ARTisSpectrum Vol.35, May 2016

21 ARTisSpectrum | Volume 35 | artisspectrum.com cult and intimidating to approach an artist that you do not know and ask more about their work. Here are some tips on how to meet artists and set up studio visits: Most of the time, artists will be present at their own gallery openings , and although they will likely be surrounded by friends and family who are there for support, artists are often very open to discussing their work with potential buyers. If you have a serious interest, speak with a gallery associate about the artist's work and see if they can point out the artist for you, or perhaps even introduce you. If you like the artist and their work, see if they have a studio space nearby and if they are open to visitors. A lot of artists use social media to promote their artwork, mainly on Facebook and Instagram. Searching for the type of art you are interested in is incredibly easy on both platforms. You can search for something as simple as "paintings" or "sculptures," use hashtags, or even search for artists in your city in order to find something that you’ll love. Many art gal- leries also have social media platforms, where they often link to their artist's personal pages. Contacting the artist through social media may not be the best way to get in touch be- cause they likely receive hundreds of likes and messages daily, so look for an email address or website contact form that you can use to reach out. It can take a little time to find exactly what you're looking for, but the payoff can be great. One way to meet a lot of artists at once is to attend open studios at art houses and collectives. A simple Google search can show you if there are any in your area, and checking out the collective's website will reveal if and when they host open studios. Here you can ask the artist questions about their work, their process, if they are represented, etc. The only downside to this method is that open studios can get very busy and crowded, and getting and maintaining the artist's attention can be difficult. If this is the case, you can always see if the artist is open to setting up a private meeting at a later date.  When you get the hang of the basics, you should start to think about what it takes to find that perfect piece (hint: it’s all about buying something that you love). Other galleries will often present a larger variety of artworks. This has its advantages, as well, as you can learn about new trends in artwork and constantly expose yourself to new things that you may enjoy. Agora Gallery, for example, reg- ularly holds collective exhibitions with a variety of different styles and media, but also has recurring exhibitions like “Il- lumination: An Exhibition of Fine Art Photography” or exhi- bitions organized by the country of origin of the artists. For specialized collectors, these exhibitions are very popular. However, for prospective buyers looking for varied collec- tions, general group shows can be fantastic opportunities to discover new artists and works. Art fairs are another great, low key place to purchase art- work. They happen all over the world throughout the year, so there are plenty of options. Check out ArtForum's Art- Guide ( http://www.artforum.com/guide) for a list of art fairs all around the world. Check out each fair's website before making plans to attend, as you can see if the fair is showing the type of work you are interested in, and if the works are in your price range. Some shows, like Frieze Masters in London or the European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht, focus on fine art of very high quality and in a higher price range. Other fairs, like the Affordable Art Fair, which takes place in multiple cit- ies throughout the year, provide more accessible works. The Affordable Art Fair in particular is a great fair to start at, since it happens throughout the year and hosts international gal- leries and dealers. Plus, the name says it all – the work is very affordable and great for first time buyers! Check out their website ( http://www.affordableartfair.com ) for a list of par- ticipating cities and dates.  Personally meeting the artist or visiting artist studios is an- other great way to get to know an artist and see how they work before you purchase a piece. However, it can be diffi- Artist Mark Schiff speaking with a guest at his 9/17 reception at Agora Gallery Artwork by Alana O’Hern

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