Although it's relatively new, the internet has changed the way we discover and acquire art. More now than ever before we have the ability to find, view and acquire fine art from the comfort of our own home.
Viewing, selecting and buying art online is very much like visiting bricks-and-mortar Art Galleries. Of course on your browser you see only an image of a work rather than the work itself and this makes it harder to visualise. However, many websites offer tools to alleviate this problem, as we describe later.
The power of the internet to provide information is both a blessing and a curse. There is so much choice, but that can make finding a suitable work like finding a needle in a haystack. However, if you use the internet in a methodical way, you can find something that fits your requirements perfectly.
Here are some tips for finding and choosing a work of art online ...
Specify: it can help to have an idea of what you're looking for even if just in 'broad brush' terms: contemporary, abstract, decorative, or figurative? What color scheme are you trying to match? What size is your hanging space? Try to write down a list of criteria you are trying to match - writing it down helps to concentrate the mind, and you can change it at any time.
Explore: You have more choice than ever before. If you have a favourite style or school of art, search engines like Google, MSN or Yahoo will find you thousands of examples. Google image search or Froogle - which shows images - can be helpful. Many art sites have links to other sites that you can follow. Some artists have grouped themselves into 'collectives' in which you can visit their own websites and view what they have to offer. All this, of course, takes time - but if you are serious about owning original art, it's worth it.
Research: Learn about the type of art that you like. Most people like decorative art, so-called because it is generally used to decorate living and working space rather than to be provocative. It's not wrong to dislike certain schools of art or art movements. Don't be put off by snobbishness - art appreciation is almost entirely subjective, in spite of what some 'experts' may claim! Don't be afaid to ask questions. Most quality online art galleries have experienced art consultants who are pleased to answer any of your questions. We have a contact form that you can use to put questions about our artworks. Please don't hesitate to ask.
Experiment: Some websites offer sophisticated tools that can give you a realistic visualisation of their offerings. For example, on our site here you can view works in several different settings: contemporary, art deco, traditional, office, kids, etc., varying the wall colors, and with a range of frames and mattes/mounts. Your chosen work is scaled to the room setting to give you the sense of how large it is. On the details page, you can enlarge, i.e. zoom, the work to see it in more detail.
Make the Right Choice: Share your favourite works with people you trust – email their links to friends or colleagues and get their opinions.
Be Safe: When you are sure you have found the right piece, enquire about the site. Most credible websites provide you with detailed information about themselves. Check their whois registration, for example at Tucows. Check that the site offers verified and secure online purchasing. Read what their customers and the press have to say about them. Check if the piece will come with authentication that you are happy with. Find out if they have a returns policy that is reasonable. When you have satisfied yourself that the company is genuine, make your purchase and enjoy your acquisition with confidence.
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