Advice for First Time Art Buyers

Despite what you may have heard, buying art for the first time is surprisingly easy and affordable. For those about to take the plunge, here are a few pointers.


A few things to keep in mind when looking to buy art for the first time:

Artists have many costs beyond the making of their art. Juries charge a small fee whether they’re accepted to a show or not, then another one once in. Outdoor shows require tent and grid rentals in addition to an exhibition fee. Galleries often charge for space, or take a percentage (up to 50%) of the sale. An artist must pay for the opportunity to show you their work, and that factors into their prices.

Most artists produce work in a wide range of price points. This is done specifically for first time buyers. If a piece is less than $100, then chances are, they aren’t really making much off the sale. They’re doing it to be accessible.

Original, one-of-a-kind art can often be bought for the same price as an IKEA print, or dinner for two.

Being an artist is EXTREMELY tough. Even when buying their cheapest piece, you are making a HUGE difference in their lives.

If a price point is beyond your immediate means, an artist will almost always allow you pay in installments. All you have to do is ask.

While you can always ask about paying in installments, NEVER ask for a discount. Artists put a lot of thought into their prices, and (as discussed above) they have a ton of costs beyond labor and materials – which are also expensive.

Art is valuable even if there’s no financial return on your investment. Buy it because you love it. Buy it because you support small businesses.

Toronto the Good

From politics to popular culture (and all points in between), artistic inspiration is everywhere. Of all my influences, the city of Toronto is among the biggest.


ABOVE: David McDonough, Old School, digital photograph

BELOW: David McDonough, Up, digital photograph

I love Toronto. I’ve lived here for almost 15 years, and I honestly couldn’t see myself living anywhere else. Recently, the city has become more than just a home, it’s become a muse.

When I moved here, my biggest influence was the Group of Seven, and the majority of my work was nature-based. Since then, I’ve grown more urban, and so has my art. This is due, in part, to gallery hopping, but mostly, it is the result of random wanderings, and day-to-day experiences.

As I continue to evolve as an artist, it’s likely my art will too. No matter where it takes me, there will always be a piece of Toronto within it.