Don’t be afraid if you don’t know anything about art, or about local artists. You probably know more than you think, but all you need to know is what YOU like.
First, you can read about the artists. That will help you understand what you will see when you walk through the studios.
You could visit the studios during normal business hours, but there will be a lot more studios open during our 2nd Saturdays Open Houses. Start at the top and meander down, floor by floor. In some studios you will see artwork displayed properly, and others are really workshops for making art. Some artists do 2-dimensional work: Producing paintings, or prints, drawings, or photographs. Others do 3-dimensional work: Sculpture, or ceramics, or jewelry. You may be drawn to some processes more than others, and that’s ok.
When you visit a studio, introduce yourself to the artist and sign their guest book. When you see something you like, tell the artist, or you can ask questions. This will create an opportunity for conversation. If you return later in the year each artist will have some new work and you can see how ideas develop, and that’s more to talk about with the artist.
Remember, you can tour studios and just look. 2nd Saturdays is a great opportunity to learn more about art and to meet a cross section of local artists, even if you don’t buy anything. At the very least you will have an interesting cultural experience.
Many artists have small pieces for less than $100. It should be a fun decision and not break your bank account. Your taste may change as you collect more art—but you will always have a record of what you liked at this time of your life.
If you are looking for something you don’t see, perhaps jewelry for an special person, or a painting or photograph of your garden, or something to go in a certain place on your wall, you can hire an artist to make it for you. You will be getting a one-of-a-kind that may become a family treasure. Talk to an artist whose style you like, and describe what you want, and ask if they are interested in creating it for you.
Be clear about the price and when payments are due, and if a deposit is required. Do you want to see proofs or early versions? Will the artist let you out of the sale if you don’t like the result? There are a lot of things to discuss and some artists don’t like doing work on commission, but many will.
Most artists are serious about what they do and work hard, but it is not something they do to get rich. Many artists are in 2nd careers. They may be retired from “regular” jobs and are now doing what they’ve always dreamed of. Others have other professions that pay the bills and they get to their studios after work and on weekends. Some have partners who support them.
If you like the art you see and can afford to buy it, that will be very encouraging. You can participate in the creative process by collecting the work you like, and helping the artists at the same time.