Our new series Apartment Living 101 is aimed at helping New Yorkers navigate the challenges of creating a happy home in the big city. This week we explore ten great places to buy affordable, yet beautiful art.
In New York, we spend the bulk of our finances on our apartments, leaving little left in the budget for designer decor. But it can get quite dreary looking at those blank eggshell colored walls for months and months, especially during the colder seasons when we’re stuck inside. So with fall officially in gear, it’s time to kick off the lower temperatures with some great art. With the cash-strapped New Yorker in mind, 6sqft has put together a list of ten great places–local shops, online resources, and markets–that’ll allow you to give your walls an added boost without breaking the bank.
1. Etsy ↑
Brooklyn-based Etsy has become the internet metropolis for all things crafty. From vintage clothing to an antique tea set, the site has everything to offer a client craving something unique. If you peruse the site a little further, Etsy is also a hub for artists to share and sell their work. Sure, it’s higher on the craft end than the fine art end, but there are still some gorgeous finds, including drawings, paintings, and small decorative objects. As an added bonus, the vendors tend to be extremely informative and helpful in assisting you with your purchase from start to finish.
2. Society6 ↑
According to the company, “the artwork on Society6 is created by hundreds of thousands of artists from around the world,” and judging by their inventory this isn’t an exaggeration. Some of the most inventive international artists and designers provide their original works to Society6 who then reprints them with high-quality materials and sends them right to your door. Wall art, tapestries, and fun knickknacks for your home are all available and the majority of the proceeds go directly to the artist.
3. Fab.com ↑
Fab.com is one of the premier outlets for wall art. Most of these prints don’t come with frames, but there’s an incredible collection of vintage prints and sizable decorative works. Whether you’re interested in a graphic design or something more scenic, Fab has got you covered and provides top-notch service from top-notch vendors. Plus, the site almost always has some kind of deal to help you save money.
4. University or Art School Exhibitions ↑
Go to a college to buy art? While we all crave a Warhol or a van Gogh on our walls, college students spend their time learning about these artists and have been trained to practice in a similar masterful fashion. Maybe their work hasn’t appeared in a stellar museum or gallery, but this just means you’ll have a true original on your walls. No matter where you live, if you look up the students in art programs or check out university galleries for upcoming exhibitions, you’re bound to find work that you never expected to encounter. If you live in New York City, some great places to find student work include School of Visual Arts, Parsons the New School, and Pratt Institute (to name a few).
5. Bushwick ↑
It may not be as affordable to live in Bushwick as it once was, but it’s become a metropolis for emerging artists in New York, with countless galleries and artists living and working in this vibrant part of town. From graffiti murals to paintings, Bushwick really has so much to offer. There are daily openings at galleries, studios, and even bars, where artists showcase their newest creations. And each spring, volunteer organization Arts in Bushwick puts on the three-day festival called Bushwick Open Studios, which is New York’s largest open studios event.
6. Brooklyn Flea ↑
Every weekend, Brooklynites are blessed with the Brooklyn Flea, a place where all kinds of artisans bring their prized craft goods, selling things such as clothing, jewelry, vintage finds, and more. From fine wood work to vintage signs and tapestries to funky frames, the Flea has nearly everything one could offer in terms of home decor; they even have plants, which is also an easy way to spruce up the appearance of your living spaces.
7. Tiny Showcase ↑
Tiny Showcase is a website that promotes emerging and established artists. Not only can viewers check out some incredible work from upcoming creative folks, but they can purchase impressive works in an affordable setting. Perusing through the site, it feels like they’ve created the environment for visitors to envision how these works would look within the comfort if their own homes. With a great mix of modern works, graphics, and fun little doodles, Tiny Showcase is a great place to see work that’s on the forefront of current trends. Even better, a tiny portion of your purchase goes to a charity of the artist’s choosing so you can support an artist, decorate your home AND contribute to a fantastic charity all at the same time.
RAW is an arts organization for artists by artists, which provides emerging artists with the tools, resources, and exposure needed to persist in their creative endeavors. They host events all over the world, and lucky for us, there are two New York events coming up: one on November 15th at the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan and another on November 19th at the Wick in Brooklyn. Since these artists are still young in their careers, the works exhibited are highly affordable and worth every bit of public support. You can view a full list of events and artists here.
9. Ikea ↑
Believe it or not, the giant furniture superstore is a great place to buy affordable art. After weaving through all of their showrooms, your brain starts cooking up ways to incorporate all of the designs and pieces you’ve just encountered. Towards the end of the showroom tour, there are several rooms with many decorative pieces, including Warhol-inspired prints, a variety of floral arrangements, black and white photo series, and usually one or two city scenes. And the prices are as low as they come.
Seven Grams Caffe in Chelsea
10. Coffee Shops and Cafes ↑
Team 6sqft recently grabbed lunch at the Grey Dog Cafe on University Place, where the walls are filled with art works from local artists and organizations, including some funky pieces made from thousands of collaged metrocards. This is not the only cafe that hangs art on their walls, but it’s often easy to overlook this element when rushing in for your morning cup of joe. If you find something you like, ask the barista or cafe server about it and perhaps they can guide you in the right direction to bring it into your home.
Do you have any personal space-saving tips to share? Tell us in the comments below.
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