There's never been a better time or an easier way to discover art and start building your collection. Whether you're browsing online, discovering artists from across the globe, or you're exploring art fairs and exhibitions to spot the next hot talent, here are our top 5 tips to help you get well on your way to kickstarting your collection.
1. Buy according to your aesthetic, not based upon others people’s opinions
It is easy to get caught up in value, trends, and all of the above when selecting works of art for your collection. Don’t. Not only does it depreciate the overall worth of your collection (namely, to you), but it will prevent you from purchasing work that you will and can live with forever. Many dedicated collectors will tell you that they still have or fondly remember some of their earliest purchases, and the simple act of buying according to your own tastes will allow for room to watch your own passions, and collection, grow.
2. Don’t let prices deter you
Many people believe it is expensive to start collecting original works of art, but it all depends on what you are hoping to acquire and how much value it holds to both you and the artist. If you are really in love with an old master that is a little too far beyond your budget, scour estate sales, go to auctions, or find a private dealer - you may well learn a lot of useful information that you may be able to utilize in the future. Alternatively, purchasing a limited edition print by an established artist, such as the likes of Sir Peter Blake, is another great way to invest in a well known talent, ensuring you've bought a piece that will continue to increase in value. Search online for works by your favourite artists and make sure to scour the market, paying attention to edition sizes and checking for authenticity.
3. Attend exhibitions and events
The same could be said about many things in life, however it is truly important to be informed and up to date when it comes to your collection. This can include keeping up to date with the latest graduate shows to scout out the hottest new talent, following new artists on Instagram to get a feel for their work, or making a series of contacts to draw from when you are looking for another piece to sedate your art fix (yes, it's a real thing!).
4. Think of it as a collection
Curating your own collection is very different from simply purchasing pieces for your home. Art shouldn't be merely a decorative tool, but an extension of your mind and passions. Although it may not always begin with a plan or an intention of ever-growing expansion, a collection should always be approached with the perspective that it will all have to align in some way. Whether that be in a cohesive or predictable manner is all a matter of preference, but like any good relationship it is important to take into account your future potential and ensuing intentions. Even the most eclectic of art collections can be the perfect window onto your tastes and personality, standing the test of time.
5. Stay Informed
This one is so important it is essentially listed twice. Yes, it will be a lot of work if you want your collection to truly be a reflection of you. There is no reason to get art fatigue, but without even a superficial amount of knowledge it is easy to get caught in compromising situations. For example, how will you ever know that you paid far too much if you do not even have a faint idea of how much your artist’s work is valued? Not only will it impact the way you collect, but it can also ensure that your conversations never waver or leave you wanting to do an online search.
My most important tip? Make sure you love it! Never feel bad trying out a work or requesting to have it brought to your space. If logistics are a problem, find a reliable online resource like Rise Art, where you can rent the piece before you purchase it. There is nothing worse than buying an artwork only to find later on that you have fallen out of love with it, or perhaps were never in love at all?
About the Author
Antoinette Williams is an independent art consultant, curator, and writer, Antoinette is an enthusiast of art of all media. Holding a BA in Art History and MA in Fine and Decorative Art, she has been a contributing writer for Or Does It Explode Magazine, Fresh Paint Magazine, and Artfetch, (now joined with Rise Art). She currently divides her time between San Diego and New York.