Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Buyers Guide to purchasing Art

This is a follow up to me are you a “Dipper or a Dripper” post.  I am active on Etsy and I have seen some rude and downright malicious behavior on selling sites.   I am a firm believer in satisfying a customer, but sadly there are some buyers out there that are not only unreasonable, but cruel.   

When buying a piece of art there are a few things you should consider.

·        BE KIND!  First art is subjective!  The artist is sharing their perspective and most importantly apart of their soul.   As an artist, I can tell you that this is frightening!  Art is like food, some items you like and some you don’t.   At a minimum, respect the artist’s courage for sharing their perspective and exposing their soul.

·        Understand that each artist has different levels of skill and experience.  There are artists who are just beginning to develop their craft and style.   Be supportive you never who is going to be our next Monet or Van Gogh.  Even these icons of art had to start somewhere and had to develop their craft.

·        Read the description thoroughly!  There is nothing more discouraging than having an item returned because the buyer did not take the time to read the description.  Do not buy an item based on the photograph.  Sellers painstakingly write descriptions to ensure you make an informed purchase.  A seller is always willing and happy to answer any questions you might have.  The last thing a seller wants is a return because you were not pleased with your purchase.  Although a seller attempts not to take it personally on some level, we do.

·        Consider the cost!  This is one of my main pet peeves.  We are in hard economic times, we are all pinching pennies, but before you complain about the price on a piece of art you must consider the time it took to create.  I always use sewing as an example.  Take for instance a hand-sewn quilt.  There are hundreds of hours involved in creating a quilt.  You would be astonished if you knew what the hourly rate that artist is actually making.  A majority of artists are making below minimum wage!  Artists are not high volume producers.  They are not a manufacturing company working on an assembly line and buying materials in bulk.  You are buying a handmade item for quality, artisanship and because you do not want a discount store item.   That being said, please don’t expect a discount store price.

·        Don’t assume the worst.  I do not know one artist that their sole purpose is to intentionally deceive you.  Misunderstandings are certain to happen.  Afford the artist the opportunity to rectify the misunderstanding. 

·        Leave thoughtful and constructive feedback.  Feedback is essential to an artist’s business.  If you are pleased with your purchase, take a few minutes to detail why.   If you are disappointed with your purchase, allow the seller to remedy the situation.   Again, a majority of your sellers are not trying to deceive or cheat you.  Stop and think how you would want to be treated in this situation.  How would you feel and react if were berated with malevolent comments?

·        Your seller sincerely wants happy customers.   Be constructive in your criticism.     Most people will not take a malicious comment seriously when reading.  If you sincerely want to share your disappointment do it constructively and respectfully.  The seller will take sincere corrective action for future orders.  Potential customers of this seller will also take your comments seriously.

·        Share your appreciation of art with others!   Artists cannot afford advertising.  You are their greatest hope for being noticed by others.   Follow, interact and share their FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, Etsy and other sites.    Website listings and rankings are based on followers and interaction!  Take a few moments to visit the sites, leave a comment or share a listing. 

I would like to leave you with one last thought.   Our artists are also historians!  They are leaving something for future generations to understand our society by.   Think about it….what do archeologist look for when on a dig?  They are looking for art left behind. Their great finds are  pottery, hieroglyphics and handmade tools.  Why?  This is how they learn about past civilizations.  How they lived and loved.  Who they were and what they were about.  The piece of art you purchased may be the key to understanding our society today hundreds of years from now.  You are not only buying art…….you are buying a piece of history! 

Take care,



  1. Well said, Mel. There's always a real person behind each piece of art.

  2. Very well written and we are all part of history. A part of us goes into each item we make and would hope the person buying it can see that.

  3. Just a wonderful post, full of great advice. thank you for sharing this