Art at Work: Insider info on collecting from gallery owner Teresa Roche



I’m so excited to introduce Teresa Roche to you.  Teresa owns and curates the beautiful Art & Light Gallery in Greenville, SC.  It’s such a treat to walk into A&L.  It’s bright and fresh, and the artwork has so much character and vibrancy.  Teresa has arranged the space perfectly, letting you feel like you’re exploring a wonderful collection of unique and beautiful things (and you are!)

Teresa has kindly agreed to demystify the art of art collecting.

Collecting artwork is so rewarding and wonderful, but it can be a little tricky at times.  It’s hard to connect with artists, decide how much you’re going to spend, and to find that perfect piece of artwork.   But when you do, it’s like finding an unexpected treasure.

Here are Teresa’s tips on collecting art:

1. What would you say to someone who would like to start an art collection but doesn’t have a large budget? Do you have any tips for them?
When people are just starting to collect and have a limited budget, I encourage them to start small.  There are so many wonderful pieces of art in the $25 – $100 range.  Even tho the pieces in that range are usually smaller, it’s important to buy the first piece and to feel the thrill of hanging it where you live or work — so much joy comes from meeting artists, connecting with them and living with art.  Once a person realizes how much fun it is to buy, collect and live with art, it’s easier for them to move on to larger pieces.  For those looking for something larger, you can still get really great larger pieces in the $300 – 700 range.  I encourage people to find something they really really love and to either make payments on it – like the old fashioned layaway plans (I do that at my gallery – layaway plans are great) – or simply tuck away a little money each month (you know, the kind of money you spend on Starbucks and other frivolous things) and save it for a great piece of art – it feels good to save for something you know you will live with and enjoy the rest of your life.


2. How can people learn more about art and connect with local artists?

A great way to learn more about the local art scene is to find out about gallery crawls and openings by connecting with local arts counsels.  Once you get on a couple of mailing lists, you will begin to make connections and find more information about art events around you. If you live near local colleges, you can look in to student art shows – a great way to get really good work at a great price too.

3. Have you noticed any trends in the art world today?  Do you think it’s ok to buy “trendy” artwork?
Honestly, I have noticed a trend towards collectors buying more abstract and non-representational work.  I think the trend is due to the trend in contemporary and modern living.  Color is really in demand as well.  As far as buying “trendy” artwork is concerned, I believe that people should buy what they love – whatever the style.  I personally tend to buy art work in neutrals to pair with bolder pieces – sometimes too many bold pieces in one space can be over-powering.  Collecting art is one thing, but hanging it and arranging it within a space is another thing…I think that placement is very important.
4. What advice would you give to a young artists trying to introduce their art to buyers and collectors? 
First, I would tell them to make enough work in the beginning to give people choices.  I  don’t usually show works from artists who have less then 50 pieces of work.  Starting with 50 pieces is a good goal.  Another reason for that it that if the work sells quickly, the gallery will be wanting more work – if you don’t have enough work, then you find yourself in a production situation where you’ve having a hard time keeping up.  As a gallery owner, I always hope that the work will move quickly and that I can get more great work right away.  If an artist is not working full time making art, it’s hard to have a large body of work at all times – however I think that it is very important!  Second, I would say, research the galleries in your area and find the right fit for your work.  Get in touch with the gallery by email and by sending a brief note with a couple of pieces attached.  Never, just drop in on the gallery – gallery owners have schedules, customers and many things to do in a day and if an artist is serious, they should be serious enough to plan out a visit to show the work in person.  I sometimes go to the artist’s studio where more can be seen – once an appointment is set.  I also tell them to be tough — sometimes it takes failing in the beginning and getting up and starting
again and again – it takes so much passions, commitment, work ethic, emotional strength to succeed as an artist…persevere always!  You know, this is really true of any jobs or careers – it takes a whole lot of work in the early days before you move up in the world.
5. What questions should new collectors think through before buying artwork?  
I think the biggest question is “Do I love it and does it give me joy?”  As far as the quality of the piece, I think collectors should be selective about where they shop – a little research on festivals and galleries up front is always a good idea.  If they are questioning the legitimacy of a piece, they should probably walk away.
Thank you so much Teresa!
Visit the Art & Light website and facebook page to see more of this goodness and to keep up with all the excitement!
If you are interested in any of the work seen in this post, please contact Teresa Roche.
I hope you all have been inspired!  I certainly have.   Make plans to stop by a gallery this weekend!  Get to know your local artists and fellow art lovers.


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