How NOT to Buy your First Piece of Art

If you’re anything like me, when it comes time to make a decision (big or small) you often find yourself coming up with some lame excuse about “sleeping on it” or “giving it another day.” Well, here’s a lesson in first time art-buying from the decision maven herself — if it’s something you like, it’s worth it. Art’s not a throw away item, it won’t go out of style (remember when overalls were a thing?), and it will forever serve as the marker of the day you ever-so-cooly “got into art.” 


Untitled (Think for Yourself Black, Yellow, and Blue) by Mark Harris, (17” x 21”) $250

Now, I initially planned on sharing first-time-art-buying success stories, but in my research found something so outlandishly disturbing that I couldn’t possibly not talk about it. As I trolled the interwebs for the aforementioned tales of first time art love, I came across an article written two years ago and featured in Business Insider entitled, “A Step-by-Step Guide to Buying your First Piece of Art.” Naturally I read on, thinking I could pluck some pointers to put my own spin on and ignite hundreds of inspired explorations in art discovery. Well, to the masses (I can only assume that’s how many read my stuff) I tell you that this article is so misguided that I nearly looked for a way to red flag/report/mark it as offensive.

Allow me pull some excerpts and tell you why. 

It all starts with the opening line: 

"So you’ve got a little extra cash in the bankmaybe a year-end bonus or recent inheritance.”

Wait, what’s up? Now I need to have an inheritance to buy art? Well, that’s unfortunate, because I (and most everyone) is not coming across any sort of surprising family money anytime soon. This is false. Let’s move on.


Their first piece of advice is to “figure what kind of art you like.” Fair enough, I guess. But let me also say that I freak out for abstracts, but am just as likely to buy a landscape if it catches my eye on a given day. Just something to keep in mind; figuring out what you like doesn’t have to be a process of elimination. 

Another BI tip:

"Talk to dealers to find out about the reputation of the artist you like. Has he won any awards? Has her work appeared in any major shows? Are there any periods for which he’s particularly well known?"

Firstly, that dealer (who’s going to take half of that artist’s money, by the way) is probably more into selling you on an artist they represent than a piece you genuinely like. Secondly, isn’t this supposed to be advice about buying your first piece of art — that piece that stays with you forever? Awards, major shows, gold stars, and trophies are great if you’re trying to turn a profit in a year’s time, but if you’re trying to hang a piece of art on your wall because you know, you like how it looks…it probably shouldn’t be your number one concern. I’m all for learning about the story behind a piece for conversation’s sake, but there’s no way in hell you should be spewing about awards and exhibition appearances when discussing the first. piece. you. own. (pro tip: artists usually include artwork descriptions and you can find their bios anywhere, like their website)


City Scene by Andrei Stolyarchuk, (18” x 24”) $100.

Next BI tip: 

"Set a budget—and be prepared to go over it."

And so we encounter the problem with the art world — the notion that you have to spend a lot to get a lot.  You don’t…and probably shouldn’t if it’s the only thing in your newly founded collection. We have 2000+ artists selling works all at the same price. They don’t mind, they just want to make art. Essentially, you could pick out your 10 favorite pieces from the ARTtwo50 collection, they could be 10 different sizes, by 10 different artists working in 10 different mediums, and you’re paying the same. This way, you’re buying something that’s “you”, your style, and fits well with your life, rather than getting seduced by a trendy artist with inflated price tags. BI says spending more is a way of avoiding “buyers remorse,” but uh…you also run the risk of being that much more remorseful having blown that inheritance of yours. 

Moving on:

"Know the factors that can affect the price of a work of art…’High-end galleries will generally charge higher prices for artists than less-established galleries, so be aware of the reputation of the gallery you are buying from.’"

Oh, the politics.  We’ve 86-ed the galleries altogether.

The article also mentions “rarity,” which basically means finding out whether you’re buying a one-of-a-kind piece or something that all your inheritance buddies will have. While Business Insider is mostly concerned with the fact that an original is worth more, we’d recommend going the original route for your first piece because if you’re going to buy art it should be personal and unique to you. Just think, if you’re buying a 1/100 print as your first momentous art purchase…99 other people have done the exact same thing. Slightly unoriginal. 

