Buyers guide to art
Miik Green. Picture: Jody D'Arcy, Style and Focus

Habitat asked four local experts for their tips on how to incorporate art into your interiors.

Gavin Buckley, Artsource

As an art enthusiast and avid collector, Gavin Buckley believes art is so much more than simply decoration.

"Building an art collection is a hugely rewarding activity; discovering new artists and understanding more about their developing practice can lead to a personal and highly original collection," he said. "For me it is an endlessly fascinating journey - and addictive!"

The chief executive of the State's peak artists' body Artsource, Mr Buckley believes the most important thing to know is that art is for everyone.

"You don't need to be an expert, or rich, to have art at home," he said. "There is nothing wrong with starting small and buying art on a piece-by-piece basis.

"There is a very wide variety of art suitable for home, from paintings, drawings, photographs and prints through to sculptures, ceramics, video art and installations," he said.

He advised buying based on personal appeal, not being distracted by investment potential or what other people might think of your choices.

"Confidence and appreciation will grow alongside knowledge so when you see something you like, aim to look at more work by the same artist, read about the artist and their practice and, above all, when you are ready, buy something - there is no better time than now to start a collection," he said.

Where to source art: Mr Buckley said he enjoyed visiting the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery (UWA), which is currently running Here&Now14 - ceramics by Western Australian artists - until September 27.

He also recommended learning about artists in WA at

Miik Green, artist

According to Perth-based artist Miik Green, art's "functionlessness" sets it apart from architecture, design and furnishings. "It provides possibilities for exchange; it enables a conversation between viewer and site or between surface and space," he said.

As an artist, Mr Green said he preferred to select artworks based on premise, aesthetics, or from an important stage of an artist's career - rather than to simply suit the decor. "Here there is possibility for the unpredictable, the unplanned, or the unanticipated, which I believe is something that the astute collector appreciates," he said.

Where to source art: Mr Green displays at Linton & Kay in Perth, which he said offered a broad range suitable for first-time buyers through to established collectors. "PICA also have engaging exhibitions and Turner Galleries in Perth showcase some of the best artists in Western Australia," he said.

Artists to watch: Lauren McCartney, David Brophy, Tane Andrews and brothers Abdul Abdullah and Abdul-Rahmen Abdullah. "I also love the work of Tanya van Irsen, who makes fractal-like archi-forms from paper and other media, as well as Alex Maciver," Mr Green said.

Desi Litis, Venn Gallery

"Art has the ability to bring such amazing energy and vibrancy to a space because you are always engaging with it in different ways," Desi Litis, owner of Venn Gallery in Perth, said.

When it comes to choosing art, she advised against choosing a piece purely because of the artist's reputation or for investment potential.

"I believe in not being too precious about acquiring specific works or in a specific format in the process of developing your collection," she said.

"If you acquire works you love you will eventually see the collection evolve harmoniously over time."

As an enthusiast of contemporary art, Ms Litis also looks at alternatives to paintings, including installation, new media, sculpture, print, drawing, video, sound and photography.

"There is also the potential to commission an artist to paint the interior/exterior of your home," she said.

Where to source art: To begin collecting contemporary art at an affordable price, Ms Litis recommended looking at Artist Run Initiatives (ARIs) and art school end-of-year graduate exhibitions.

"There are only a handful of ARIs in Perth, including Moana Project Space, PS Art Space (PSAS) and Paper Mountain, however, there are numerous spaces over east that have a strong online presence," she said. "The website CRAWL ( has an extensive listing of Australian ARIs."

She also recommended the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts; the Fremantle Arts Centre; Perth Centre for Photography; MOANA Project Space; Paper Mountain; Free Range Gallery; Freight Gallery (DADAA); Turner Galleries; and Venn Gallery as a resource for artist talks and other education-based programs.

Leigh Robb, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA)

While working at Thomas Dane Gallery in London, PICA curator Leigh Robb received some advice from its eponymous owner. "Thomas advised to save to acquire a few large, significant pieces as anchor points and investment items in a personal collection, and to build around these with clusters of smaller works, or series of works by a certain artist or medium or genre - such as works on paper; video; or indigenous artists; West Australian artists, or women artists, for example," she said.

Ms Robb said many collectors studiously followed the careers of artists and bought regularly from them.

"At times, the knowledge and joy that comes from fostering a personal connection with certain artists work has also led them to commission their own pieces," she said.

"So my advice is, get to know artists by seeking out their exhibitions, going to public artist talks and investing in their work."

Artists to watch: Consuelo Cavaniglia, Rebecca Bauman, Teelah George, Alistair Rowe, Jacobus Capone, Anna Dunnill, Tarryn Gill, Eva Fernandez, Curtis Taylor, Jacqueline Ball, Abdul Abdullah and Abdul-Rahmen Abdullah.

Where to source art: Ms Robb recommended commercial galleries such as Turner, Venn, Seva Frangos and Art Collective WA, and Artist Run Initiatives (ARIs) such as Paper Mountain, Moana, PS Space, Perth Centre for Photography and Free Range Gallery.

"A good starting place which also supports artists is through graduate exhibitions and fundraising auctions - Curtin University, Central Institute and ECU all do various shows around October and November, when they open their graduate shows to the public," she said.

According to Ms Robb, many public galleries commission limited-edition artworks by leading artists, offering an opportunity to own a work by an artist with a national and international reputation.

She also recommended local hardcopy and online guide Circuit, which listed all the shows and spaces in WA, and joining gallery mailing lists and attending openings. "They are the social side of art," she said.

Nichola Zed, of Artsource, has these tips for choosing art

•Like finding a home, artwork usually finds you and you must look at a few before you’ll find the right one.

•Art does not need to be hugely expensive. Emerging artists are a great place to start.

•Starting with a place (void) you can visualise hanging, placing, suspending or fixing your new work can be help in guiding you for what you want. Take a photo of the space and then take it to the gallery or studio so you can place it in context. Understanding your lighting will also help to choose a work that suits best.

•Artworks will also move around the home or garden, so do not be fixated on positioning. Moving art around is a great way to reinvent a space.

What's on

"As part of the annual PICA Salon we run a philanthropy program for people wanting to get more involved, called ART1000," Ms Robb said. The program runs until August 31 and visitors can purchase from a curated selection of new works from more than 25 artists, meet the artists and other like-minded people in a relaxed environment. Go to for details.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Change location


- °

Lifestyle Videos

Follow Us

More from The West