Pip McGarry lone snow leopard 2013a 24 by 18insAs any art lover or enthusiast will know there’s nothing quite like owning an original piece of art. For shrewd investors, buying original art can even offer potential returns especially if you happen to select the future Damien Hirsts or Tracey Emins.

The majority of people buy art because they fall in love with a particular painting and simply need it in their lives. Over time the artist, and demand for their work, may grow in popularity and the piece could become an investment – which is a bonus. If you’re looking to buy art as an investment the first thing to do is your homework.

With over 1 million artists in the UK there’s a lot to choose from; so where on earth do you start?

Thanks to the myriad of galleries across the country, there’s plenty of opportunities for art collectors to sample fresh talent alongside well-known artists. Gallery owners carefully curate exhibitions which appeal to their clientele, which is why many choose to capitalise on their surroundings by supporting local talent.

Buying from a gallery 

There are many advantages to buying art as an investment from a gallery. You can look at the works of art directly and compare and contrast a lot of different pieces and their prices.  Some people may feel intimated by the whole gallery experience, but there’s no need. Speak to the owner and find out what’s selling well; they’ll be happy to chat to you, especially if you’re as enthusiastic as they are!

Lion Cub in Tree 36 by 20ins 2014

A few tips for buying art as an investment 

If possible, buy early in an artist’s career when they are beginning to be shown in public spaces. Once they’ve come of age (artistically speaking) they’re usually in the position to command good prices with opportunities for resale.

Get to know the artist directly. If the gallery owner is aware of which artists you’re interested in they may offer to add you to their database or mailing list for future events. Preview events and open evenings are a chance to meet the artist in person – get chatting and make them aware of your interest in buying. If you become a regular collector you may be offered ‘sneak peeks’ or a chance to buy before others.

DEMAND = VALUABLE. What makes art valuable is DEMAND. Artists sometimes only produce a small body of work but if there is the right sort of buzz amongst the right sort of people, he or she will have greater success than a much more prolific artist.

Don’t be put off by the research. All this preliminary work may seem like a chore but educating yourself is the best way to start, especially if you’re unsure about exactly what it is that you are looking for.

For more advice on buying art as an investment speak to Jan in the gallery or drop her an email theframe@btinternet.com

Images courtesy of international wildlife artist Pip McGarry. To view the latest collection from this awe-inspiring artist join us for the Open Day of Pip’s new exhibition at The Frame on Saturday June 28th. ‘The Great McGarry’ runs from 28th June until 12th July 2014.