One more BI breakthrough: 

"Make some space on your wall." 

For all the high-browiness that this article was steeped in, I couldn’t get over this graceful nugget. It was almost like they were trying to crack a joke after writing the least funny article, ever. So yeah, make some space on your wall…or ya know, just visualize it perfectly placed before you buy.


Now, we’ll cut BI some slack because we hadn’t launched in 2012, but we definitely won’t condone first-time art buying as an activity set aside for one specific, high-society, inheritance-having, auction-going, dealer-consulting, type of individual. Anyone can buy original art they love and they can do it starting right now

What you Need to Know (and probably don’t!)

We’ve got some big news to share and a few things to clarify to make your art hunting ever-so-enjoyable. But first, pat yourself on the back for being original and buying original. Bare walls and boring sameness should be banned, and we’re glad that so many of you agree!  Thanks to those of you who have loved a piece from the ARTtwo50 collection and made it a new (awesome) part of your happy life, we were able to learn a ton and make some changes that will better suit artists and art buyers alike. So whether you’re the one with paint permanently staining your fingertips or the person staring at that design-dilemma of a blank wall, listen up!


The important stuff…

For starters, we’ve done our research, we promise. And along the way we’ve found that many artists find the $100 price perfect for some of their works, and $250 suitable for others. Yet, both levels are still comfortable for a beginning art buyer, like someone who wants to begin to build their collection or decorate their home without buyers’ remorse.  

Also, there’s no arbitrary pricing. If an artist is selling artwork at the $500 price point, then there’s good reason. This likely means that a handful of people have bought pieces from this artist and have had overwhelmingly positive results. It’s like friends you haven’t even met are giving you the thumbs up – “Go for it, this art is worth it and needs to be hanging out in your space.”

Plus, we want our artists to grow and keep creating.  With the money earned from a single $250 sale, an artist is able to purchase four canvases, five paint brushes, and six tubes of paint…leading to $2000 in future revenue. Now imagine what that means at $500…we’re guessing about double.

Our transparent pricing model has recently expanded and there are a few key points: 

  1. All artists may begin to sell their work priced at either $100, $250, or both! (When you find a beauty for $100, we’re not April fool-ing you, it’s real life.)
  2. Once an artist sells a total of $1000 (in any combination), they can begin to sell works art for $500.
  3. However, when an artist has reached the $500 price point, they can still list art at all $100 and $250.
  4. Artists always receive 80% of the sale, and we cover shipping!


We’ve begun to shake up the art world thanks to your fantastic taste and revolutionary like-mindedness, but we plan on growing even more. In the future, look forward to more pricing options, always without the anxiety of deciding exactly what the price tag should read. 

Remember, we don’t choose when artists unlock a new price point — you do! So now more than ever, just be original. Buy what you like and what feels right for you and your space. 

You can check out all of our works for sale through our carefully crafted Pinterest Boards or get recommendations and visualize the art on your wall in the ARTtwo50 iPad app. Either way, keep keeping the original alive. 

Here are some works from each price tier to help you get an idea of what each one might look like:


I am a Rainbow by Robert and Michelle Casarietti  ($100)


Portraits by Shant Beudjekian ($100)


From Above and Below by Eric Siebenthal ($250)


The Good Read by Elizabeth Jose ($250)


Orchid I by dyd art ($500)


Volta by Elizabeth MD Vuong ($500)

Have any questions? Email for a friendly reply. 

Keeping it Local

Buying local isn’t just for kale and tomatoes anymore. As locavores, we all drool over that delicious local flavor on our plates, and as art-lovers why should we have to settle for anything less? We’ve found that going local is at it’s best when it involves the originality of the artists around us. Their works, your walls, more creations, and more artful beauty spread throughout your community. Just think, when you put a piece of art in your space (and a little money in an artist’s pocket), they get to stock up on supplies and get back to the studio. It’s poetic stuff. We want you to be proud of your area code artists, and we’ve come up with a simple way for you to show your support. 


