I love art. To quote the fabulous Hedy Lamarr (I don't go in for fancy-pants thinkers): “A good painting to me has always been like a friend. It keeps me company, comforts and inspires”. Unfortunately I don't have the resources of a certain Mr Saatchi but that doesn't mean you can't build up a lovely collection of original works on a budget. Here's how I got my own personal gallery going.
Be friends with (or marry*) an artist I'm willing to bet you've got a friend or a friend of a friend who is a creative of some type – they get everywhere. So become a patron of their work – the work will be reasonably priced because the artist is starting out and you get to help them create more art by funding their creativity, plus their work gets seen by all your friends, some of whom might want to know where it came from, and thus helping to create the growth of the artist. Our lovely friend Ali Rabjohns gave this picture (above) to us a good few years ago; I love it because it reminds me of Marc Chagall's paintings. Ali is now a fierce felter and makes strange, wonderful pieces of art; one of which I hope to own soon.
*I don't really advocate marrying an artist to get free art; I just got lucky.
Use your imagination There's a cute little Rob Ryan print hanging in our bathroom – that didn't cost a penny because it's a screen-printed carrier bag from his shop in Columbia Road (above, top). The small Peter Blake collage (above) is a preview card from a show he curated at Liverpool Tate (bonus points because he signed it for me).
Don't dally If you see it, love it and have enough in your purse – buy it. Don't wait, it'll sell out and you'll be left kicking yourself. I still cry a little bit over the Paula Rego and Cindy Sherman prints I missed out on because I faffed about over what was the price of a months worth of take-out coffee. I now know Art feeds the soul more than any flat white can.