When people come into my house, I'm always asked, "Where'd you get all this cool art?". Well,for me art is all consuming. I want to live an artful life, so as my days are filled with artmaking, my weekends are filled with visiting galleries, artist's studios and art fairs. Collecting art for me is exciting as well as inspiring and I love that at home I'm surrounded with the work of artists I love. I'm also not one of those artists that have my own work plastered all over my own house, not that there's anything wrong with that, I just think it's more exciting to love and support other artists!
Some people think that collecting original art is an expensive hobby, well I beg to differ! So much original work is way more affordable than framed prints or bad decorator pieces that so many people insist on putting OTC (over the couch). On top of owning a one-of-a-kind piece, you are also investing in an artist's future. Any hey, you never know they might just become the next Picasso!
So where do you start? There are many cool websites where you can buy killer affordable pieces. www.etsy.com for example, one of my favorite websites and a place where I sell my own work www.murphymae.etsy.com. There's also http://www.socurio.com a really cool site that features tons of original art. There's also http://foliotwist.com/ and http://fineartstudioonline.com/ places that host artist's websites where you can find tons of stuff that fits both your taste and your budget.
Visiting artist's studios is also a great way to meet artists and see their work. Many cities host Open Studio Tours where loads of artists will have their studios open to the public on a given weekend. You could also visit galleries, its really a fun way to spend your weekends. I know the perception is that all galleries are expensive and intimidating, but there are tons of co-op galleries where local artist show affordable art...I show at one called Kaleid here in San Jose www.kaleidgallery.com and most cities have one or more of these types of galleries. Even coffee houses and small restaurants show and sell great art these days. I've sold a ton of stuff at a donut shop! http://www.psycho-donuts.com/. There are also some pretty good art fairs (there are some pretty cheesy ones too). I like Bazaar Bizarre Bazaar http://www.bazaarbizarre.org/ and Renegade Craft Fair http://www.renegadecraft.com or art and craft items and here in NorCal the Sausalito & Capitola Art Festivals are pretty good (although alot of the art can be pretty conservative for my taste).
If you're an artist, many other artists are more than willing to trade. I've scored some awesome pieces this way. It never hurts to ask, contact artists that you see on line if they'd be interested. Artists are also interested in bartering, if you have a skill you may be alse to trade it for some awesome art!
Here's a small sampling of pics from my collection, now go out and start one of your own! And please if you have any suggestions of good places to buy original art post it here!