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How to buy art

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Think you need a couple of thousand pounds behind you to invest in art? Think again.

For proof, head down to Battersea Park, London this weekend for the increasingly popular Affordable Art Fair? It’s on from 10-13 March, and is a great day out if you want to buy some art. Whether you want to spend thousands on one piece or just £50 for a print for your living room, you’ll find something beautiful and unique at this fair - examples of which are pictured above.

If you’re new to the art buying scene, then fear not because we spoke to Nicky Wheeler, the Fair’s Director, who gave us her expert art buying tips.

1. Preparation

Preparation is key to anything and shopping at an art fair is no exception. If you have a space in mind, have a think about what you are looking for before you arrive at the fair and take a note of any practicalities such as size or lighting levels. But don’t buy something just to match your colour scheme – hopefully your art will have a longer shelf life than your soft furnishings.

2. Budget

Go with a budget in mind but be prepared to blow it if you see a piece that you just can’t live without. If you really can't afford to fork out the full amount for the piece, ask if the gallery offers interest-free installments through the Own Art Scheme. If you’re just starting out buying art and your pockets are not too deep, consider original prints, such as screenprints and etchings, which are a great entry-level option.

3. Look

When you get to the fair, pick up a stand plan or catalogue, take your time to look around, making notes on galleries and pieces that you like, and the essentials, including artist, size and price. With 120 galleries at AAF selling paintings, original prints, photography, sculpture and applied arts, all priced from £50 to £4,000, there’s massive range of styles and mediums under one roof with a price to suit all pockets.

4. Ask

Looking at and buying art should be an enjoyable experience, not an intimidating one where you’re worried about getting it wrong. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, art dealers are only too keen to talk about their artists’ work.

5. Catch a rising star

There is no way of guaranteeing which artists will become collectable, but the Affordable Art Fair has long been a hunting ground for collectors looking to spot the next rising star. For this fair we are delighted to be working with jotta, the community of practicing artists borne from the University of the Arts London who have curated a thematic exhibition entitled ‘Devour’, which features exciting and stimulating work by young graduates from the jotta community.

6. Follow your heart

First and foremost, choose something that you love, not something you think you should buy. Art is a reflection of you and your personality, so follow your heart rather than pondering on the possible financial return.

The Affordable Art Fair is held twice a year in London, and once a year in Bristol. For more information visit affordableartfair.co.uk

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