THINGS TO ASK YOURSELF WHEN ART SHOPPING
First off, I love that so many people value investing in local art. It is a beautiful way to find something unique for yourself while investing in and getting to know the artists of your community. The process of selecting art is such a personal experience - here's some things to think about when shopping for art:
If something catches your eye, notice how it makes you FEEL. Gut reactions (and even gasps) are pretty clear indicators that a piece has struck something within you, even if you don't know why. Maybe it reminds you of a childhood memory, a previous travel, a loved one... whatever it is, pay attention to the emotions that piece brings up for you. That's what it will make you feel every time you look at it, and if that's a feeling you want more of, then bingo.
Would you be upset if you came back and it was gone? Research shows that art collectors tend to look at a piece on average 7 times before they decide to buy. You might walk around while you think about it, but know there's a chance it might not be there when you get back. Notice how you feel when you honestly ask yourself how you'd react if that was the case.
What's the story behind the piece? There's the surface of what the finished piece looks like, but then there's a whole backstory of not only the artistic process it took to create it, but the meaning/story behind it. If you are intrigued by an artwork, ask the artist to tell you more about it. In the case of abstract art, the meanings are not so obvious. I notice when the symbolism is uncovered, another dimension is exposed, allowing a deeper connection to the art.
Ask if payment installments are an option. If there's a piece you fall in love with, don't let the price necessarily deter you. For larger ticket pieces, it might be possible to pay in monthly installments (well, yes, actually I do, thanks for asking). Consider that art is an investment and will likely stay with you for you to enjoy way longer than your sofa, your car or wardrobe.
Well, hope that helps and happy art hunting!