Posted by Open Studio

Art Consultations: A Guide for New Buyers

Written by Pamela Quiroga


For the uninitiated, buying a piece of original art can seem intimidating. I know from personal experience. As an art lover who had yet to take the leap, I always assumed I didn’t know enough about art to buy it, or that art ownership was beyond my reach, financially.

In order to demystify the process, I recently met with Astrid Ho, Print Sales Manager at Open Studio, to learn more about Open Studio’s complimentary Art Consultations and the process of buying art.

As I quickly learned, for those curious about art ownership, a trip to the gallery is really all you need. In addition to its juried galleries, Open Studio also has a Print Sales gallery which exclusively shows works that are available for purchase. The gallery and adjoining Print Sales office also feature an impressive number of display racks. Here art lovers can peruse works of all shapes, sizes, and genres, with no pressure to buy.

When it comes to Art Consultations, Astrid tells me they’re best for someone who has complex needs – for example, someone looking to buy multiple complimentary works, or those who are looking to fill a specific gap in their collection. These requests often benefit from some preliminary work and  a consultation ensures this, plus a half hour of Astrid’s uninterrupted guidance. Thankfully, Astrid’s time is not limited to just consultations. As the Print Sales Manager, she is almost always on the sales floor meaning her expertise is available to all potential customers on an ad hoc basis.

I can see why someone would want to have her help. In addition to working at Open Studio for over 13 years, Astrid is also an accomplished print artist and an active collector. Her enthusiasm is infectious and before I know it we’re deep down a rabbit hole of Shinsuke Minegishi‘s wood engravings – and I’m hooked.


Taking the Leap

So, did I do it?  Did I buy my first piece of gallery art? Before I reveal the spoils of my research, I did want to share with you three things I learned you should do, in order to get the most out of your art consultation at Open Studio:

  1. Know your budget – Open Studio carries original prints that range in price from $20 to $7,000. Knowing your price range allows your consultant to pull the right body of work to wow without any disappointments. Astrid reminds me that any budget should also factor in framing. While some pieces at Open Studio are offered pre-framed, the majority are not, to give customers absolute freedom in choosing the right aesthetic presentation for their needs. If desired, professional custom framing is available through the gallery and can be bought simultaneously with any print.
  2. Browse online – Being in the gallery it became immediately clear to me that no digital screen can capture the stunning texture, scale and artistry of a professional print. However, with most of Open Studio’s catalogue available online through their e-store, online browsing is a great way to familiarize yourself with the artists, styles, and subject matters that peak your interest. Astrid says that before most art consultations, she’ll often send prospective buyers links to e-store works to confirm and/or further explore an individual’s tastes. It’s the best way to plot a starting point for any future discussions.
  3. Prepare to explore – One of the benefits of having a guide like Astrid is her encyclopaedic knowledge of each artist’s body of work, career progression, and technique. She can quickly zero-in on what resonates with you and can pull a multitude of diverse pieces that will hit the right note. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself drawn to the unexpected. That’s part of the joy of buying art.

When I walked into Open Studio, I didn’t know what to expect. I simply came in with curiosity. I was incredibly pleased to discover, that’s all you need. To my great surprise, I ended up falling in love with a Shinsuke Minegishi print called Calliope I which was perfect for my style and budget. Without feeling a twinge of pressure or expectation, I bought it.  Through the benefit of Astrid’s guidance, I came to see there’s no right or wrong way to buy art.  I couldn’t have asked for more out my first art-buying experience: I left with a piece I love. I can tell you with full confidence, it’s something I’ll be doing again.

If you’re interested in learning more about buying prints at Open Studio, be sure to visit them during office hours or contact them at

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Categorised in: Collectors, Inside Open Studio, Supporters