Art & the Digital Era: How to Buy Art on Instagram

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In recent years, Instagram has become the art collectors’ favorite tool for sourcing and buying art. According to Hiscox Online Art Trade Report, 65% of art buyers choose Instagram as their preferred way of following artists and art-world developments. It’s not surprising after all, as Instagram has many advantages compared to other online art procurement channels.

It is picture-oriented, easy to access by phone and (unlike art galleries and eCommerce sites), it introduces people to new art, without the constant pressure to buy. If you are thinking about using Instagram for engaging with art, follow these valuable tips to get off on the right foot.

How to Buy Art on Instagram

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// Which Art Accounts to Follow on Instagram

A great way to start your search for the perfect artwork on Instagram is by following museums, galleries, and art professionals who are considered to be the influencers in the field. For example, following prominent auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s will help you find out what’s for sale at the upcoming auctions.

Internationally acclaimed galleries like Pace and Hauser & Wirth use Instagram to announce future exhibitions and major projects, thus helping their followers stay in the loop with the latest developments on the art-commerce scene. Following major museums like The MetMoMA and Tate Modern will enable you to explore modern art history through your smartphone, while following museums from distant parts of the globe, can help you discover an abundance of outstanding international artists.

Some art professionals have also built a massive Instagram following. Instagram accounts of art experts like Nancy Spector and Brett Gorvy will give you a sneak peek into the lives of those who know the art world inside and out while following prominent art collectors(e.g. Anita Zabludowicz,Kelly Ying…) can inspire you to build an amazing collection yourself.

Once you have all these art museums, galleries, and art professionals on your following list, you can discover new artists by checking who your favorite art influencers follow.

How to Buy Art on Instagram

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// Buy Art Directly from the Artist

Once you find artists that appeal to your taste, make sure to give them a follow and track their work for a while before making a purchase. Serious buyers and collectors use Instagram to check the consistency and productivity of certain artists before buying their art. By following an artist for a longer time, you can get to know their artistic process, keep track of their interviews and exhibitions, which will give you an idea about how valued the artist is in the art world.

Once you decide on which artwork you want to buy you can use Instagram to make a quick and easy purchase, by either following the links in the description or by contacting the artist via direct messages. Artists nowadays are quite accustomed to selling art on Instagram and will take care of the packing and shipping details, while most transactions are conducted through PayPal or eCommerce websites.

// Instagram Art Hashtags

To explore the art world further, make sure to follow popular hashtags. A cool trick you can use is to see what hashtags your favorite artists use and then click on them to discover similar art. You will definitely discover some hashtags you would have never thought of yourself. For example, #instaart, #inspiration, and #ilovethiswork are unusual hashtags commonly used by artists and art collectors alike.

#affordableart, #artcollector, and #artprintsforsale could be the perfect choice for art collectors on the budget. #buyart will show you artworks that are currently available for purchase, while #artforsalebyartist is a hashtag used by artists who are accustomed to selling their art online directly to buyers without dealers and galleries as middlemen.

If you are not quite sure what you want, then you can try more encompassing hashtags like #artwork, #contemporaryart or simply #art. Following hashtags will let you compare the art of similar style and find the right art piece for your collection.

Image by Oliver Dumoulin via Unsplash

// Instagram Art Market is Here to Stay

Instagram is the world’s most talked-about new art dealer, whose influence on the art market continues to grow every year. Social media channels were once used to purchase affordable artworks, but today even big art collectors use Instagram for buying art. In 2017, for instance, former Christie’s auctioneer Brett Gorvy managed to sell a $57.3 million worthBasquiat painting to Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa through the site.

According to art dealer Matt Moravec, this is the perfect arrangement of steps seasoned collectors are following to get the most out of the platform: “First thing they do is follow the people they look up to, collectors or celebrities in the art world. You end up discovering new artists, then you look for the hashtag, and then if you’re really interested you’ll look for articles and prices.”

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