The reason that most people choose to live with bare walls, or dressed-up posters, is not the cost of art. It is because when they contemplate actually making a purchase of original artwork, they are filled not with the excitement often associated with buying furniture or jewelry, but the dread feeling of incompetence.

Art fills many needs not the least of which is its ability to yield insight into our most sincere desires, brighten our moods, and open our eyes. Yet the prospect of entering most gallery spaces armed with a complete lack of the finer points of art history or modern trends, and oh yes, having to ask the price, is often daunting enough to, once again, have us just let the whole thing go.

The fear of making a mistake is often insurmountable. It really doesn’t matter whether it’s the prospect of a financial mistake, or the idea of opening oneself up to friends and family members’ criticism of your taste. Few other purchases can elicit such a degree of insecurity. And much of that insecurity stems from the fact that buying art is an extremely personal statement which is much more individual than almost anything else. Because it is so undeniably a part of our cultural subconscious, influencing just about everything we covet and buy, there is often great fear of striking a wrong note with an ‘uninformed’ purchase.

Most of our reluctance can be traced to the traditional model of the art world wherein the producer, the artist, gives up 50%-60% commission in order to secure distribution. Where approximately 1000 artists are blessed with the impremateur of a small pool of art dealers. This controlled world often leaves potential buyers in a bewildering state of limbo as the art deemed worthy by the experts causes them to doubt their own taste. That was the old model and it’s time for a new era. Heralded by a new degree of art accessibility and the ability therefore to trust one’s own innate judgement, the era of the emerging artist is being ushered in. And dare we say, a newly efficient art market.

In February, the auction house Bonhams held its first ever auction comprised solely of Urban, or Street Art. The auction included work from many emerging, unknown artists and resulted in an astounding sale of 99% of the lots. For a relatively unknown genre of art to post such a stellar result is almost unheard of in the art world. The rationale behind the sales’ success is that street art’s rise in popularity has as much to do with its lack of pretension and sense of cultural familiarity as anything else – no curator or critic required.

It’s hard to go wrong buying what you love, what makes you smile or reflect on a regular basis. Buying art is an intensely personal process often best suited to home shopping, separated from the influence and pressures of gallery assistants or art critics. The process of buying art resonates more with prolonged browsing and research which can, most importantly, help in defining your taste. And, just as the elimination of many countries’ fees into their art museums enables artwork to be appreciated by a greater number of people on a more regular basis, art exhibited over the internet enables the work of emerging artists worldwide to gain an audience.

The way to conquer the fear of buying art is to define your taste by doing the research to determine what sorts of images, colors and themes have the ability to move you on a consistent basis. The internet offers the perfect venue beyond the confines of juried shows and galleries where art lovers can meld their taste, choice of medium, budget, and a level of connection with the artists’ intention to become collectors themselves. It’s also the best way for artists to take their work to the level of ultimate accessibility.

By yanam49

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