Know Before You Buy: 4 Tips for Purchasing Authentic Art Souvenirs

Know Before You Buy: 4 Tips for Purchasing Authentic Art Souvenirs

When you buy art, do you think about where it comes from? How do you know it’s legitimate and authentic? A lot of art in the world is “fake.” What this means is when you travel to new places, a lot of the art in souvenir shops isn’t actually from there. It’s often made in China, Brazil, Taiwan, or a different place altogether and shipped to Hawaii, Mexico, or Sedona, AZ, but in the style of local art so you don’t know the difference. 

My husband and I usually pick up a piece of pottery or woodworking when we travel to new places. This is the one souvenir we treat ourselves to. It supports local artists, adds worldly beauty to our home, and displays our values. We have gotten really good at making sure what we buy is authentic and not shipped in as a fake. Here's a beautiful hand-lathed wood pot that we picked up in Sedona and which inspired one of my daily paintings.

Here are 4 ways to make sure your art purchase while traveling is legit:

1. Does the person who’s selling it know exactly who the artist is, including name and where they’re from?

2. Can the seller describe the materials, symbols, and other important features of the art and their meaning? 

3. Does it look like it’s made from materials that could be found locally? If it’s plastic, it’s probably not local.

4. Does it look like something you could find in every souvenir shop on Main Street of the town you’re visiting? If the quality isn’t elevated above this mainstream art, it’s probably not from a local artist. 

These aren’t hard and fast rules, but they’re worth considering. If you want authentic art for your home and you want to support local artists, ask questions before you buy! Do a little due diligence. If you’re not convinced, don’t buy it. There will be other shops and art stands. 

I hope you found this post useful. Send it to a friend or family member before their next trip, and let me know if you use it on one of your trips. 

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