Why Should I Buy Original Art?
First of all, maybe its not necessary for you to buy original art. If a poster or reproduction fits your need, then that's an inexpensive alternative. But, in many cases, you'll find that an original is no more than a signed and numbered reproduction that thousands of other people will also own. Usually an original oil, acrylic, or drawing is more expensive than a reproduction, but you can own an original print (an etching, mezzotint, monotype, etc.) for very little. The typical edition sizes are 100 to 200 prints plus artist's proofs. So, you're still in a very select group of people that own the work.
If you want to own a unique piece of art that no one else has, then the original oil, watercolor, pastel, acrylic, etc. is for you. Otherwise, choose an original print.
PRINTS - ORIGINAL or REPRODUCTION?
I am both a painter and printmaker. I do original oils, acrylics, pastels, drawings, and prints. I print my own etchings, keeping a log of all of the signed and numbered editions that I do. When I've sold the edition, I sell no more. My integrity assures this. Original prints costs more! But they are worth the price. Prints and posters usually are reproductions. What this means is that they are made from a photograph of the work that is made into color separations, and then printed on a large press like that used to print newspapers or magazines. The image quality is often good, but the paper used is usually not. The size of such editions is usually in the hundreds, if not thousands. This is necessary to justify the high cost of printing. They fill an important need for inexpensive art. When the price for this type of print is as high as an original print, it's no bargain. I may offer reproductions in the future, but for now I do only original work. Prints can be considered as original if they meet certain criteria. Usually etchings, mezzotints, monotypes, and true lithographs are made on an intaglio or litho press. Serigraphs, or silk-screens, are made from a screen or screens. Again, they are usually done by hand. Integral to the process is the presence of the artist. He or she controls the nuances of color, the pressure, and other variables, producing a fine piece of art. These pieces often show slight variances that make them more unique. This is what artist's proofs should be. But often reproductions are sold the same way. Artists proofs from reproductions make no sense at all since the artist isn't really proofing the print, the way its done when an artist develops an original print. The original print is made one at a time. Subtle changes are made until the print looks the way the artist wants. It is this footprint of the artist's work that makes these prints (artist's proofs) more valuable! Once the artist is happy with the development of the piece, then the edition is printed, each print one at a time. The proofs are signed "A/P" for artist's proof, and are usually limited to 10 per cent of the whole edition. The edition is numbered "1,2,3.../100" if the edition is 100. The paper that these prints are made on is usually 100% rag. That means it will last longer, without discoloring. But it is also more expensive.
The combination of small editions (not many people can own one), expensive materials, and labor intensive work (each done by the artist one at a time) makes original prints cost more but worth the value. They will last for hundreds of years!
Since these pieces of art will last your lifetime, I think that buying original art is an important decision that should reflect your interests, and even be an extension of your personality. It is important, then, that the decision not be based on changing "decor colors" that will be replaced by others in a few years. It is equally important to buy what you like, and not buy for what others will think, or for investment.