A how-to for getting into collecting

Local pop/lowbrow art collector Raymond Schwab said that art is “the best present ever.” And seriously, what better gift for the art lover on your list than… art?

Schwab said he started collecting work that made him happy. So even if you feel like you lack the requisite knowledge to make a purchase, or you aren't confident your choice would fit your friend or loved one's eye or sense of style, you don't have to be a connoisseur to make a smart art buy.

Many local artists work on commission, and while it's likely too late to have commissioned work done for the holidays, there are plenty of opportunities to see art by local makers either in galleries or other art spaces or online. While it can be sometimes tricky for local and/or emerging artists to maintain a fully representative online store, you can get a sense of their style and sometimes can buy some cool stuff that might not be a formal piece of art but still keeps that “best gift ever” vibe of giving art.

Stephanie Rond is a firmly established artist who offers some of her work on T-shirts via her website. Check out stephanierond.com, click on “Shop” and order up the pictured “Love Is Love” in one of five colors for $28.

If your recipient might dig something a little more comic-inspired, maybe something Spacegirl or Spaceboy, is what you're looking for, courtesy Hakim Callwood at hakimsartnstuff.com. The pictured Spacegirl tee is $10, but Callwood has a bunch of options, and some aren't even shirts!

Adam Hernandez has shirts at ahernandezart.com, and also prints, posters and original paintings. Hernandez has a cool, Central/South American-meets-graffiti/street art style, and his Land of Thunderbirds is fast becoming immediately identifiable in Columbus and beyond. Wood block prints of various Thunderbirds are available for $25.

You want to err on the practical side but aren't sure about a tee? Visit theartofericjefferson.com and pick up one of Eric Jefferson's 2018 Golden Era Hip-Hop Calendar for $10 or a Deck of Hip-Hop Playing Cards for $25. Dude has original hip-hop themed pieces for $50 and, yeah, T-shirts.

And if you're still not sure and want a whole different look, check out Aina Turiaga's work at the “Shop” link at halfexposedstudio.blogspot.com. Her unique, lighthearted-yet-offbeat characters rendered in oil and ink are available, as are quirky mixed-media assemblages for $40. (The pictured work is on view at The Table through the end of the month.)