Here’s how it works:

  1. Make sure you update your ARTtwo50 iPad app to version 3.6.
  2. Then, all you have to do is open the app, and select ‘Local Artists’ under Collections to start explore the art scene near you.
  3. We’ll show you artists within 100 miles and virtually hang their art right on your wall. 


So while we connect artists and buyers from all over the country in the name of art, don’t be afraid to look close to home first. Take our word for it, going local feels good for more reasons than one. 

You love getting to…

Keep your community creative and support the efforts of creatives all you. A world without art is no fun, so do your part and make sure it sticks around your neighborhood. Fostering creativity is the first step to progress, because believe it or not scientists aren’t the only innovators…what we really need are the artists

Encourage a growing art scene by circulating the art from your locale. Whether you’re in a culturally rich city or a know-everyone-by-name town, keeping art at the forefront of our conversations likely means more original art to admire in local coffee shops, hot spots, and  schools.

Exercise your power of choice! We love art from anywhere, but if you’ve made it your mission to “keep it local”, we’re giving you that option. Seize the day! And don’t think you have to import the perfect piece for you.

Get it quickly and enjoy the perks of proximity. By the laws of distance, your art just might get to you a day a two sooner when it’s from one of our artists close to you. See it, love it, buy it, hang it, all within a matter of days.

Support your community and help goods and services circulate in your area. Spending within your local economy doesn’t just put money in the hands of those you buy from, but also expands to other businesses around you. 


One of a Kind Antique Shop (Street Scene) by Gigi Genovese

Think globally, act locally. It could just be the next step in making your home and community a more artful place. Be sure to update so you can immediately see the art near you. In the meantime, tell us where you’re from and help us choose what local artists to feature next!

Say Hello to Spring

If you read last week’s blog, you know that we have adventure on the brain. Spring is officially here, and with more daylight, comes more opportunity. As we zero in on some of the longest days on the calendar, we want to make sure you are ready to take in every glorious sun-soaked hour.  We set out on a mission to find the best possible ways to ring in the grass-greening, bird-chirping, flower-budding months of the year, and came up with some pretty colorful (no pun intended) results. 

Mark your calendars and put your party hats— we’re offering up some of the most unique parties from around the globe and pairing them with artworks from the ARTtwo50 collection for some added inspiration.

1. Holi Festival 


Traditionally celebrated in Northern India, this color festival sends powdery bursts of seasonal hues into the air in honor of Hindu mythology. This year’s celebration has passed, but check out all of the Holi-inspired events around the world for a piece of the action.


Thin Section 2 (penetrating rainbows) by Blake Brasher

2. Songkran Water Festival


photography by Getty Images

This wet fest takes takes place April 13 and marks the Thai new year. Splashing, throwing, and spraying water at one another is fully encouraged, as it marks the washing away of negativity in preparation for a fresh start. 


Rain by Devika Keskar

3. New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 


Second to only Mardis Gras, the New Orleans Jazz festival blends all of the smooth sounds of jazz with new-age music influencers and a fun-loving care-free southern lifestyle. A party that helped launch the careers of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, Jazz Fest in NOLA promises show stopping entertainment on the last weekend in April and first weekend in May.


Joy of Bass by Darlene Newman

4. Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake


photography by Getty Images

Originally an annual tradition for Brit’s only, the free-wheeling Cooper’s Hill competition has opened its arms to one and all. If racing after a 9 lb wheel of cheese sounds like your thing, rally some friends and grab a patch of grass this May 26.


Evergreen Meadow by Ron Pentz

5. Queen’s Day


As if the city of Amsterdam needed a reason to party… Nonetheless, Queen’s Day erupts every April 30th and takes place on the birthday of Queen Beatrix’s mother. For an undisputed good time, just throw on some orange and join the Dutch in celebrating her highness. 


