The Best Affordable Artists – Picked By A Pro

Art consultant Hettie Reatchlous wants to make buying, collecting and commissioning art something that anyone can enjoy. If the art scene feels intimidating or out of your budget, her hot list of affordable artists might change your mind…

Hettie’s art knowledge knows no borders. She followed a history of art MA from Edinburgh Uni with seven years working with acclaimed art dealer Michael Goedhuis and has now exhibited at more than 50 international art fairs from Maastricht to Miami. As a result, she brings to her clients a far-reaching network of artists, galleries, curators and dealers, and a deep understanding of the global art market. 

“I think there is a common misconception that buying art always has to be expensive,” says Hettie. “This really doesn't have to be the case. It's really exciting buying art from artists at the beginning of their careers. You can then follow their journey and watch how their style and technique evolves. And when it comes successful art collecting, only one thing is universal: you should really love the art you buy – regardless of the price. Go with your gut.”

All the artists Hettie has chosen below have works starting from between £400 and £750.

Alex Yarlett 

I recently discovered Alex Yarlett and his wonderfully vivid abstract landscapes which blur the lines between dream and reality. His expressive style, looseness of brush strokes and brilliant colour combinations make his works particularly engaging. He strives to convey the emotion of his surroundings and the vibrancy of nature, the outcome being highly evocative and atmospheric. Created through a combination of both spontaneous painting and sketching, Alex uses a mixture of fast line work and slow observational drawing in a range of materials. From his studio, he then slowly builds and blends layer upon layer of medium to evolve each work into his unique and emotive abstract art. If you’re like me and craving some much-needed escapism at the moment, Alex’s paintings will hit the spot. 


Stirling Caiulo 

Stirling is an abstract figurative artist based in Melbourne. He caught my attention when I came across his time-lapse videos of his process. I find that understanding an artist’s process can often make a work easier to connect with. Watching Stirling’s figures come to life and emerge from the paper is completely captivating. He demonstrates a striking ability to navigate light and shadow through intricate and densely layered charcoal paintings. Through his wonderfully distinctive style – born from using a mixture of charcoal, acetone, graphite and acrylic paint – he creates brilliant portraits which remarkably blend the boundaries between abstraction and realism. An artist who is shaking up the art world and breaking new ground, he is definitely one to watch.


Thierry Porter 

I’m a huge admirer of Thierry Porter and his wonderful line drawings which explore themes of both vulnerability and identity through a minimalist depiction of the human form. Drawing from photographs, life models and his own self, Thierry captures different feelings and emotions through the simplicity and movement of a single line and his wonderfully restrained and organic colour palette. What I love about his work is that it inspires us to be vulnerable in our natural form and encourages self-acceptance, which so many people – including myself – struggle with day to day.


Sara Dodd 

I am a big fan of texture and am always drawn towards more sculptural pieces by their ability to transform and add an extra dimension to any space. Sara’s ceramics are both incredibly tactile and beautifully formed. They have wonderful depth, and exude character and charm. ‘Swell’ is built up by hundreds of layers of porcelain which are so thin they often look like paper. ‘Decipher’ is made by grouping together multiple ribbons of porcelain on a circular base. In their intricate forms, both pieces wonderfully balance fragility with strength, making them uniquely captivating. 


Katie Mawson  

Katie is a prime example of someone making art in a sustainable way. Trained as a textile designer, she’s always had a love and fascination with colour and book covers. Over the past couple of years she’s begun collecting vintage and cloth-bound books from charity shops to use as both her palette and canvas, each one with a former life and different story. She slices, cuts, rips and skins the cloths from their boards, deconstructing them only to reconstruct them into new triumphs of colour, shape and texture. In unsettling times, I find art that radiates both curiosity and vibrancy to be incredibly uplifting and inspiring. These look wonderful either as standalone pieces or in a montage on a gallery wall.


And If Money Was No Object…

This is tough because there are so many, but I have always been a massive fan of photography – three favourites being Helmut Newton, Richard Mosse and Annie Leibovitz. A particular photograph I have always pined for is Melvin Sokolsky’s ‘Bubble on the Seine’ which was shot in 1963 for Harper’s Bazaar. What I particularly love about it is Sokolsky was intent on there being no digital manipulation, which is so rare these days. The bubble was produced in ten days using plexiglass and aircraft aluminium, then suspended by an 8in aircraft cable above the Seine, with Sokolsky’s favourite model, Simone d’Aillencourt, encased within it. Sokolsky was a bold and important pioneer of illusory fashion photography. Striking, iconic and timeless, this is a standout piece for me. 

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