug and then stopped because financially we could barely make ends meet so art wasn't part of the budget.
Years passed and we began to collect again. This time I was introduced to a woman who actually helps people grow their collection. What she really does it educate her clients. She introduced me to galleries and artists and took me on studio visits. A real eye opener. I realized that you don't necessarily have to spend a lot to own a piece of an artists work and the obvious to me was to buy what you love. There are plenty of people who buy art because they know that the artist is emerging and their work is going up in value. With that thought in mind, many people then sell the work they bought in a few years on the secondary market. I have yet to do that. I want to love what I own and don’t really look at it as an investment although it is. Hence, it is important to make sure the work you buy is insured and appraised again over time to make sure that you are insured at the correct value. Keep all your receipts and records from wherever you buy the art.
Today I do the art shows, walk the galleries and always look at art in the cities we travel to. The most important thing is to just love the work you buy. You are going to live with it. It doesn't hurt to buy from a gallery that is interested in nurturing the artist while helping their career grow. There are all different kinds of galleries from emerging to seasoned. You will find a gallery where you love all the artists that they represent and others where nothing speaks to you. There are now places like 20×200 and others where you can buy work that is done in limited editions from seasoned artists at reasonable prices. Generally, photography is less expensive as a medium.
The key is to think about your budget and make sure it speaks to you and that if you walk away you won’t be able to get that piece out of your head. Love it! Do your homework so when you see something for the price you want to spend that you won't hesitate because you have an understanding of the market.
Living with art is something everyone can do…and should.`