Orange Tutor by Technicolor Audiohistoric

6. Bay to Breakersimage

photography by Getty Images

One of the world’s largest and wildest races, this San Francisco tradition is part fitness and part fun. You can come in running shorts or in a tutu— either way, you probably won’t have the craziest get-up there. The 12km course starts along the Embarcadero and stretches across the cityscape until the crashing breakers cheer finishers across the line. Head to SF on the third Sunday of May to see what the city is really all about.


SF Street View by Willy Owens

We find that we never feel so alive as in the Springtime. So get going and knock one (or a few) of the world’s best and most outrageous celebrations off that bucket list. And, if you have a rollicking good time happening in your neighborhood this Spring, let us know, and email or invite us to the party on Facebook.

For more art inspiration, just click on any work to find out more details and stay tuned for our seasonally inspired Pinterest board.

Happy Spring!

Inviting Wanderlust: Get Inspired and GO

I’ve always aspired to be a “just go” kind of person, traveling on a whim and leaping into the next great adventure. Ergo, if you’ve already caught the travel bug and romped your way around the world, I’m jealous. There’s something so purely awesome about taking to the unknown, plunging into a new culture, and feeling yourself change (just a little) bit because of it. 


This wanderlust stemmed from two things, Indiana Jones and Art. Now, I’m not going to insult you by explaining why Indiana Jones is part of that duo, but art?…that I will divulge.

Artists have an uncanny ability to capture the story and feel behind a place even better than a photograph. You somehow gain a certain sense of authenticity looking at a work of art, knowing that a person has carefully labored to capture the essence of even the most remote location. When you look at a good painting, drawing, etc. you’ll feel it and whatever “it” is, you’ll probably want to track it down.


Having art on your wall is like looking through a window into your next life adventure. The freedom of expression, to use a certain color here and a sweeping brushstroke there, conveys a totally sensory experience of a life and a place worth seeking out. 


Forget the starring cities on a map. Live with what inspires you to be your own ultimate explorer, and trust the details reverberating through the art you love. I’ve set my sights on wine-sipping at a small table on the streets of Orvieto, Italy. 


What will you chase?

A European city on the sea…


A morning voyage… 

A remote marketplace…


Here’s the good news, the world is big and there’s a place for everyone. And, when your postcards become wrinkled and worn, the art that first inspired you, later reminds you of your journey and your own story in a new land. 

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Get inspired by places and spaces, the land, and the people, and just go.

The Art of the Bachelor Pad Upgrade

Your college beer posters are sort of impressive. You look at them and are immediately whisked back to fall of ‘04 and lugging an ingeniously disguised keg across the quad  (you covered it with a sheet and called it a ghost). We get it, those were the glory days of beer for breakfast and cereal for dinner. But we have to believe that times have changed. You’re probably not cutting class to play dizzy bat anymore, just like you’re probably not listening to Usher

So we’re guessing the sweet bachelor pad you’ve called home for a few years now could maybe use an upgrade or two… something that says, I’m a real, full-functioning person now. And although we respect your nostalgic poster-art, we can’t imagine the frayed edges and persistent wrinkles are casting the vibes you’d like. 

Don’t know where to start? We’re here to help and good news, upgrading is simple. We’ve come up with some tips and guidelines to finding the right art for the sacred walls of you bachelor pad, man-card well intact. 

Swap beer for wine. 

We all know nothing says sophistication like a glass of red wine (and be honest, you like the taste now too). Try a twist on an traditional still-life to show off your upgraded pallet and eye. 


Wine - Ding Down by Iris Forbes

Highlight a Vintage Toy. 

There’s something too cool about motorcycles— edgy, fast, dangerous. This piece mixes a badass piece of machinery with a sweet vintage feel that adds a tinge of style. 


1924 Borough Superior Profile by Paul Lockhart

An interesting cityscape.

But actually, make it interesting. Your first attempt at decor may have been a standard New York City skyline poster, but don’t be afraid to be original. An original piece gives a unique perspective at a city’s landscape.


Downtown (San Francisco) by Gretchen Andrus

Go for Abstract. 

Explore and discover. Test out the abstract waters and latch on to whatever feels right for you. Sometimes a pop of your favorite color or some in-your-face texture will catch your eye. Go with your gut here. 


