Discount Art

The Village, 30x40, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

Discount on art? Now there’s a title you don’t want to see if you are an artist. Good art is never discounted! It’s unique, one of a kind treasure, like gold nuggets, like diamonds! Yes, yes and yes! Yet, still, there are a few secrets of a savvy art buyer that I dare to share.

But before I move on to the juicy stuff, let me get one thing out of the way – discount art that I’m talking about is NOT sold by artists behind the back of their galleries. Don’t even think of it! Artists who sell their art through galleries are in a business relationship held by trust (and signed in writing), that all sales withhold the same market price, which guarantees that all buyers get the same value.

So where do discounts happen?

1. Fundraisers

 These are the events organized typically by a non-profit organization where artists donate their paintings, and donors either bid on them or purchase a ticket that guarantees them a piece of art. In the atmosphere of generosity, art typically finds homes for less than its market value, and artists typically put their best foot forward, so you can find some real beauties. The trick is to find quality fundraisers, curated by someone who knows their art. Yep, I can recommend one, I’m glad you asked.  Federation of Canadian Artists has an annual fundraiser called Paintings By Numbers, which is regularly a sellout, so hurry up to get your ticket. 

2. Art workshops

The best hidden secret in the art world. Art instructors demonstrate their techniques in art classes and workshops, and the resulting paintings often get sold to the students for a fraction of their real value. Many workshops, especially the ones that take place in beautiful locations where artists and students get to paint outdoors, organize a show and sell exhibition on the last day. The secret is that some very good artists sometimes congregate and organize workshops resulting in fantastic exhibitions. Artists are overjoyed by the whole experience, and thoroughly wined and cheesed, so they tend to put small numbers on the price labels. There is some wonderful art to be had this way. Look for art events in places with strong art communities, typically in late summer, slightly out of season when hotel rates drop.

3. Galleries

Even art is subject to the challenges of logistics, so when a gallery goes through a relocation, hundreds of paintings need to get moved, which you can imagine is a huge task. In an attempt to quickly decrease the stock, the gallery may organize a show and sale event and the artists try to help by agreeing to a discount during a limited time period. This happens once in a blue moon, and the blue moon is in Whistler between August 3-10, 2015 here.  My advice would be to try and catch it because it’s not going to happen again any time soon!