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10 places to buy affordable, ethical art in Australia

IMAGE VIA PARADISE PRESS

WORDS BY GEORGIE KIBEL

 

Time to upgrade from the New York map print.

The art world can be overwhelming. It reminds me of the bar Pontoon in St. Kilda on a Saturday night: intimidating to enter, full of people considered to be high-class, and pricey. Very, very pricey. It may be easier to simply go to Kmart or Ikea, surrender to the lack of creativity that is a black and white map of New York (you know the one), and hang it on your wall.

Sure, you may feel dissatisfied and perhaps guilty that you didn’t give your hard-earned money to someone making an effort to crack into the industry, but wasn’t it easier than buying a piece from inside the world of art? That place is too scary for novices like you and me!

Well, I am pleased to say you can kiss this mentality goodbye, as these days the art world is opening its arms and greeting everyone with warm, affordable hugs. Many galleries and curators are pivoting their focus towards emerging artists in an attempt to make the industry more inclusive for both young creatives and shoppers.

Supporting the creatives behind the work should be the first priority of any Australian art-shopper, but art being budget-friendly and ethical are also important factors to keep in mind. If you are new to buying art and would like to make your house as aesthetically pleasing as Dakota Johnson’s hollywood home, take a look at this list of 10 affordable and ethical art stores.  

Cream Town

Cream Town’s gallery reminds me of a Pinterest board I titled ‘I wish this is how my Tumblr looked when I was a teenager’. The birth of Cream Town occurred when two sisters, Bell and Pearl, felt something had to be done about the financial hardship that artists were facing in Australia due to the virus that shall not be named. Inspired by their friendship group’s tradition to all chip in and buy a piece of art for each other on their birthdays (so wholesome), Cream Town is a cafe based in Castlemaine, as well as an online art hub that stocks enchanting prints that you can give to friends and family (or keep for yourself). $5 from every order at Cream Town goes towards paying the rent and is distributed between Seed Mob and Blaq

isaebella.com/shop

Paradise Press

Paradise Press curates exclusive and limited A3 prints made by independent creatives. It is a slow art initiative that specialises in being ethical and environmentally conscious, meaning it will only ever print a collection once in order to reduce waste. Most importantly, artists receive profits for their work, and 25 per cent of profits are also donated to The Kindness Institute which supports the mental wellbeing of young New Zealanders. Paradise Press is co-owned by friends Patrick Hickley, a designer and photographer, and Annabel Hawkins, a writer, poet and marketer. Prominent artists that feature in its online gallery are Bel Williams, Alice Clifford and Lewis Ferris. Its selection of modern art, which ranges from photography to graphic design, is very affordable and made all the more special by its one-off nature.

paradisepress.co.nz

Sunday Salon

Sunday Salon is an online art platform curated and managed by Lily Mora, the granddaughter of Australian art icon, Mirka Mora. The mission of Sunday Salon is to promote the work of both emerging and established artists while also making art simple and accessible to purchase. Having worked with some of the grandest art galleries that the world has to offer, Lily has pivoted her focus to a project which embodies her passion for inclusivity and equality. Ranging from $300 to $4000, Sunday Salon is ideal for those who appreciate pieces that feel sophisticated and modern.

sundaysalon.com.au

Outré Gallery

Outré Gallery has lived on Elizabeth Street in Melbourne for over two decades, but the intriguing artwork it exhibits can also be purchased online. If you are into budget-friendly, new contemporary art, look no further. The much-loved Melbourne gallery stocks the unique and wacky and has a plethora of options for under $100. It’s a great choice for those who are new to buying art.

outregallery.com

Warlayirti Artists

Warlayirti Artists is a 100 per cent Aboriginal owned and governed organisation that endeavours to support the long traditions of the Wirrimanu (Balgo), Kururrungku (Bililuna) and Mulan Communities. Warlayirti Artists represents more than 200 artists who create fine art paintings, prints, dyed silk scarves, multimedia works and artefacts. For as little as $150, you can own a one of a kind painting that has been made in the renowned Balgo art facility, and Warlayirti Artists is also verified by the Indigenous Art Code, so what you are buying is not only beautiful but ethical, too.

www.balgoart.org.au

The Adventures Of 

The Adventures Of is based in South Sydney and is run by husband and wife team, Ben and Amanda Denning. Their philosophy is to celebrate life through quality paper goods. The Adventure Of’s fine art prints are bold, colourful and gleeful, and many prints are under $100 which is lucky because it is very difficult to pick only one. Often adorned with French writing and gorgeous florals, its prints are a great option for those wanting to create an eclectic look.

