Womanista Decor: Buying Art that Speaks to You

Susie Hamilton’s “White Beach 5″ currently hangs in our dining room

I absolutely love the spirit and energy that an original piece of art can bring to a home. But let’s be honest, buying art can be really intimidating and stressful! I know I can easily get derailed by viewing too many options with varying prices, colors, and feel – and I’m often left thinking ‘how in the world can I pick ONE special piece??’ But the truth is, when you spot a perfect artistic expression, it can stir something in your soul…and add so much warmth, beauty & creativity to your home.

My husband and I fell in love with Susie Hamilton’s paintings on a recent trip to London. We were brilliantly guided by a curator at Paul Stopler gallery to Susie’s studio in East London, and then picked out a painting that really resonated with us. But you don’t have to go to another country, or even visit a gallery to buy a meaningful piece of art! UGallery makes it so easy – It’s an online gallery full of original work by up-and-coming artists, photographers, and sculptors. Plus, the site features daily deals and an online wedding registry (seriously, if you are getting married soon, why not register for a gorge piece of art for your home rather than a monogrammed towel??)

Womanista caught up with Charlotte Nichols, Director of Marketing for UGallery, to de-mystify the art buying experience (because it should be fun, inspiring, and exciting!!)

Womanista: What are typically the biggest roadblocks keeping people from investing in art these days?

Charlotte Nichols: Typically, first-time art buyers tend to feel intimidated or anxious by the magnitude of making a sizeable art purchase or browsing a number of galleries to find the perfect piece of art for their home. UGallery provides a comfortable environment for consumers to browse its original, one-of-a-kind artwork – over 5,000 pieces from the collections of over 500 artists – by price, style, size, color or artist.  For an extra sense of security, UGallery allows purchasers a weeklong test run in their home risk-free.

UGallery also assists its clients in finding the perfect piece of art to fit their needs, personality, and most importantly, their walls, with a team of art experts to help navigate the site.

W: Are there any “key” points you use to help people select a piece of art?

CN: We ask our clients some initial questions to start the process, like what size or color they’re looking for.  We like to get a sense of whether they want the color to be a dominant color or accent color, because, for example,  a predominantly red painting is really different than a painting with hints of red. We also discuss what style of art they like, such as abstract or figurative, and if there are any artists whose style is representative of what really appeals to them.

Once we establish a foundation, we discuss the intent and context for buying the art the art. What feeling or mood do they want the art to evoke? Should it be energetic, soothing, contemplative? What does their house or room look like?  We’ve had clients communicate this in many ways, such as sending us images of their paint samples, bath towels, or rugs for context about the room.

When we have a sense of what a client is looking for, we’ll send them a range of options and ask for feedback, then continuously fine-tune our recommendations based on what sparks interest so we can find the perfect piece for our client.

“Girl with Heart” by Carolyn Schlam captures unique beauty and femininity

W: Who is an emerging artist that you’re really excited about these days?

CN: We love how Carolyn Schlam from Taos, New Mexico and photographers Savina Gost and Anna Williams balance femininity, confidence, power, and beauty in their work.  We’re also really excited about Scott Bergey from Lambton Shores, Canada and John Diehl from Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

W: For a young couple on a budget, how do you suggest they find great art for their home together? How does the wedding registry work?

CN: As with any joint purchase, the needs, tastes and budgets of both partners should be considered.  Couples should first come to an agreement on the style of artwork they’re interested in, along with a price point they’re both comfortable with.  UGallery offers art starting from $250, so once the couple has figured out the basics on what type of artwork they want, a UGallery art expert can help them find a piece that speaks to each partner individually and collectively as a unit.

Additionally, couples on a budget will want to check out UGallery’s Daily Deal, which offers customers the chance to buy an original work of art at an amazing price.  If they see something they like, they have to act fast, as the artwork changes daily!

For couples who are making their way down the aisle soon, UGallery’s wedding registry offers a new and creative spin on the traditional registry.   The bridal registry was inspired by the growing trend of cohabitation among young couples before getting married, and the fact that modern couples who are already living together with an established home likely don’t need traditional gifts such as bake ware or kitchen appliances.  We’re seeing a shift in registry trends towards more lifestyle (like honeymoon registries) and charity-based options, and original art is slated to be the next frontier in registries for the modern couple.

UGallery’s wedding registry operates in a similar fashion to other wedding registries, allowing the couple to select the artwork of their choice to fill the registry.  UGallery’s registry incorporates modern wedding trends such as group gifting and cash gifting, allowing guests to contribute an amount to a painting or give a gift card to the site. UGallery provides a risk-free trial period, so any piece of art is returnable to the site.

W: Are there any emerging “trends” in the art world currently?

“Pedestrians” by Jim Zwadlo demonstrates the trend in aerial-perspective art

CN: Overall, we’re seeing the rise in “original” art.

One-of-a-kind artworks are growing in popularity while limited edition prints aren’t growing as fast. We’re also seeing growth in aerial portraiture, capturing subjects from an aerial vantage point. Our artists Warren Keating and Jim Zwadlo demonstrate this trend really well.

The Instagram phenomenon is sparking a post-production effect trend in photography, while we’re also seeing clients gravitate towards peaceful pieces like landscapes and seascapes. Artwork created in a series where each piece has a subtle variation, is really popular, such as painting the same landscape at different times of day in different lighting.  John Diehl captures this trend well in his Clearing series.

Hanging art in different areas, like the kitchen, are growing in popularity, and we’re seeing a rise in food still lifes too!

Happy art-hunting, womanistas! It’s one of the most creative, and personal touches you can add to your home. I hope you enjoy the process of finding beautiful artistic expression!

xo, the Womanista

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7 Responses to “Womanista Decor: Buying Art that Speaks to You” Subscribe

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  4. Amanda July 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    i have become obsessed with UGallery, thanks so much for the reco!!!

  5. Veronica S May 7, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    LOVE this! And LOVE the painting!

  6. Katie May 6, 2013 at 7:02 am #

    Great info …. I will feel more empowered from now on.

    • Woman May 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

      Thanks, Katie!! xo

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