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Abi's guide to art
collecting on a budget

Welcome back to Your Home is Lovely's new contributing editor Abi Zakarian. This week she's all about building an investment art collection without an investment banker's salary. Over to Abi...

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.

Always visit the gift shop Lots of galleries, both national and privately owned, now sell limited editions of artists' work. This Ken Adam print (above) is of one of his sketches for Kubrick's 'Dr Strangelove' and was produced to coincide with the Serpentine Gallery's retrospective of his work in 1999. I fell in love with the original but this was a slightly more affordable £125.

My lifelong love of Peter Blake's work began when I first visited Tate Britain aged 14 (back then it was just plain old Tate Gallery; yes, I am 104 years old). Many years later I discovered the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester were opening their new wing and commemorating this with a new work by Blake entitled 'Bobbie Rainbow'; printed on tin and produced in an edition of 2,000, they cost just £35. They now sell for upwards of £750. Bobbie was a companion piece Blake created to go with his earlier seminal work 'Babe Rainbow' (1967) – this was one of the first examples of an artist creating 'art for all'; a print run of 10,000 sold for £1 each (see both, above top). And an usual addition to our collection is this fab set of pop art badges (above); from the Pallant's excellent shop and still available on their website for £50.

Paul Catherall creates beautiful geometric works that retail at upwards of £500; but his 'British Architect' print (above, top) is only £65 from an edition of 250. Other artists have created objects too; I'm currently coveting the Nina Saunders 'Little white chair' – an edition of 200 for £60 (above).

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.

And this artwork (above) is by my husband – it's one of his set designs for a production of 'Les Miserables'. No charge, thanks to marriage vows and all that.
*I don't really advocate marrying an artist to get free art; I just got lucky.

Get an interest free loan I bought this John Macfarlane for my husband. It's an original painting and would usually be way out of my price range but with the Own Art scheme you can take out an interest free loan for 10 months to purchase any piece of art by a living artist from £100 up to £2,000. Also, there's no limit on how many times you use the loan scheme so you can gradually add to your collection.

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).

Consider photography Many photographers produce prints of their work in low edition runs; if you see a photo you like in a magazine, news article or even on a website it's worth contacting the photographer and asking them to produce a print for you; ask them to sign and date it too. It's a great way of finding art you love and, again, champions new artists. I'm on the verge of ordering one of Lena Konstantakou's gorgeous prints of Cuba (above, top) after seeing an exhibition of her work and I love Andy Paradise's black and white work; I used to work with Andy in my days as a picture editor and this beautiful photo of his (above) now graces my wall.

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.

1 comment :

  1. I am happy to see such beautiful paintings here. It was so inspiring and full of creativity. Nice post you have here.