As a painter and photographer I've been told that I have a great eye. If true, I probably inherited it from my dad, who was a wonderful photographer, and my mum, who was a painter and owner of one of America’s first galleries of American crafts. If you like the look of Realize, (the aesthetic, and many of the photographs and illustrations are mine) then you can theoretically trust what I have to say below.
Being an art hound and amateur curator, I have spent years hunting for a decent online art purveyor. (Full disclosure: this search was also motivated by my desire to find a good looking site on which to sell some of my own work - a project now on a back burner due to my passion for REALIZE.) Having plowed through countless art sites to no avail, I gave up in a fit of exasperation.
But recently I experienced a "Eureka!" moment when I discovered a fantastic resource for art lovers: saatchiart.com. Every genre of work can be found here. From original canvases, watercolors and drawings, to sculptures, prints on canvas, and fine art paper. Plus, almost all the work on Saatchi comes across as imaginative and professionally rendered. Whether you dig Pop Art or Abstract Expressionist, traditional landscapes or still lifes, portraits with evocative of Rembrandt or inspired by Francis Bacon, there is something on this site for you. And they've made the search both very specific and fun. You can search on any number of genres or themes or media or even colors. But our Art Lovers Gift Guide will present you some of my favorites to date. And below I'll give you a mini-tour of some of the great work I've found.
Maybe you like moody, Impressionistic landscapes a la Turner? So do I, and I'm amazed by the work of Maurice Sapiro, a prodigious American painter whose seemingly effortless works evoke extraordinary moments where landcape and light meet to create another dimension entirely.
What about High-Tech Abstract? I’m personally mad for the work of Daniel Mullen, a Dutch artist whose exploded views of illusory architectural structures, rendered on raw linen with a surprising array of colors, really blow one’s mind.
Are you entranced by the possibilities of Altered Photography? Santiago Vanegas presents, in a searing and mystical way, a portrait of the state of the planet in his series Poisoned Earth. Highly collectible, in a limited edition.
A British photographer, Paul Conklin, who more often does wonderful, haunting, black and white landscapes, shot this punchy, iconic shot which I'd put in my summer house (if I had one!)
Are you a dog lover? Then you’ll love this brushy ink drawing, by Australian Loui Jover, that catches a canine moment with phenomenal calligraphic precision.
If you find portraits alluring, then the work I chose for our main image up top, by 'unschooled' Norwegian painter Henrik Uldalen might appeal. His atmospheric portratits explore the dark, subconscious sides of his subjects. And then there are the mysterious, and resonant works of masterful French painter Anna Madia, whose portraits will keep you fascinated for years.
If you like classical, Dutch inspired still lives, the work of American Richard T. Scott, will intrigue you. This languid hare could lend an historical touch to any dining room or library.
Or perhaps you dig the art of drawing, which I do. Here's a work by Dirk Dzirmirski, a German artist who really has something new to say. Nude with Oculus Rift goggles. Brilliant.
Maybe you're into airy, poppy abstracts? Just jump on over to our Gifts for Art Lovers guide and find more fun works that you can add to your own collection.
As for the prices? Well, if you've ever inquired about the price tags on a piece you admired in a gallery, you know they are more often than not out of your budget. But on Saatchi, almost everything I found, even the large canvases, are incredibly reasonable. You can get a small art print for $40, or really large oil painting for $2,000 and up. The prices are phenomenal; believe me, I know how much time and energy goes into some of these original works.
The wonderful thing about Saatchiart is that most of the artists make collecting truly accessible - by offering print versions of their larger, more expensive canvases. This in itself is a fairly radical act in the traditional art market; art dealers would never offer up less expensive versions of an original because it would ostensibly diminish the value of it. But the beautiful thing about this new, open market, is that the artists themselves make the decision and set the prices. And the middleman asks peanuts compared to the cut a high-end dealer takes from the artist’s hide.
I’m introducing Saatchi to you this month because I think there is a wealth of possible gifts amongst their great digital halls, I myself found an adorable print for my daughter and have found dozens more I will give when REALIZE hits the big time!
So do check out our Gifts for Art Lovers and give us feedback on what you’ve found! You can also check out my personal collection for more inspiration. And please let us know if you start one too! Now go do a little browsing, all without the arched brow of the gallery assistant making a judgement about you as a potential client. On saatchiart.com it’s just you and your own original aesthetic running the show.