I always prefer real art opposed to prints..as I am sure most people do! Most people though have prints and copies in their home and that perplexed me. If you admire the art of an unknown artist, their originals are many times the same cost or sometimes even less than a good reproduction. I realized though that it is sometimes harder to shop for real art ..unless you are willing to take a chance and use a medium like E-bay. The only other reliable source of unknown artists is craft shows.
Here is a painting I bought off of e-bay for under $100.00. It was painted mid 20th century and was inspired by a famous painting entitled "The Pharaoh's Horses" which is one of my all time favorites!
I purchased this original work at a horse show in Dallas. The artist said she was inspired to paint it when she had to find her horse during a white out snow storm up North so she could put him in the barn. I love the texture of this painting so much that I decided not to frame it. Again - the cost was so low, I hate to even think what she made "per hour" to paint it!
My biggest loss: I was in a thrift store once and saw a beautiful painting of roses. The colors did not match the decor of my home at all and I knew that if I bought it - it would only be stored in hopes of using it to decorate the future home we hope to build one day. The price tag was $80.00. I am still angry with myself for not buying this beautiful painting.
I do have a few prints in my home though, one I inherited from my parents when they downsized and moved into a high rise, and another that my MIL bought me...and I adore both!