10 Tips For Buying Art Prints

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Museum-grade digital art prints are a classy way to buy art on a budget. Master digital printmaker and founder of Printism.com.au, Roger Saddington, offers his top tips for using art prints in your home.

1. Put the cart before the horse

If possible, wait until you’ve bought your art before painting the walls. It’s much easier to paint the wall later than to find the perfect art piece in exactly the right colour.

2. Don’t worry about who the artist is

The world is brimming with truly excellent artists who simply can’t be accommodated in the overcrowded upper echelons of the art world. Unless you’ve got huge amounts of money to spend on a ‘name’, concentrate on the ‘great unknowns’ that catch your eye.

3. Buy for love

Buying art for investment is a risky, long-term enterprise, with no guarantees. Concentrate on affordable art that will give you pleasure over the next decade and save your real money for blue-chip shares, a much safer investment.

4. Meaningful looks

Search for art with authentic detail or a meaningful subject. These are far more important than the colour palate. The symbolism or intricacy of a carefully made work will give you years of pleasure long after the joy of matching your existing curtain colour has faded.

5. Develop a theory

If you buy a beautiful print, your family and friends are sure to comment. Think about what attracted you to this image. Perhaps the subject has personal meaning or the light reminds you of a favourite place. What do you think the artist was trying to achieve? Put your thoughts forward in conversation to really get people talking about and admiring your art (and your taste).

6. Size does matter

Don’t try to fill a big wall with two, three or four smaller pieces. If you have a large wall in your home, rejoice in the opportunity to make a stunning statement. High quality ‘large format’ print material is now coming onto the market at prices that were unthinkable ten years ago. The right subject, presented at the proper scale, can make you whole home sing.

7. Look for painterly art

Clichéd photographs of international tourist destinations are multiplying like rabbits within the department stores of the world. Look for prints with an effect you’ve not seen before. Images that feature a ‘hand-made’ technique will age much better than straight photography.

8. Beware of wallpaper art

Likewise, the production line art studios of China have spawned a plethora of ‘oil on canvas’ paintings often found in suburban framing galleries and market stalls. Many of these are simply patches of colour with a few squiggly lines – you know the ones… Hold off on buying this ‘abstract art’ (art that doesn’t have a recognisable subject) until you’ve had a bit more experience.

9. Boring beige and worthless white

Plain white or beige walls are the sanctuary of the fearful. 

Unless you particularly want the ‘white box’ art gallery look, splash some colour around. Take your cue from the colours in the artwork and check out some high-end interior design mags to see how the professionals put colours together.

10. Create links between the art and the room.

Chose objects that echo colours in your art and distribute them throughout the room. Cushions, rugs, throws, vases, plant pots and other decorative items can all help to bring your theme together.

Roger Saddington

Roger Saddington is an Australian artist, designer and educator. Nationally recognised as one of the country's top printmakers, Mr Saddington has now undertaken a new challenge. He is the founder of Printism.com.au - Real Art in Print.

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Author: Roger Saddington

Roger Saddington is an Australian artist, designer and educator. Nationally recognised as one of the country's top printmakers, Mr Saddington has now undertaken a new challenge. He is the founder of Printism.com.au - Real Art in Print.

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4 Comments

  1. Thanks for the article – what fantastic advice!

    I never knew about art prints before, but I’m definitely going to look into them now for my new house and its many white walls – and printism.com.au looks like the perfect place to start.

    More informative articles like this one please!!

    Lisa

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  2. Great article, at my frame shop we always tell people that the cost of the print shouldn’t affect the cost of the framing. People say, “I don’t want to spend that much, it was only a 10$ poster..”

    Honestly, If a 10$ poster can look as good to you as a 200$ limited edition print… why not do it? Think of the savings, not that you’re ‘wasting’ the framing on the art. :)

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    • Also you should probably explain the differences between canvas, lithograph, giclee, and artist proofs are.

      Canvas costs more when buying the print, and you need stretcher bars, but you save on framing because there are no mats or glass. Giclee are obviously much nicer prints and look like original art sometimes. Artist proofs are more expensive and while publishers claim these are the better prints, these days they’re all the same. They say the artist hand picks these out of a line and that they’re from the beginning of printing. The plates don’t wear away like they used to though so you’re not really getting any more clarity.

      tl;dr- Don’t spend more for an artist proof, considering buying canvases if you like the look, and go for giclee if you can afford it.

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      • Thank you so much for the explanations! I really learnt a lot from you!

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