help me class up the joint
January 22, 2010 1:31 PM   Subscribe

$500 to spend on original art; where do I do that? I want to buy art for my home; specifically oil or watercolor paintings. I do not want to buy prints. I want to see the brush strokes. I would rather purchase in person. I am in the Phoenix AZ area. Feel free to list websites also.
posted by phritosan to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Any local Art Schools in your area? Many of the ones around here hold annual or semi-annual sales. Also a lot of cafe's in their vicinity will often have original art by students on their walls that you can buy.
posted by IanMorr at 1:34 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

it looks like phoenix has an art walk on the first friday of every month.
posted by nadawi at 1:40 PM on January 22, 2010

Keeping an eye out goes a long way. I have exactly one piece of original art. It's big, probably 4'x3', and on a steel sheet. I love love love it, and paid about $200. I found it by stumbling into a gallery/toy store that was hosting an opening.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:44 PM on January 22, 2010

Local coffee shops will often have art for sale by local artists in that price range.
posted by Kurichina at 1:48 PM on January 22, 2010

(disclaimer: she's my mother, so I'm proud of her and her work)

Click on "design studio", and you can move the tiles around-- her studio is in Houston (though I think she is affiliated with a gallery in Phoenix, I'll ask), but you can play with the concept and designs on her website.

Her work is steel plate with movable oil (or acrylic) painted tiles that, being magnetized can be arranged in any way you like... and then rearranged whenever you feel like it.

Some of the larger work (using a plate that's 24x24 or 48x48 is probably out of your price range, but the smaller stuff is quite reasonable.
posted by Seeba at 1:57 PM on January 22, 2010


"...(using a plate that's 24x24 or 48x48) is probably..."
posted by Seeba at 1:58 PM on January 22, 2010

Check and
posted by KneeDeep at 1:59 PM on January 22, 2010

I would recommend checking out what is on Etsy. Lots of original art, direct from the artists themselves. You're bound to find something you like.

Also, gotta put in a plug for my boyfriend's mother. She is a fabulous artist who lives in Ohio. You can check out her site here. I'm not sure if you can buy her art directly online, but MeMail me and I can put you in touch with her.

Good luck!
posted by bloody_bonnie at 2:32 PM on January 22, 2010 has some great stuff... my wife and I have several of their pieces in our home. Wonderful stuff, and supporting a great cause!
posted by newfers at 2:56 PM on January 22, 2010

Local, local, local.
Support your local artists.

Did I mention "local"?
posted by Thorzdad at 3:33 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't know about local, but The Beholder has a cool 7-day trial so you can actually spend some time checking the art out. (Not affiliated, just wish I had the money to buy something!)
posted by grapesaresour at 5:11 PM on January 22, 2010

Remember to factor in the cost of a frame when you look at the artwork. I got a print from an artist I liked off E-bay for just $35, but then spent two hundred to get it properly matted and framed.
posted by saffry at 5:12 PM on January 22, 2010

If an artist sells out of a gallery, 50% goes to the gallery. I'm an artist and I always prefer to sell out of my studio because I don't have to share the profits with anyone this way. Often I will sell a painting for less out of my studio than I do in a gallery since I don't have to share the $ with anyone. It's a win-win for you and the artist. And good for you for knowing the difference between a real painting and a print. I'm always dumbfounded when a seemingly educated person calls a print a "painting". And equally dumbfounded when they can't figure out why my paintings cost so much more than a poster.
posted by madred at 6:02 PM on January 22, 2010

Have you been to Bisbee AZ? There is a thriving arts community there. Two of the artists that I've followed over the years are Poe Dismuke and Sam Wolcott.

I've been collecting original works for many years on a very small budget...I get to know the artists and the ones I particularly like will often bring out smaller works that are more affordable. Also, on more than one occasion I've seen something over my budget and arranged for a payment schedule with the artists themselves. They love it because many of them understand being short on funds, and they're happy to get work into the hands of people who truly love it. One of my favorite pieces took a year to pay for, but by the time I'd paid it off, the artist and I were friends and I've subsequently been able to come to his "private" studio and see things before they're at the gallery. It's fun!
posted by Gusaroo at 10:56 PM on January 22, 2010

I should add that the way I meet the artists are mostly through Open Studio weekends--check at the local art supply stores for information about them--or charity auctions in which the artist, not a rep, is selling his or her work. My best piece was purchased at a charity auction for Canine Companions, to which the artists had donated work.
posted by Gusaroo at 11:01 PM on January 22, 2010

My dumb ass has been doing some paintings lately. Just check out artist blogs in your area. Email the painters.
posted by carlh at 12:43 PM on January 23, 2010

Open studios at art schools / your local art work are good.

The best advice you're going to get in here is to talk to the actual artist. You both get a better deal without a middleman and you get to learn more about what you're going to be staring at every day.

Also paintings are expensive, especially done by talented people who are trying to make a living, I wouldn't totally rule out prints. "Prints" as in hand-pulled things like etchings/lithographs/etc. or photographs, not cheap digital reproductions.

I collect works on paper, great way to collect art without being rich.
posted by bradbane at 2:24 PM on January 23, 2010

Cartel Coffee Lab in Tempe and in downtown Phoenix has paintings by local artists on its walls, which are generally available for sale. I think every month or so, they have new stuff up. They also have fantastic coffee. There are also numerous galleries around the valley. You can check at Cartel to see if they have any flyers for openings (I'm not really up on the art scene, so I'm not sure what's out there.) Of course, ASU has the art school, and I think there are a couple more around, so you should check that out. You can also check out Yelp (Tempe, Phoenix) for listings of local art galleries (though I see many of the things listed aren't actually galleries at all).
posted by !Jim at 7:13 PM on January 23, 2010

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