Art Projects Australia

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#enterthestockroom Each Tuesday, we showcase pieces from our stockroom so you can continuously discover Arts Project Australia artists and their artwork. Today, indulge in these pieces from Amani Tia, Bronwyn Hack and Terry Williams. Tia, known for his depictions of artists and musicians from the 1950s-1970s, presents a sincere portrait of the Aretha Franklin, her profile even more iconic set against a luminous pink background. Echoing this representation of feminine glory, Hack’s female nude employs the textural qualities of charcoal and pastel to provide attention to form and shadows, bringing forth a realist quality. From here is Terry Wiliam’s ‘The Devils’ from 2009; whilst not the soft sculpture he is known for, this funny and simple line drawing shows another dimension of his idiosyncratic creativity. Visit the Arts Project Australia stockroom to learn more about these artists. Amani Tia, Aretha Franklin the Queen of a Soul, 2019 Bronwyn Hack, Not titled, 2015 Terry Williams,The Devils, 2009

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Arts Projects Australia is a social enterprise that supports artists with intellectual disabilities. Opening in 1974, Arts Projects Australia was the first full-time art studio in Australia for artists with intellectual disabilities and has advocated for an inclusive art industry ever since. Its paintings and designs are all around $100 and vary in subject matter and size. The pieces are eye-catching, diverse and emulate the feeling of fine art without the hefty price tag.

artsproject.org.au

Greenhouse Interiors

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Might you wonder how SO many good things can make their way into one pretty pic? Yes, indeed it is worth the ponder. However, don't waste the ponder, it's as simple as jumping onto our site and choosing these pretty things for yourself. Pictured here are just some of our faves, including our newest member to join the gang, Contemporary Aboriginal Artist, Lou Martin. She is keeping fine company with fellow Abstract Artist, Georgie Wilson. And trust me, they are definitely not pondering anything, merely admiring each other's good looks. How lovely. Styling for @greenhouseinteriors by @interiordesignstein @jessretallack assist @lisa.hunter.home @chasingcharlie.interiors @lisakozstylist @thisvacantspace Pic @armellehabib

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If you want your home to appear fit for a magazine shoot, Greenhouse Interiors is the store for you. Stocking the work of some of Australia’s finest creatives, such as Charlotte Taylor, Doulene Walker and Jade Fisher, Greenhouse Interiors’ team of industry professionals hand select the crème de la crème for your purchasing pleasure. The art varies widely in price, making the store perfect for both novices and well-seasoned art collectors. 

greenhouseinteriors.com.au

Art Pharmacy

Located in Newtown, Sydney, a suburb described as an “alternative haven”, Art Pharmacy embodies the unapologetic and unconventional atmosphere of the place where it resides. Dedicated to supporting local talent, Art Pharmacy has a grass-roots approach within the industry and is free from commercial affiliations with any other art galleries. While the gallery does stock art that is somewhat pricey, a browse through its website will reveal hidden gems for under $200. 

artpharmacy.com.au

Artelier

Founded by brothers Sam and Dave, Artelier is a store dedicated to discovering art and making it more affordable, while also ensuring that artists receive their commission. Thousands of pieces of Australian art by emerging and established creatives can be found in the under $500 section, made all the more satisfying by knowing that the profits go towards the people who deserve it. Shopping from a gallery that respects artists and the community is achievable through Artelier, and due to the highly curated nature of the store, there are plenty of wall-worthy pieces to choose from. Artelier also has free shipping Australia wide, and who doesn’t love free shipping? 

artelier.com.au

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