I finally narrowed down my selection to three pieces: a large scale black & white photograph for Ryan, a framed Roy Lichenstein print for me and a housewarming present for my friend Rachel (which she has not yet received-- hence the mystery square. But don't worry! All will be revealed soon.)
Sources (clockwise from top left):
Thank you, Art.com! I'm so excited about my new pieces. The Art.com team members I interacted with were extremely kind and patient with me. I mean, come on, I took a whole month to decide. If they had been even the slightest bit impatient with me, it would have been totally justified. But they were nice and helpful as can be. Once I finally pulled the trigger, the shipping was lightening fast.
If you find yourself shopping for reasonably-priced art this holiday season, here are a few strategies I recommend for navigating their site:
1. Let others do the work for you!
When they unveiled their recent site relaunch, Art.com had the brilliant idea to ask trendsetters to pick their favorite pieces. The easiest way to browse is to check out their top picks-- after all, they are all seasoned design aficionados with great taste. Check out the Inspiring Insiders page.
2. Browse in other venues, then cross-check against Art.com
The sheer volume of Art.com's offerings can be intimidating. I admit that even when I had a $500 freebie to take advantage of, some mornings I logged into my Art.com account fully intending to make a selection. Then logged out seconds later because I didn't feel up to the herculean task of wading through all those images. It can be sensory overload!
But the upshot to Art.com's volume is that if you see something you like on Pinterest, in a museum, in a magazine or even on a TV show, chances are pretty decent that Art.com offers a print of it. Just be sure to jot down the artist name and any other info you come across, then search for it in Art.com's excellent search bar.(This strategy is actually how I stumbled upon the perfect housewarming present for Rachel. I spotted it on Pinterest and on the set of a popular TV show-- hint hint.)
3. Word Association Search
I knew I wanted to find a large scale black & white photograph for Ryan's kitchen, but I didn't have any concrete sense of subject. So to get started, I thought of places, activities and things that I associate with Ryan-- New Orleans (his hometown), the Brooklyn Bridge (over which he commutes via bike everyday), football (his favorite sport) and dogs (our dog is maybe the only thing he loves more than football). I came across some really great vintage shots of New Orleans, but ultimately, he decided he liked the Brooklyn Bridge photo the best. I take it as a sign that he's adapting to his new home here in New York City!
You can also always rely on Art.com's categories-- Artists, Art Styles and Subjects, particularly if you have a sense of what artists or periods you like. Once you've saved your favorites to a gallery, I highly recommend their "View in Room" function. Jenny of Little Green Notebook has a good demo on how she used "View in Room" to pick out a piece for her daughters' room-- check it out here.