Art Search 2: Digging through the junk

As I feared, searching for affordable art is quite a slog.  There is plenty of art out there, but that is not necessarily a good thing.  Most online art marketplaces are uncurated meaning that anyone with a brush and a canvas can sell their works (Artfinder, Vango, Koonzt – I’m looking at you).  The result is that, especially at the low end of the market, there is a ton of junk.

Saatchi is a bit better, but at my low price point there is still a ton of [what I consider rather generic] stuff like this piece for $262 (20×16, by Ronald Halfant here):


After digging through page after page I did find a few that I liked, such as this for $270 (7×7, by Siri Tenden here):


But even that seems a bit unoriginal* and at only 7.5 inches square I don’t think I could pull the trigger.

Next time I’ll post some of the pieces I’ve found via my Twitter network.

* Sorry, I sound like a total art snob.  Anytime I criticize someone else’s art I feel terrible – heck, I probably couldn’t paint anything like the two pieces I posted here, and I’m sure plenty of people would be totally unimpressed by my own art.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve spent a lot of time over the last year looking online for art and I just feel that I see the same things over and over again, and often I don’t find it very inspiring.  But hey – that’s just me, and I’m no art critic!  As always, fell free to let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Get To Know – Dyanna Dimick

Dyanna Dimick’s art is fun and quirky but it also draws me in and gives me something to think about.  I love how she combines abstract forms with clear graphic shapes and images.  She delivers plenty of what I tend to like about abstract work – color, shape, depth, and contrast communicating with the viewer – and she amplifies that with different techniques and materials.  I’ve seen plenty of artists who use a broad swirling brush stroke technique and pop a little figure on top…  Dimick’s work seems somehow more narrative and intriguing.  I get the sense that there is a story happening somewhere and her paintings give me just a glimpse of the action.  Good stuff!

DyannaDimick6 DyannaDimick7      DyannaDimick3 DyannaDimick1 DyannaDimick2 DyannaDimick4

Dyanna Dimick –

Check her out on Twitter and see more of her work for sale (pretty affordable!) here and here and here.

San Francisco, CA

* all images taken from

Art Search 1: Buying my first original

I’ve been a fan of art for a long time. I’ve made art for a couple decades now. Nearly every wall in my home has some piece of art on it (some of it mine, some given to me, and some prints). And yet it only recently occurred to me that I have never purchased an original work of art.

Why not? I’m not really sure. Buying an original seems like a big investment, and not just financially speaking. What if I pick the wrong piece? What if the artist I choose isn’t really that talented? Will everyone who sees it think I’m crazy? Is it too pretentious to hang “real” art in my home?

I realize that these are stupid questions. If I like a piece of art and I feel it contributes to my home then it is a worthwhile purchase. Millions of Americans, myself included, have spent tens of thousands of dollars remodeling our homes. We feel empowered to choose the right kitchen backsplash tile, the right flooring style, the right paint colors and light fixtures. We spend thousands of dollars on pure aesthetics without giving it a second thought.

Anyway, I think the time has finally come. I’m going to buy my first original. My bank account is not exactly overflowing at the moment, but if I wait until I’m rich, well, I may be waiting a long time. I’m going to set a budget of $300 – I’ll try to compensate by spending a little less on Christmas presents this year. I’m open to paintings, drawings, sculpture… anything, really. I’ll chronicle my search in future posts, and feel free to make suggestions (including pitching your own art!) in the comments or on Twitter (@vailandyoung).

Get To Know – Rebecca Appleby

I really enjoy looking at Rebecca Appleby’s paintings, ceramics, and other sculpture.  I love the shapes and forms which makes me think of the kind of industrial “junk” I used to see in my dad’s metalshop.  I love the color palette – some of her paintings remind me of the inside of a dumpster (in a good way, in the way that years of abuse and rust and all kinds of stains make a design that is quite beautiful).  Really cool stuff all around.

RebeccaAppleby5  RebeccaAppleby6  RebeccaAppleby1 RebeccaAppleby2 RebeccaAppleby3 RebeccaAppleby4

Rebecca Appleby –

More here, here, and on Twitter as well.

Leeds, UK

* all images taken from

Get To Know – Angela Smith

In general I tend to prefer abstract art over more figurative stuff.  I find that the combination color and line and shape can be incredibly powerful without needing to depict any thing in particular.  Angela Smith’s work combines the best of both worlds.  She tends to give her viewers a subject – human, animal, etc – but gets there using various methods of abstraction.  The creature-ish nature of her work is beautifully offset by the brightness and even cheerfulness of her color palette.  There is a whimsy and a mystery to her subjects.  And beyond that, the abstract techniques she uses to create her figures lends an additional meaning to those figures…  faces that have contrasting colors running throughout them, dismorphic bodies with eyes or other features made up of negative spaces, etc.  Really interesting stuff!

AngelaSmith4 AngelaSmith5 AngelaSmith6 AngelaSmith3

AngelaSmith1 AngelaSmith2

Angela Smith –

See more images here

And catch up with her on Twitter


* all images take from

Get To Know – Alberto Bustos

I’m pretty comfortable with 2-dimensional art.  I have spent a fair amount of time studying art history, and I’ve done a fair amount of drawing and painting and 2-d mixed media.  I know what I like – I know what elements of a 2-d piece draw me in.

I don’t have much experience with sculpture.  The work of Alberto Bustos, however, really resonates with me.  Putting aside for a moment the incredible construction of these pieces – and there are tons of awesome workshop/process photos on his website –  there is so much to like.  The colors are fantastic.  There is a sense of direction and movement, hard and soft…  I love it all.

AlbertoBustos5 AlbertoBustos6AlbertoBustos1   AlbertoBustos3 AlbertoBustos4

Alberto Bustos –

And on Twitter here

Valladolid, Spain

* all images taken from

Get To Know – Andrew Bird

As an artist myself I often experiment with combining “tube colors” (straight from the tube, unmixed) with colors that I mix myself.  In general the more I mix colors together, the less intense they become.  This leads to some interesting variety of value, can create depth, etc (well, when done by a skilled painter it can work that way…  when I do it, I meet with mixed results).

Andrew Bird’s paintings are the kind of thing I’m aspiring to.  He has tremendous variety of color value, spacing, depth, perspective, and when I look at his work I can’t help but think of what colors of paint he started with.  Add to this the effects he gets by layering colors and then sometimes removing top layers to expose color underneath.  Great stuff.

AndrewBird1 AndrewBird6 AndrewBird2 AndrewBird3

AndrewBird5 AndrewBird4

Andrew Bird –

More images here

Derbyshire, UK

*all images taken from