Tips for Starting an Affordable Art Collection

Plus, the best place to pick up pieces this month

César Vázquez, “Spiral” (2017), graphite and ink on paper

Whether you fancy yourself a budding art collector or just want something original and cool to hang on your wall, San Diego Art Institute’s annual C-NOTE pop-up art sale is an event you don’t want to miss.

Discover more than 75 emerging and mid-career contemporary artists from San Diego and Tijuana selling their works—from large-scale paintings and photography to found-object and multimedia pieces—for $100, $200 and $300. There will be over 200 works for sale, which can seem a little daunting, even intimidating. Here, a few tips to take in before you hit the two-day sale Nov. 10 and 11.

Katie Ruiz, “Putting the Blanket to Bed” (2016), oil on canvas

Trust your instinct. Buy something that you love looking at, and in this case, literally take it off the wall and head to the cashier. If you love a particular style, pick up a good example of it from one of these emerging artists. There’s something very exciting and gratifying about supporting the next generation of artists.

Follow them wherever they go. Whether you end up making a purchase during the sale or not, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on artists you like through their social channels. Plus, you’ll get a better idea of galleries to visit regularly and art fairs you may have missed otherwise.

Don’t skimp on framing. Simple is best, but definitely get art you purchase professionally framed. A reputable framer will give you advice on whether or not to mat so your piece pops.

Move art around. Not sure where to hang your piece at home? Try it in a few different places. Smaller works create an interesting visual hung low over a console or bedside table, for instance. Or try mounting them somewhere unexpected like the bathroom.


Check out C-NOTE during the public preview days on Nov. 8 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. or Nov. 9 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m; $5 admission gets you free access to the sale on Nov. 10 and 11 from noon-5 p.m. If you want first dibs on one piece, buy opening-night party tickets for $75 each, where you’ll get first pick, food, cocktails and interactive art experiences. Visit for more info.

Claudia Cano, “Economica&Rendidora 1Kg” (2018), Mixed media

Categories: Home Design