Starting an art collection

Some friends have been asking me how to start an art collection or what to look for when buying art, so I decided to put together a quick guide:

  1. This is the most important rule: FOLLOW YOUR PASSION.Don’t buy because someone said it’s cool or hot right now. You don’t want to be stuck with a painting you hate just because you think it will be worth more in 20 years. At least I wouldn’t want to look at a bad painting everyday.
  2. Define a theme – this is just a suggestion but my personal theme is that I only buy female artists for up to a certain amount. That way I keep my eyes focused on not only affordable art but emerging artists and supporting the feminist movement, which is important to me. That might as well change in  a few years but for now I like my goal. I think having a set of basic criteria makes it easier, but make sure you refer to rule number 1 and choose your criteria based on your passion.
  3. Find out everything about the artist: go to a studio visit if you can, read about the work, ask! In terms of credibility, investigate how many solo or group exhibitions they’ve done, if there are any awards involved, art fairs or residencies.
  4. See art: frequent art fairs personally  (or check them online), go to galleries (they are free) or check out some stuff online. Artsy and Paddle8 are great online auction platforms and have a very user friendly interface. I honestly spend hours navigating their recommended artists based on my preferences! If that is overwhelming try a more curated approach such as ARTUNER.
  5. Be informed: there are so many free online publications these days. E-flux, artforum, artnews and many more are readily accessible. Sign-up for galleries newsletters and just try to read as much as you can.
  6. Do your research: check prices in many different places and on this website. Negotiate if possible and make sure you understand all transportation costs and taxes involved.
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you see an artists you like, go to their gallerist, ask questions, ask for articles, documents anything you think it might help your decision.
  8. Save some budget for INSURANCE and, if necessary, FRAMING. You need to think about keeping your artwork safe!

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And I love this advice from this article:

Buying art is more of a casual activity through which you acquire pieces based on nothing but your likes, preferences or attractions at that particular moment.Collecting art, however, is a whole new field with its own principles where almost everything is different, except that initial enjoyment of owning a new piece”.