Rise Art

Collecting: A Beginner’s Guide

Posted in Uncategorized by Scott @ Rise Art on October 11, 2010

As you are reading this entry, we can assume you are interested in art and enjoy engaging with it. However, the idea of buying art for the first time can seem overwhelming, given the myriad of possibilities; the sheer number of mediums, styles and periods make it difficult to know where to start.

There are no rules prevailing on how to start a collection, other than picking to your taste, which will often naturally form a coherent collection with a conceptual framework over time. As you begin to discover your own interests and begin to build confidence in your taste, this will become much easier.

Why collect Art? Illustration by hjx

Here are a few tips of advice on how you can start getting involved, acquiring your first piece or start a collection:

  1. Buy a work because you enjoy and love it, not because you expect to profit from it.
  2. Shop around for art: Visit as many galleries and museums as you can in order to see what is on offer and discover what you like. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for advice.
  3. Subscribe to gallery newsletters in order to be invited to openings and special events.
  4. Explore outlets: There are not only galleries, but also art fairs, auction houses, degree shows, artists’ studios and online galleries. Art Maps and calendars are generally available at most galleries, listing new shows and previews.
  5. Engage with art. Focus on what an artist is trying to communicate rather than traditional standards of aesthetic.
  6. Read art magazines; we have listed a number we appreciate here.
  7. Do your research: the greater your knowledge, the greater your understanding; the Internet has made it easy to research artists and galleries online.
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most people working in the arts do so out of passion, so they enjoy talking about art.
  9. Pick the best within your means. Many contemporary artists also create works in limited editions, which are more affordable. Alternatively, seek out younger or lesser-known artists. If price is an issue, seek out regional programs that can help minimize the burden. In England the own art scheme provides collectors with interest free loans for purchases of less than £2000.
  10. Once you have bought a work, look after it. The biggest threats are direct light and humidity. You might event want to consider insurance for Art purchases.

A number of books have been written on how to start a collection, such as Owning Art: The Contemporary Art Collector’s Handbook by Louisa Buck and Judith Greer, The Art of Buying Art: An Insider’s Guide to Collecting Contemporary Art by Paige West or Collecting Contemporary by Adam Lindemann. They cover the basics to get you started, but we believe the best way to learn is by doing it!

What was the first work of art you acquired? How did you do it? Share your experiences with the Rise Art community!

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