How to Discover Your Taste in Art

 “New Glasses to See New” (Sold), by Scott Dykema
 “New Glasses to See New” (Sold), by Scott Dykema
 “New Glasses to See New” (Sold), by Scott Dykema

“I know nothing about art, but I’m learning that I really like Impressionist landscapes,” said UGallery client Meenal recently, as she was browsing original art on UGallery’s website. “Oh my god, this is so cool and it’s so intuitive!”

There doesn’t have to be a rhyme or reason to discovering your taste in art, Samantha Greene, UGallery Art Advisor says. “Just go with what you like. Just start looking.”

The more invested you become in looking at art, the more you’ll learn. And the more you learn, the more fun it will be to collect works for your home that you’ll admire for years to come.


View as Much Art as You Can

The best way to find what you like is to commit to seeing and learning about as much art as you can, and then paying attention to what speaks to you. The more art you absorb, the more you’ll begin to hone your eye and see what visually grabs you.

Good places to start include visiting art museums and galleries where you live and wherever you travel; researching famous artists in books or online to learn about their subjects, styles, mediums and art movements; and connecting with contemporary artists at art openings or artist talks, where you might hear about the process or inspiration behind the work.

And don’t be afraid to ask for advice from art collectors, gallery owners, art advisors and artists themselves. Listen to how they describe different works, and begin to develop your own art vocabulary. Most people who make art or appreciate art are excited to talk about it.

Identify What You’re Drawn to (Subject, Style, Medium)

Around the holidays, UGallery client James hoped to find a painting for his wife, but he wasn’t very confident in buying art. He started looking online at UGallery paintings, and saw one that caught his eye: an oil painting of Florence by Onelio Marrero titled “Piazza Del Mercato Nuovo”, depicting vendors covering their colorful wares with tarps before the impending rain. James chose it for his wife because they had taken a trip to Florence, and he thought that it would serve as a special memento of that time.

Since then, he has purchased more paintings of Italian scenes by the same artist. “James is really building out his taste and his collection, jumping off from that first piece of Florence,” Greene says.“Piazza Del Mercato Nuovo” (Sold), by Onelio MarreroWhen identifying what you’re drawn to, it can be helpful to take notes, and you can even begin a list of favorite work that you’ve seen. For example, you might always gravitate to work that speaks to your interests, or work that is full of bright colors.

You’ll begin to notice things like your preference for representational or abstract art, or if you gravitate more towards the subject matter of the piece than the artist’s medium or style.

Keeping a record of the kind of art you like can help you see patterns in your taste. Documenting what stood out to you while you were browsing can help lead you to pieces that you’ll love collecting.


Find Art That Reflects Who You Are

When UGallery client Karen saw a painting by artist Mary Pratt called “Legs And All,” of three tall, slim women dressed in fitted black pants that mirror the skinny legs of the giant cranes that surround them, she immediately saw herself in it.

“I’m the girl on the far right in that piece … all legs,” she told us.“Legs And All” (Sold), by Mary PrattShe also liked the way that the painting made her feel.

“The scale of the birds and their yellow feet are fabulous, giving me permission to not take life too seriously,” she said. “I smiled, giggled and then laughed so hard that I snorted.”

If you see yourself in a piece of art, or if you like the way that it makes you feel, you might connect to it on a different level than people who view it and have no personal tie to it.

“People connect to art for many different reasons, and I think that a lot of the time it can be an expression of themselves,” Greene says.

Look for Art That Reminds You of Your Favorite People and Places

Meenal, the UGallery client who found that she likes Impressionist landscapes, is moving from the Boston area to Indiana for a new job, so bought a piece of artwork that will remind her of a good friend in the Northeast.

“Now, in my new house, whenever I look at this piece I’ll be able to think of you,” she told her friend.

If you follow your heart when looking for art, you’ll rarely ever go wrong. You don’t have to buy artwork because someone else likes it, or because the artist or style is popular at the time. Some of the best pieces of art we can buy for ourselves are the ones that spark memories of our favorite people or places.

Trust yourself and your taste. After all, “You’re going to be reminded of the reason you purchased the piece in the first place whenever you walk by it,” Greene says.

Pay Attention as Your Taste Changes Over Time

Your taste in art may change over time, and that’s OK. The more you look at different kinds of art, the more you’ll expand your appreciation for it and refine your tastes in it. You may even find that the pieces you collect along the way become more significant to you as time passes.

Recently, Greene received an email from a UGallery client named Jim who had bought a painting in the past and felt an urge to reach out.

It read, “I also want to touch base with those people who I am grateful for and I am hoping you might tell the artist who created the painting I bought 3 years ago, Scott Dykema, that I have enjoyed his painting on my wall every day but now when I look at it here in NYC it makes me so happy and contented. Just want him to know his wonderful work has found a great home and I’m so appreciative.”

“He was definitely finding something deeper with this piece,” Greene says. “Even after all of these years.”

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