7 Keys to Starting Your Art Collection

Editor’s Note: Many thanks to Kate Ander­son, who so gra­ciously con­tributed to POA! Look­ing for­ward to “hear­ing” what “key” has worked for you or add your own tip to her 7 insight­ful ways to start a collection.

WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT ART COLLECTIONS, you prob­a­bly Art Gallery Wallimag­ine uber-rich and wealthy art enthu­si­asts buy­ing mil­lion dol­lar pieces of work at Christie’s. Well, as it turns out, a big, fat wal­let may not make some­one an art col­lec­tor. It would merely make them a buyer.

Money and the avail­abil­ity of resources don’t make some­one a col­lec­tor, what does is a thor­ough com­mit­ment to the art­works. One can­not hope to make a decent col­lec­tion with­out the nec­es­sary dose of pas­sion. Think of art col­lect­ing as an adven­ture for life and you may have the right impres­sion of the per­fect col­lec­tor. A col­lec­tor who has honed his tastes and lives his pas­sions as a seeker of new loves and sen­sory rewards.

Col­lect­ing art comes from within, you must be the sort of enthu­si­ast that is will­ing to look deeper and go fur­ther into pieces of art than most other peo­ple. And besides, col­lect­ing art is prov­ing to be a worth­while invest­ment as well in the cur­rent eco­nomic environment.

So, if you want to join the club as well and start your very own art col­lec­tion, here are the seven things you’ll need to do.

Invest in Train­ing
Read as much as you can about the work in the indus­try and train your­self to think like a pro­fes­sional art col­lec­tor. Go to Art Shows and exhi­bi­tions to explore the local scene and train your senses to sniff out the poten­tially great stuff out there.

Go by your taste
Your sense of taste is essen­tial in this line of work. Fig­ure out what you like and what you don’t and stick to it with deter­mi­na­tion. This is not to say be close minded, but explore only that which inter­ests you. Oth­er­wise what is the point of it all?

Baby steps
Go step-by-step when you want to make a grand col­lec­tion. Things like these start off slow and can take many years to get to crit­i­cal mass. Don’t rush, let things flow and be patient.

Don’t give in to impulses
Love at first sight and impulse buy­ing have no place in the art collector’s life. You must learn to observe the work and get a real feel for it before you decide to put cash down. Try to under­stand what the art is try­ing to con­vey and train your­self to con­trol your impulses.

Meet the artist
Check in with the artist to under­stand their per­spec­tive on the art. Get their back­ground and past expe­ri­ences with sim­i­lar work so that you can judge the qual­ity of what you are about to buy more fairly. You also want to know how ded­i­cated the artist is to his or her work.

woman-man-enjoying-artThink rea­son
It is okay to fall in love with some art but you have to think about it log­i­cally as well. You need to see if the new work fits in with your life and house. It is more than just a piece of dec­o­ra­tion; it is an expres­sion of your personality.

Most of all enjoy
Col­lect­ing art is not about mak­ing a good, log­i­cal invest­ment pur­chase, it is more about how you feel and grow as a per­son. The devel­op­ment that comes with this sort of col­lec­tion can be very sat­is­fy­ing indeed. So enjoy your­self as much as you can, since that is what this is about at the end of the day.


Kate Ash­ton is an owner, artist, instruc­tor & men­tor
at Art on 30th — An Art to Mar­ket Com­mu­nity.
Arton30th host regional & national Art Shows in a
lively & clas­sic gallery set­ting, hon­or­ing the artists
she men­tored by tak­ing their art to market.

  1 comment for “7 Keys to Starting Your Art Collection

  1. avatar
    Ed Worthington
    July 8, 2015 at 3:45 PM

    Nice arti­cle. My wife and I have always had a pact that we’d both have to like a piece of art. Once in awhile, we’ll give each other a gift of what we think the other would like. We also started our col­lec­tion within our bud­get or put slightly higher items on a pay­ment plan. So the col­lec­tion has grown with us.

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