Starting out as an art collector, it can seem like there is insurmountable and uncertain terrain to navigate ahead of you. You see those who have found success, and you wonder, “How can I ever reach that level?” Just remember that all established collectors had to start somewhere. The key is to invest in learning, preparing, and developing your skills and relationships along the way.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE A BILLION DOLLARS TO BE AN ART COLLECTOR!
Here are a few tips to help you prepar for your first steps in becoming a real art collector:
1. Know what you like, what your preferred tastes are.
Visit art fairs, art museums or galleries. Scour art online and determine what styles, mediums, sizes and subjects speak to you. Art should make you feel good, so begin to understand what you like and don't like.
2. Know the market.
Start building relationships with galleries or perhaps getting to know artists. Building your art network will help expose you to artists. Don't be afraid to reach out to artists, send them an email. Having a dialogue with the art community will help you understand more about the art you may be interested in and eventually collecting.
3. Know what you can afford and set a budget.
This is essential and where and when to buy art which may also include other factors beyond the price of the art, such as insurance, shipping and framing. Also, there are two main areas to acquire art, through galleries or from other collectors and buying directly from the artist. Of course, buying directly is typically less expensive than going through the secondary market of galleries and other sources where the art has been previously owned. Other factors may also be how rare the art is, the medium or what period of the artist's career was created that can influence the price. You may also consider attending local art fairs to become more acquainted with art and artists. This may also be the most budget friendly.
4. Know what an art advisor is and if it would be worth investing in.
Art advisors can be very helpful in building your collection. They will have industry knowledge, relationships and experience to offer you. Of course there is a price for this service and budgeting that cost and structure into your budget will be important to understand in your journey to becoming an art collector.
5. Know where to get your feet wet.
Art auctions can be intimidating of course. You may want to attend an auction just to see what goes on and to help you get comfortable with the process. If art auctions still hold interest for you and once you feel confident, then you may be ready to buy your first piece of art!
6. Know what you are buying.
While feeling an attraction to a piece of art is important, there are a few things to check out before you buy. First make sure you see the art in person, up close. If you have found it online, make sure you see multiple images of the art from different angles. Also, is this piece just an infatuation or something you will enjoy over time. If yes, will this piece be a good fit for you overall collection.
7. Know the provenance.
Before you buy a piece of art, especially from a gallery or other art collector, ownership history all the way back to the artist will be crucial to proving authenticity, value and collectable significance to the piece through the story it tells. If you purchase directly from the artist, ask for a certificate of authenticity.
Building your dream collection can be very rewarding and enjoyable. Developing your personal tastes, expanding your knowledge and building amazing relationships in the art world is a wonderful journey and you can do this with the purchase of one piece of art. And speaking as an artist, it is so rewarding to meet collectors and learn from them as well as sharing my own experiences.