Good things are happening by Dan Bunea

Pick a passion. 

Let your walls say a little something about you, your passions, and your goals. Art can do everything a poster can, plus the added bonus of originality and maturity points. If you’re attached to a sports venue or hobby, there’s a piece of art out there for you. 


Surf on by Sonali Kukreja

For more original art download the ARTtwo5o iPad app and get the right works recommended for you. Killer updates are coming up that will bring the perfect art to your wall(s), so stay tuned.

In the meantime, email for more insight into the art of the bachelor pad upgrade. 

An Homage to Art’s Oldest Subject

Our behind the scenes work at ARTtwo50 rocks. We get to preview every single piece of original art and get it ready to hang out in the marketplace and hang up on your wall.  We feel like we’re talking to our artists, catching a sneak peak of the ever-changing art world, and getting to know each creator through unique lines, brushstrokes, and details. And it’s not entirely uncommon that we refer to our favorite artists by first name (we take these relationships pretty seriously!). So when the masterminds are trying to tell us something, we listen! 


The Longhorns by Elizabeth Sullivan

As we took in the waves of artwork headed our way over the last few weeks, we found ourselves encountering furry four-legged friends, colorful plumes, and creatures of the outdoors alike. A little baffled we hadn’t paid more attention to one of art’s favorite subjects previously (thank god for our artists), we didn’t waste any time giving them a big shout out.

After all, animals appear in the first artistic renderings on the cave walls of Lascaux and they’ve been popping up around the art world ever since. Just think of Durer’s studies, royal hound portraits, and Rauschenberg’s seemingly incomprehensible combines. Animals —jumping, running, posing, playing cards, or just sporting a waist-tire — everywhere.


Monogram, (1955-59) by Robert Rauschenberg

Whatever medium they may take, our animal friends are here to stay. Our latest Pinterest board brings you all of the original works in the ARTtwo50 collection inspired by the animal kingdom. Follow to see how this generation of artists incorporate and celebrate one of art’s oldest (and furriest) subjects. Find a piece you like? Go straight into the ARTtwo50 iPad app and find its artist to see how the work adds a little originality to your space.

Follow ARTtwo50’s board ARTtwo50: Animals on Pinterest.

Does Size Really Matter?

We don’t discriminate— we love art of all shapes, sizes, genres, and colors. People often thing big art means big impact, but we’re not sure smaller scale art packs any less of a punch. We’ve sifted through our ever-growing collection of works to bring you a preview of some pieces that are dimensions apart.  

Does size really matter? We’ve hung up our gloves and sat this round out to let you be the judge.

Take a look at these twelve works to you help decide:

1. City Blocks (50” x 25”) by Taylor Newell


2. 28th St. Summer Light Chelsea, New York (8” x 6”) by Bruno Baran


3. Three Line inset with Celadon (44” x 24”) by Nancy Simonds


4. Early Morning Water Lilies (10” x 8”) by Lori McNamara


5. Cocoons (60” x 38”) by Brittaney McDermott


6. Sobe Cafe (18” x 6”) by Leah Wiedman


7. Barn in the Fog (10” x 6.5”) by Gail Heffron


8. Mayura (48” x 24”) by Sravanthi Setty


9Exit (8” x 8”) by Annie Coe


10. Me and It, Outside (36” x 35”) by Daniel Christensen


11. Browny (55” x 70”) by John Stepp


12. Figure 133010 (8.5” x 11”) by Chris N Rohrbackimage

Of course these aren’t all of them. Get the true ARTtwo50 effect by opening your iPad app, selecting either small, medium, or large sized works, and snapping a picture of your own blank wall. You’ll immediately receive 100 original recommendations inspired by you and your space. No need to close your eyes and meditate just to try to visualize art within the context of your home, we’ll do that for you! Plus, if you find a work you love here, you can right to that artist with the new in-app artist directory.


What’s the verdict? Is size everything for you, or just part of the equation? Be sure to let us know by writing to or dropping us a note on Facebook.

