Becoming an art collector

Looking for a new hobby? Why not become an art collector! Imagine how exciting it would be to curate your own art collection. Recently, I was reading an interesting blog article about Howto Start a Fine Art Collection on Invaluable and it made me think that it might be interesting to give my artist's perspective on the subject.

Alpine Gold, 2014,
18x12 inches, Acrylic on Wodd Panel
Firstly, you don’t need to be a millionaire to start an art collection, there is a multitude of good quality art for every budget. As an artist, myself, I have found ways to collect some impressive little pieces for my tiny budget. I have traded small paintings with other artists, purchased a few art studies, plus, I have a large collection of miniature art in the form of ATC’s (Artist Trading Cards) and ACEO’s (Art Card Editions and Originals). Small paintings are the perfect collection starter as well as works on paper and art studies, which are generally priced lower than oil and acrylic paintings on canvas. But if you have the room, there are a lot of large pieces available at a fair price. Anyone with a passion for art can become an avid art collector.

Now, where do you begin? A good way to start your collection is by answering some key questions. Why do you want to become an art collector? Having a motive is a strong foundation and it will help narrow your search for art. Let’s say you want to collect fine art because you would like to encourage a budding artist. Then you would probably go to outdoor art fairs and festivals or local galleries to find that person who creates the art you love.  If it is for investment reasons, then you would probably find the art that has a good chance of increasing in monetary value in museums or in auction houses. Art galleries often have a collection of works from the secondary market. These are works that have been purchased for the first time from a gallery or directly from the artist's studio and have been put up for sale again. 

Other reasons for collecting art include: Giving the gift of art as your legacy; Creating a wall, room, or home filled with pieces that reflect your personality; Connecting with an artist. There are as many reasons why to start an art collection as there are collectors, and once you pinpoint the reason that moves you, the art you collect will be easier to find.

Wildflower 2 (sold), 2016,
12x12 inches, Acrylic on Canvas

Ask yourself: What kind of art do you want to collect? In order to give your collection some consistency, it would be wise to choose a type, style or art movement. Is the type of art you are attracted to photography, sculptures, fine art prints or paintings? Is the style realism or abstract? Are you drawn to the pointillism of the 19th century or 20th century minimalism? If you have no clue as to what fine art to collect, there are many sites you can browse online discover your preferences. Here are some good ones: Artsy, MoMA, as well as Listof art movements on Wikipedia. Or, if you are fortunate to have art galleries or museums close by that you can visit, have a look at what they have, take note of what strikes a cord with you.

Other important questions to answer are: Is the person creating the art important to you? Do you want to collect the art of a well known established artist or do you favor the thrill of finding a diamond in the rough? Maybe a group of artists from a certain era like postmodernism is your forte. If you have decided to collect the works of one particular artist, then it would be a good idea to check if this artist has a website you can visit. Usually an artist's website has valuable information about the artist, the artwork and where they show and sell their work. Things to look for on an artist's website are: An artist biography, an artist statement and an artist resume or CV.

Becoming a fine art collector is an enriching activity. You get to learn about art history, different artists and their approach, and most of all, you learn about yourself in the process. It is a colorful way to express yourself and reflect your individual personality. It is much more than simply buying art. I hope that these few lines have given you a hunger for art and that your journey as a fine art collector will be fruitful. After all, owning a precious piece of artwork is gratifying, uplifting and inspiring. Finally, it allows artists to continue expressing themselves artistically.