An Average Joe's Guide to Buying Art, with Yo Miami's Yuval Ofir

It's a new year, folks, and instead of making false promises to yourself, why don't you invest in something solid and true -- like art?

Art will never go out of style, and with Yo Miami's monthly art sale, your pockets won't be suffering either.

Yuval Ofir, a Miamian through and through, first started Yo Miami as a Facebook page as a way to let his friends know about events and places in Wynwood. "As my network of people directly involved in the [art] scene began to grow, I started using the company to pursue the things that I wanted to see come to fruition," he says.

Aside from covering and putting on various events in the music and art worlds, Yo Miami has created Yo Space, a place where artists can rent out a studio space, work on their pieces, and exhibit their work. And after some time, those artists want to move their work - move it from their space to yours.

That's where Yo Miami's Average Joe Art Sale comes in, taking place every first Sunday of the month.

The Average Joe sale was born out of an idea for an event "where people could come hang out in a laid-back environment and check out (and hopefully purchase) affordably priced local art." Ofir wants to make sure that you feel right at home at the Yo Miami space, so he has set up a ping pong table, a Nintendo 64 console, and even paired it all with music.

"This month we have Cog Nomen, Tony Laurencio (from Afrobeta), and DJ Ackdaddy providing us with the musical styling to go along with our custom-painted ping pong table, N64, and other elements meant to make you feel at home," he says.

And while you're be walking around checking out the original art, you might even bump into some of the artists there. And, there won't be much of a need to haggle down prices when the art starts at just $5 and Ofir has capped the price tags at $500.

"We still make sure to include a wide range of prices with prints starting at just $5; aside from the art, I always try and make sure that the vibe is relaxed and people feel comfortable asking questions and interacting with one another."

There are two featured artists each month, which, as Ofir explains, is meant to give these artists a "chance to shine." During this week's sale, James Brutus created a mural installation specifically for the event, whereas Teepop painted eight portrait pieces. Limited edition prints of the mural will be made available by the artist and Yo Space.

Since Ofir knows a thing or two about art, we had to ask him: Where else could we go to find affordable art in Miami? It all depends on two things, he says, "your budget and how much legwork you're willing to do." But he did offer up these simple tips:

Buy Directly From The Artist

Ofir recommends getting the best deals from the artist him/herself. "That method has also led me to developing lasting relationships with artists and being able to follow the evolution of their work over the years."

Shop "Collectives"

"There are a few other 'collectives' such as Moksha Family Arts Collective or Viophillia, which work closely with a limited roster of artists and will often put on events including additional outside artists to exhibit." He also recommended checking out Bakehouse or ArtCenter, which also have sales featuring their resident artists.

Go With Your Gut

Don't over-think it when it comes to shopping for good art, says Ofir; it's better to "go with your gut since everyone will have his own opinion as to what 'good art' is." Also, make sure you will enjoy looking at the piece day in and day out.

Sometimes, You Need to Consult the Experts

When it comes to curating pieces for shows, Ofir says how "there's no method to my madness that I can put into words," but how he oftentimes consults his fiancé, who is an artist herself, or "Kazilla, a Yo Space resident artist who's been doing street art herself for years."

The Average Joe Art Sale will take place Sunday, January 5, from 3-8pm at the Yo Miami Yo Space (294 NE 62nd St., Miami). Complimentary food will be provided by La Pizzeria di Lemoni and the beer is on the house. Event is free and open to the public.

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