In the meantime, update your app to see the newest art in the collection and view it on your wall, plus keep up with new features.  Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on the awesome updates we have in the pipeline, and you’ll be the first to know the moment they’re up and running!

The Myth of Mere Commodity

When the U.S. art market blew up in the 1960’s I’m not sure we knew exactly what we were in for. By the turn of the century we were seeing record-obliterating hammer prices and hearing a lot more about the latest artist to warrant Picasso-like pricetags than about the art that was actually being created at the time. And thus began the great myth of the art world: wherein art functions primarily as a commodity and only secondly as a visual stimulant with intrinsic meaning.


For so many people not unlike myself, the idea of owning quality works of art automatically and quickly escaped my reality. Art, as I once thought, was bought and sold at outrageous sums by people who wore Louboutins and smoking jackets. And for a while, my favorite works lived on only in my “Dream Home” Pinterest board next to my 18 million dollar coastal estate and majestic pure bred ponies. 

See this myth, that art speaks only to the purse strings of the sophisticated, frankly has no ground.  In its most natural state, art can be many things…an aesthetic shock, a question, a conversation, a symbol, a metaphor, or just wonderfully undefinable composition (we’re not going to tackle the ‘what is art?’ question just yet). The point is, treating art as a mere commodity actuality devalues the work and the hand behind it, and accepting this art myth keeps us from some of the great artwork generated today.


A gallery wall created by one of our happy buyers, featuring 'Sea Green Life' by Andrew Keola.

There is a happy place between Sotheby’s and IKEA where beautiful works of original art beckon appreciation and place to live. With the advent of revolutionary technology and improved exposure for artists, the hunt that in the past forced many of us into poster-art anonymity is becoming less of a struggle and more of pleasure. There should be no limitations to owning a living with original works of art, because as we see it, as long as there are artists (so, always) there will be beautiful art for every eye, every wall. 


 Artists should be just that — creators, visual master-minds, responsible for less pedaling and more producing.  And buyers should be opportunistic seekers, able to see this art, live with it, have it become the most beloved feature of their home and a reflection of their style. The ARTtwo50 team (you can call us myth busters if you’d like) is chipping away at the commodity facade, and letting the real art world break through, bringing more art to more art lovers.

Discover great art, try it on your wall, and live originally. 

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Valentine’s Day Victory

The Valentine’s Day perennial powerhouses have a little competition. Chocolate, flowers, and doily cards may forever hold a place in amongst loved ones, but we’ve discovered that original art has more romantic value than you might have thought. Now, we’re not claiming to be love doctors, although we have saved a marriage or two. All we’re saying is this: if you’ve exhausted the chocolate and flower circuit (and let’s be honest who hasn’t) then an original, meaningful piece of artwork could be the your greatest Valentine’s Day success to date. 

Get in on the love with these fourteen works inspired by Valentine’s Day or browse works of all genres and styles on our Pinterest Page. Better yet, save your relationship and visualize the perfect piece of art right on your wall with the ARTtwo50 iPad app.

Here’s to ending decor arguments everywhere and making up afterwards.


Love Letter from the Future (16” x 16”) by May Moreira 


Illicit Celebration II (24” x 11”) by Melanie Kehoss


Two as 1 (18” x 24”) by Mark Harris 


Of Love and Lovers (24” x 30”) by Nora Meyers


Single pale pink rose (9” x 12”) by Greta Corens 


Love in Amsterdam (36” x 24”) by Michael Ilkiw


Tahitian Serenity (18” x 24”) by Andrew Keola


Couple in Love (14” x 14”) by Doug Lawler 


Project Flora 2 (22”x 28”) by Dania Olivares 


Tree of Love (30” x 40”) by Jamie Lynn Moore


Love Training (36” x 36”) by Sharon Britton


El Desconocido y La Desconocida (24” x 36”) by EM Metallidis


Valentine Cat (12” x 9”) by Edi Matsumoto


Love in Stillness. (24” x 30”) by A.G. 

Click on any of the works about to learn more about the piece and the artist behind it.

In the meantime, keep spreading the art love and chat join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Happy Valentine’s Day!