Fall in love with art before you buy it says St Ives gallery director

woman in red hanging the art pictures on wall at home

Let your taste, style and what you find inspiration in guide you when buying art for your home. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Zita Whalley speaks to Victoria Mudge, founder and director of St Ives fine art and contemporary craft gallery VK Gallery, about choosing art for your home. 

I want to buy some art for my home. Where should I start?  
It's always best to start by visiting shops and galleries which may inspire you and display artworks that you like. 

You can also begin at home by looking at what you currently have, as that will reveal your interest: do you like looking at flowers and floral scenes, or lovely landscapes or perhaps the coast or a seascape might be your cup of tea? 

How will I make sure the art will fit in with my interior scheme?  
To ensure the art fits in with your home, look at your current interior: do you like it? Do you want to try something different?

The art doesn't have to 'fit in' but putting a bright abstract painting in your living room, when it has calming pastel landscapes, is perhaps a jump too far. 

Nevertheless, the abstract painting may look amazing in your hallway!  If you love it, there will be a place for it in your home. 

A design of three birds flying over a large lake with mountains in the background.

Eiders Wing North, a print by Nina Sage, one of the artists represented by VK Gallery. - Credit: VK Gallery

I haven’t worked out where I’m going to put it yet. Does this matter?

No, certainly not! It's best to find something that you feel a connection to. 

Where you place the artwork will come to you. It doesn't have to be straight away! (I still have artwork which I've not yet placed on the wall!) 

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How do I care for my art once I have it at home? 

Talk to the venue you purchased it from regarding caring for it. 

The general rules are: not to place it in direct sunlight, dust with a feather duster (if a canvas) or use a glass cleaner (if framed with glass). Don't put paintings or limited edition prints above radiators - unless you've a radiator shelf. 

If you find little black flies (thunderflies) under the glass, then take it to a picture framer for them to clean it properly. Don't attempt to take it apart and do it yourself! 

Should I be thinking about how the artwork will fit with future art purchases?  

Try not to think about future purchases when selecting the current artwork. Stick to what makes you feel connected to it, brings you emotion, and that you'll be happy to continue to look at in the years to come. 

A metal, circular sculpture that details birds nestled in flowers

A sculpture by Jeni Cairns, who is also represented by VK Gallery. - Credit: VK Gallery

Do you have any advice for buying art online?  

Unfortunately, all galleries and studios are closed to the public at the moment, but the majority of us do have websites and online shops. 
If the photos of the artwork are of good quality and a description of the item is available, then you should be able to make an informative decision on your purchases. 

For the foreseeable future, this looks like it will be the first port of call when shopping for artwork, just like it is when we buy clothes and furniture. It is looking like visiting the physical venues will be the second step, or final part of the decision process for most customers. 

What about buying at an auction?  

Auction houses take fees, so a £50 bid will not be £50 when you go to pay as there will be an auction fee on top of that - and that's if you are successful in your bid! 

Shopfront of VK Gallery in St Ives

VK Gallery is a fine art and contemporary craft gallery offering ceramics, glass and sculpture alongside paintings and limited edition prints. - Credit: VK Gallery

How much should I spend?  

When it comes to spending, it differs for each of us. Think of it this way: how much will you spend on your new TV? That won't last for more than 10 years, however, your new artwork will last a lifetime. 

Any other advice?  

Ask questions, enjoy the experience and fall in love with the art before you buy it.