stephmodo: Growing an Original Art Collection on a Budget

Growing an Original Art Collection on a Budget

• 13 June 2012

A couple of months ago, a few artists and art collectors who attend the same congregation as I do, hosted an "evening of the arts".  The room was packed and I left feeling like my evening was definitely well spent.  Recently one of the artists who shared her story that evening, Jenny Vorwaller (also mentioned here), posted a link to an article about why it's important (and easier-on-the-wallet) to collect art from emerging artists.  I love this subject and wanted to share a few personal thoughts with you after reading the piece.

Perhaps the point I appreciate most is the author's stance that collecting art is not just for those who are "well off"--not everyone needs to collect Picassos!  Collecting art is certainly an endeavor that can be successfully executed on a budget.  I have a handful of little, original pieces and most of them were purchased for an extremely reasonable price on Etsy, Big Cartel or off the street.  In fact, one of my favorites is a small painting my husband and I bought from an artist set up in San Francisco's Washington Park.  You see, the value of an original work of art is not related to a fancy price tag or location.  If a piece of art speaks to you and it's only $5, then it's a worthwhile purchase.  So you spend more on the be it (tips on that here).  Art is not to be judged on its price tag, but rather on how it makes you feel.  Does the piece of art calm you?  Give you energy?  Excite you?  Evoke a positive memory?  These are the types of questions you want to ask yourself before acquiring an original work.

Of course acquiring art is a personal experience and not everyone will love and appreciate the same type of art.  But in case you're looking for some inspiration to get you started, I'd like to share a few artists that I love.  If there are any emerging (or established) artists that you know if, feel free to share in the comments.  Thanks!

Katherine Sandoz  |  Lauren Adams  |  Linda Donahue  |  Jenny Vorwaller  |  Paul Ferney  |  Kelly Neidig  |  Chad Wys

image 1 - Katherine Sandoz  |  image 2 - a painting by Jenny Vorwaller  |  image 3 - Lauren Adams  |  image 4 - Paul Ferney


  1. Ok, I understood! ) Merci)

  2. What a brilliant post. I already found a lovely piece from your earlier write up on Jenny Vorwaller. Thank you for the tip!

    Also I contacted Katherine and her link for purchasing pieces is at:

  3. I love this post. Thank you! I have been on the hunt for beautiful affordable art for some time now.

  4. Your home is one of the best examples I have EVER seen of a carefully curated and exquisite, *original* art collection that you would never know wasn't in the thousands of dollars budget - you've even nudged me to branch out some more and set aside some of my earnings to add to my home collection again.

    I think in talking to many of my clients, and so many of us budget decorators settle for prints or posters because we feel that we just cannot afford the "real" thing... but you not only prove otherwise, you pull it off and make it look effortless. I think a big part of this is how you have chosen to hang your pieces too - somehow all the work that you've collected over the years from travels and places you've lived come together seamlessly - in similar palette, framing choices... it's gorgeous. I'm proud to be among it!

    I just want to sincerely thank you, again! for your incredible support in my work. It means so much and is such a surprise to wake up to. xo

    Off to paint... :)

  5. This is such an interesting topic, and a great post. I'm always fascinated by people saying they can't have art in their homes because they cannot afford it. Everyone seems to assume that it's useless unless it's expensive. Thanks for this!

  6. Hi, I'm a longtime reader though I rarely comment but i just had to when I read this post! My best friend from childhood is an amazing artist from the san francisco area. You can check out her work here or here


  7. What a timely post. I just purchased an original piece of artwork yesterday and was lamenting at the fact that so many people say they can't afford originial. Although the art I just purchased wasn't the least inexpensive piece I've purchased, it certainly didn't break the bank.

    In fact, you may like her work. You can check it out here:

    You may also like:
    I'm hoping to add a piece from her in the near future, just waiting for one to speak with me.

    And finally (!) I love Lauren Adams too. I've purchased from her and she's so friendly and I get so many compliments about her work!

  8. Valentina, hooray!

    Miranda, you're right--that's definitely a better link for purchasing. Thanks!

    Katie, I hope you find something that speaks to you!

    Jenny, it's my pleasure--always is!

    Dervla, you hit the nail on the head!

    Nicole, I checked out Samantha's work--she has some really beautiful pieces! Thanks so much for sharing.

    Sarah, I love Alexis' works on paper--gorgeous. I want one! :) Also, Mallory's pieces are super lovely as well. Very Helen Frankenthaler-esque, which I just love. I appreciate you sharing!

  9. One other artist I really like is Aaron Coleman.

    Interesting medium and a very geological vibe.

  10. I too appreciate this post. You've definitely introduced me to a few artists, and I am slowly adding unique pieces to our home.

    But after reading the comments I am very curious about Jenny's comments and how exactly you blend your pieces. This is something I have been thinking about lately as I acquire more since some fit well together while others don't. It seems like a great topic for another blog post.

    On a side note: one my favorite artist is Ester Dean, she tends to paint the area/island where I grew up. You can see some of work here

    I just bought a small piece for $40, thought that was totally reasonable.

  11. Hi, can you tell me, where did you purchase the blue rug in the photo?

  12. Anon, it's the Fallon Rug. Google it and you'll see lots of places to purchase one (and more colors too!).

  13. This is a great post! I also believe that collecting pieces from emerging artists is very important, and it's not as intimidating or expensive as people might think. You are right - finding something that speaks to you is enough. :)

    I would like to share my partner's art. His Fangs series is my particular favorite, and he just set up his Etsy store!


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