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The economy is down and our bank accounts are deflated, but that doesn’t mean we have to go without great art. The major difference is that we can’t afford supporting good artists to get it. Obviously that’s pretty harsh since we should want to promote good art, but if you can’t afford it then that’s that. Instead, here are a couple of ways to make bad art good or to find good art for cheap.

There are few better feelings than walking into a thrift shop and finding a great framed piece of canvas that you already have a plan for. These bargain basement values will often set you back little more than $5. I like to take the content in these frames and use that as a jumping off point, creatively. For instance, I’ve often seen framed art that has a nautical theme to it, be it an ocean landscape or maybe a lighthouse safely guiding ships in with a beacon of light. Take those boring images and use some acrylic paint to add a sea monster ravaging some fishermen, a dragon terrorizing a village, or an alien space ship hovering above the beach. The problem with a lot of this cheap art isn’t that it’s particularly “bad” so much as that it’s boring. If you’ve got the necessary painting skills (or not if that’s how you roll) you can take cheap generic stuff and make it your own.

Purposeful Ruination
This is exactly the same thing as the above category, except that it involves using prints of extremely good but overplayed pieces that just about anyone is liable to recognize like this awesome blog showing a variety of altered versions of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”.

Guest Post: Repurposing Canvas Art
Photo Credit: Popped Culture

Yes I know, stencils are for amateurs, if you’re that awesome you can use a paintbrush. For those of us who are awful at typographical things, we will cheat. Hip boutique stores sell framed art like this for far more than it’s worth, but you’re smarter than that. You’re savvy. Take a forest landscape and stencil “Vintage Solar Cells”, or “Carbon-Emission Free Energy before it was cool” across it. If you’re not into the hipster thing, stencil something inspirational over the classic evergreens and mountain lake as a pick me up for a rainy day.

Yard Sales
This isn’t so much repurposing as it is simple reuse. If art modification makes your skin crawl then yard sales are for you. The fact is that a lot of people can’t tell the difference between good and bad art. That means some people overprice bad art, but it also means heavily underpriced good art. If you go around every weekend and look through local yard sales you will absolutely find some priceless stuff at absurdly low prices all because someone didn’t know or care that grandma was an art aficionado.

{Edward Stuart wrote this on behalf of canvasgalleryart.com.}