Art 101: Tips On Starting An Art Collection

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As an artist I am constantly meeting people who are keen on starting an art collection but are not sure where or how to start. I think one of the biggest misconceptions that people have about collecting art is that you have to be an expert in fine art and/or be rich to get started, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, with a little bit of common sense and planning anyone can start a personal art collection and watch it grow into a beautiful investment.

TIPS ON STARTING AN ART COLLECTION

Discover what you like and don’t like. This is the most important factor to think about when purchasing art for any reason, simply because you are the one who is going to have to live with the pieces you buy. And the only way to discover your unique tastes is to get out there and explore. Start with perusing contemporary art galleries, museums, art fairs and art websites (You can find me on Saatchi Art, Art Finder and ArtStack), and make a mental note of the types of pieces that draw you in, keep you captivated and inspire you.

MAKE A PLAN

Before making any purchases, put together a coherent plan for your collection. Think about what types of art you want to focus on. For example, you may want to feature mainly photographs, landscapes, abstract pieces, watercolours or even works from a particular era. You may also want to have a more focused theme like ‘the feminine in contemporary Southeast Asian art or ‘Singaporean architecture paintings’ similar to my Singapore Landmark Collection. Budgeting is also a consideration, as this will determine the types of pieces you can include in your collection.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Art collecting is more than just buying pretty pictures and hanging them on your walls. It is also about making informed purchases that express your personal tastes and add value to your collection. When you look at a piece you should know what you are looking at and understand what makes it good art to you. Read up on your favourite artists and pieces, check out a contemporary artist’s website to learn more about their background and body of work, meet with the artist if you can, and chat with experts like gallery owners, curators, and other collectors.

START SMALL BUT SAVVY

Contrary to popular belief, great works of art don’t have to cost a fortune. For example, photographs and works on paper tend to be cheaper than paintings on canvas, yet they can still be a great addition to a larger collection. In addition, limited edition prints are often very reasonably priced and can be very valuable if they are signed and have low individual edition numbers – I believe affordable art is important, fine out more about that here!

DOCUMENT YOUR ART

Document your art. The better documented an art collection is, the more valuable it will be should you ever want to sell your pieces or pass them down to future generations. Try to write down as much information as you can about each piece including the artist bio, the date it was purchased, any unique stories about the piece, whether it was previously owned by somebody else, and whether it was exhibited or written about.

So there are the basics! Go for it and most importantly ENJOY!

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