Art and culture

Art expert Lily Ackerman on buying art

March 13, 2020

As founder and director of Ackerman Studios, a London-based art consultancy, Lily is our go-to art expert. Here she shares her top tips on finding the right art for your home.

Clarissa James

Act on instinct

A lot of careful research goes into choosing art but often the final decision ends up being an instinctive one. Art is, by its very nature, an emotional experience and how we react when we see a new piece says a lot. It’s not about what anyone else thinks, it’s how you feel as you’re the one who’s going to be living with it.

For love not investment

Buying for investment alone is a tricky business; the secret therefore is to buy what really resonates with you. My own collection consists of things I love and have a personal connection with, like a memento of a much-loved holiday. I confess it’s not always love at first sight though. Sometimes it’s only when an artist talks you through their thinking that you change your perception.

Benjamin Shine

Anna Masters

Build up a rapport

Discover an artist whose work you admire then find out who represents them and visit the galleries they work with. This way you’re more likely to find things you like as you’re dealing with people with similar tastes. The same is true when you get to know an art dealer or consultant. They know when artists are working on new projects and can get you invites to private views, so it’s worth building these relationships.

Go to galleries

Galleries and art shows are a great way to see lots of different styles and mediums. For example, the annual Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition in London is well worth a visit as it shows a collection of emergent art from the UK’s established and alternative art programmes. I also think graduate shows are well worth visiting for discovering fresh talent and there’s always the thrill that you’ll be the one to find the next big artist.

Jill Berelowitz

Consider your budget

It’s a good idea to be clear about your budget if you have one because this will help dealers and consultants focus on what you’ll be interested in. Most galleries won’t negotiate on price but there’s no harm in asking about other opportunities, such as invitations to gallery events or a chance to meet the artist.

All in the framing

How artworks are framed can make all the difference. Galleries often play it safe so it’s worth getting to know a local framer. If you show them a photo of the work you have in mind they can suggest creative ideas. Always go for UV glass to help minimise sun damage, while museum quality glass will give you the least reflections.

Zhuang Hong Yi

Find your own style

When looking for art it’s important to consider where it might live in your home. For example, you may have a minimalist look but that means you could opt for a huge statement canvas. If you usually prefer paintings try considering photography, wall hangings and sculpture. It usually pays to mix things up so don’t be afraid to experiment a little and create a real ‘wow’ factor.

Fabulous feature wall

If you’re planning a selection of difference pieces on one wall, lay things out on the floor until you find an arrangement you like. Try working with about seven similar size pieces as you can always add more at a later date. Decide the area you want to cover and start from the middle and work out. Careful planning means you won’t end up with holes in your wall where you don’t want them!

Kirk Mechar

Lily Ackerman Lily Ackerman

I hope this inspires you to look at art in a new light and wish you every success in filling your home with artistic delights that give you pleasure every day. For more inspiration look out for the regular art exhibitions at 45 Park Lane or contact Ackerman Studios and I’ll be happy to help you personally.

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