I’ve been a professional designer for 20 years. I love design and would never have imagined spending my own hard earned cash on something so frivolous as art, but when you’re about to spend $35,000 on a project it’s time to open your mind up and think outside the box.
Trying to decide which piece of artwork to buy or not purchase can be quite frustrating. There are so many options out there and most times they all look good. You can’t really go wrong with any of them. I had no idea what I was doing at first, but after much research, some trial and error and a little bit of luck I’ve managed to figure out what works for me.
**Here are 4 lessons I learned from spending $35,000 on custom made canvas artwork:
1.) Quality is everything
2.) Cheap is expensive
3.) Be honest with yourself and your tastes
4.) Trust your gut feeling!**
I’ve spent around $35,000 on canvas artwork since I started blogging. And while I never set out to buy expensive custom made canvases, I did spend the money hoping the pieces would make my home look better, and that people would notice them.
Because of this, I’ve learned a lot about what makes a piece of art worth buying. And there are some surprising lessons in all of this…
A few months ago, I decided to make a change in my life and buy a bunch of expensive canvas artwork for my home. After setting aside a budget of $35,000, I hired an artist to create a variety of different pieces for me. The result was that I learned a lot about custom made art as well as myself. Here are some of the lessons I learned from this experience:
I am going to tell you some things that will save you thousands of dollars if you are planning to buy custom made art.
I work at an art gallery and I have a blog where I write about the lessons learned from buying expensive artworks. Here are four of the most important lessons:
1) Buying expensive art doesn’t make you cool or smart, it makes you look like an idiot.
2) If you want something to look expensive, don’t buy it from artists; go to retail stores that already have a reputation for selling nice things and pay 95% less.
3) The reason artists charge so much is not because they need the money, but because they like being able to say no to people.
4) If you are going to buy custom made art, get a contract that makes the artist more responsible for its quality than if it were mass produced in China and sold on Amazon.com.
It’s always risky to invest in a new product. You don’t know if it’s going to work. But if you’re willing to stake your future on your ability to make something new, you will be rewarded.
I started a company called Zazzle in 2004 that allowed users to create custom products. I didn’t start the company with the intention of building a big business. I just wanted to create some cool stuff and learn how to build a website. But it turns out people really liked what we made and they wanted more.
But there were problems with scaling production and maintaining quality control. The solution was outsourcing, but where? One of my former classmates from Stanford recommended working with a factory in China that he used for his own startup.
I was skeptical but decided to take the plunge and give it a try. Within six months, we had $35,000 worth of custom art shipped from China—and it was horrible! There were spelling errors and logos that weren’t centered correctly, among other problems. I felt like I had been scammed and was about to lose everything I had worked so hard for—my career, my house, everything!
I thought about giving up but then I realized that I’d already spent $35,000 on
I had no idea how to buy original art but I was pretty sure I could do better than the artwork my graphic designer friends and I made for our bands’ album covers. My musicians friends were making fun of me for being an uncool poseur with my new hobby. I was determined to prove them wrong.
The next time my band’s album needed a cover, we sent a photo of it to one of the print shops in town. The owner took our photo and, with his employee’s help, cut and pasted the same photo onto a bunch of canvases, hand painted black lines around them and then sent us back photos for us to pick from. We paid him $50 for each one.
It looked terrible. It did not look professional at all, like the album covers on CD stores which all looked like paintings. Mine looked like some kind of amateur computer game cover that a bored kid in art class might doodle up after school to impress his friends.
We were deeply disappointed but we decided we wanted to work with this guy again because he was so nice and he seemed highly motivated to please us by offering to try again or refund our money if we didn’t like the next batch. We gave him another shot so he could learn from
We had been saving for our wedding for four years and we were really excited to get married. The only problem was that we had spent all our money on the wedding, there was nothing left over for a honeymoon. We both wanted to go somewhere tropical and relaxing, but it would have to wait a few years.
Tina’s Dad works for a big oil company and he gave us some free airline tickets to Hawaii as a wedding gift. We got married in October so this is the time of year when you can get cheap plane tickets to Hawaii. So my wife Tina and I went to Honolulu on our free airline tickets that her dad gave us as a gift.
I had been to Honolulu once before on a business trip, but I don’t remember much about it except that I liked it. It’s a great vacation spot with lots of bars and restaurants and shops. I was excited about going back there with my new wife!
While we were in Honolulu we decided we would spend some time shopping for art work because we thought it would make a good souvenir from our honeymoon. We found an art gallery that had lots of nice paintings by local artists at really good prices, so we bought quite a few pieces.
One of the paintings we bought is