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Creative Experts Help You Choose High Quality Artwork (Part One of Three)

August 17, 2021

Three Embrace Creatives artist experts teach you what to look for and stay away from when buying art online and in person.

An interior designer client asked me to replace paintings she set in a client’s bathroom because they puckered within a month of hanging. She returned them, and repurchased but those began to pucker also so she told her client that he needs to invest in original art, rather than cheaper, mass produced reproductions and asked me to source replacements for her.

Because it was difficult for her to determine the quality of the artwork she found online, it made me think that non-artists and interior designers, whose job it is to find superior products for their clients, could use education in this area.

Online art buying isn’t going away, ever. In fact online sales increased 4% from 2018 to $4.82 billion in 2020. And since it can be difficult to discern the quality of art if you can’t see it in person, I asked three EC artists who are experts in their medium to share their thoughts on things like; material types, the best varnish, what to look for in a fiber piece, and how to protect your art purchase once you get it home.

I’m super proud of the professional artists I curate into my Embrace Creatives showroom and I’m not surprised that they took the time to help you choose high quality artwork that, if properly cared for, will last decades. Below you will find part one of a three-part series.

Let’s start with paper.

Ray Belner is a Northern California-based sculptor and mixed media artist who’s sold his art for the past 30 years. Ray’s artwork is in the permanent collections of major museums, including Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and the Federal Reserve Board so I’m confident his advice carries a ton of weight.

Using professional products is not only part of a traditional art education but using higher-priced and long lasting media, means that the artwork will stand the test of time. In making art, execution is as important as the idea so I offer art constructed using the most archival and long lasting materials that I can afford.

Flowerish Boom

Flowerish Boom

33″H x 31″W 
Archival pigment prints on laser cut 3⁄4” plywood

If the paper has a wooden backing, like what I use, it’s best if it is adhered to primed wooden surfaces using acid-free adhesives. For the protective layer, the artwork should be coated with water-based varnish. If the varnish includes UV it will protect the colors from fading. If you don’t see or are unsure of the quality of the materials used, reach out to the artist or the resource showcasing their work.

Quality, original art is an investment, often a very pricey one, so I believe it’s incumbent on buyers to consider the integrity of the artworks and what they’re made from, that is why I’m work withing Andrea at Embrace Creatives. An artist herself, she knows quality and strives to offer well-crafted work by vetted reliable, professional artists, many with a solid track record of working on public and private commissions

Andrea’s Tip: Buying art on a cheap sketch paper, like newsprint should be thoroughly avoided as it is not acid free and will absolutely yellow over time.

Next up, fiber. Read the next article in the series with advice from an Embrace Creatives fiber artist on what to look for, and stay away from when searching for textile artwork for your home or office.  And if you don’t have time to search for art, are overwhelmed or unsure, contact an art advisor!

Embrace Creatives founder Andrea Bogart explains how to collect art the right way.
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This article was written by Andrea Bogart, founder and lead art advisor of Embrace Creatives.

To see the highly talented artists featured on Embrace Creatives, visit our artist listing. For help finding the right artwork for your home or office, reach out to Andrea here. Interior professionals can request white glove art consulting or custom pieces, easily.