Affordable artwork for your home

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With the Archibald Prize just around the corner, it's the perfect time for everyone to embrace their inner art critic! You don't just have to enjoy art at a gallery though - there are also a number of places where you can buy art for your home at an affordable price.

You don't need to spend a fortune to start your own art collection at home.

It's that time of year again. Hundreds of submitted portraits will draw art connoisseurs and rookies alike to speculate on who will take out Australia's most prestigious portrait prize, the Archibald. An exhibition of the artworks shortlisted for the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes will be held from the 19th of July until the end of September at the Art Gallery of NSW.

If the exhibition of prominent Australian artists' works whets your appetite for visual art, why not consider starting an art collection at home? Although a painting by Del Kathryn Barton, Brett Whitely or John Olsen might be a little out of your price range, there are a variety of ways to purchase artwork on a shoestring budget.

Think local

There's definitely something thrilling about viewing an exhibited artwork and buying it right off the wall! Browsing and buying art at small, independent galleries in your city is an easy way to avoid breaking the bank. There's no better - or more enjoyable - way to judge if you really love an artwork than seeing it up close and personal, and by supporting emerging artists and local galleries you could snap up original art at a bargain pricei.

Although a tight budget won't allow for the purchase of renowned artists' works, you might end up discovering and buying the work of an unknown or young creative before they become the next big thing. You could keep an eye out for exhibitions of students' works too, as these works will often be sold for minimal pricesi. Another idea is to head down to your local art market to discover works by local artists.

Whether it's a print or an original piece, artworks can provide an interesting focal point for living spaces.

Embrace prints

With prints, there's more scope to choose an artwork from any genre or era, making them an affordable alternative to original pieces. From American pop art to Australian Aboriginal art, and traditional Japanese woodblock prints to French impressionist paintings, the art world is your oyster when shopping for prints.

Whether you want to hang a famous or unknown artist's work in your home, purchasing prints is a great way to obtain art affordably. Sometimes it's possible to buy them as a canvas, wood mount or framed for under three figures, for example at AllPosters, Urban Road or PictureStore. If you'd like to find a print that few other people would have seen before, Tiny Showcase is a site where a limited number of new prints are released each week. Better yet, the sale of the reasonably priced prints not only goes towards the artist, but also a charity of the artist's choosingii.

Of course, another place to buy prints is at national and state galleries, when you visit an exhibition like the Archibald. Prints bought from overseas galleries also make perfect souvenirs to take home from a favourite exhibition or memorable holiday; just make sure you consider how it will be transported before buying the artwork.

iHayashi Y, '10 ways to add art on a budget',, viewed 12 May 2014,

iiApartment Therapy, Tremendous Art on a Tiny Budget: Tiny Showcase, viewed 14 May 2014,