Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Buy Me Some Art

By Deb Cummings

Buying art can be intimidating. For one, galleries are often quiet, formal spaces that boast items with big price tags. And, secondly, where do you begin when a gallery owner approaches you? What questions do you ask? How do you not sound like a doofus or a fraud?

“It’s not that I am bashing galleries,” stresses Vandy Midha, BFA’12. “Not at all. In fact, I am a big believer in galleries and seeing the art in person, but I can understand someone’s reticence.”

It was this niche, or hole in the market, that prompted Midha, a Calgary-based art consultant, to create an e-commerce website she’s dubbed ArtMatch.

Acting as a form of matchmaker, Midha’s website showcases more than 700 pieces of art from 32 artists in the Calgary area that anyone can scroll through. Search by artist, style, price and size; it’s up to you.

How Midha makes a living is through the three service packages listed on ArtMatch. Each package includes a personal consultation with Midha, who meets customers in their homes to discuss their needs, taste, style and budget. Midha scrolls through her website-gallery of paintings while gleaning a better sense of what the client wants. She then takes a photo of the space they want to fill with art and provides a shortlist of artworks digitally placed in the photo, which the customer can preview on their phone or tablet.

Prices depend on how many walls on which customers want to hang art and they have access to Midha’s service for six months.

For me, the whole process took place from the comfort of my couch over a cup of tea. And then, 24 hours later, I was staring at nifty images of my art shortlist cleverly placed on my walls — from soothing prairie landscapes and big, bold mountainscapes, to abstract flowers and canvases of whimsy — which made all the difference. After culling my choices even further, Midha brought several paintings to my home; part of her service that lets her customers “test-drive” the art for 48 hours before making a decision.

As for Midha’s client base, she says most are in their 40s or 50s and usually spend between $1,000 and $2,000 on a piece of art. “I think you start valuing art when you value where you are living and when you want your home to be your home . . . when you start caring about what you put in it,” she says.

“Of course, this can happen at any age or stage,” adds Midha, who has formal training as an artist and interior design. “But, typically, it’s when you want to start investing in good things or want to support local.”


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