By Artists For Artists

Collecting Art 101: Where to Start

Let’s start with this — art is for everyone. You don’t need to be a high flying millionaire to invest in fantastic art that will bring sentimental, aesthetic, and potentially monetary value alongside its charm. Whether you’re looking to start a personal home art collection or have an interest in investing your money in artwork, here are some tips for collecting art. 

Thrift It

You would be surprised by the bounty of art that awaits you at thrift and antique stores. This process has the sentimental appeal of searching through dusty shelves for something magical and unique that truly speaks to you. Ideal for those on a budget, thrifting art is eco-friendly and gives old, forgotten artworks a new lease on life, often providing works that are already framed and matted. 

Keep an eye out for limited edition prints and stamps of authenticity on the back of pieces if you’re looking for investment value. Search for artist-signed artworks and look closely for brushwork and texture. Consult the almighty power of Google if you’re unsure of the artist, permitting the signature is readable. And remember, you can always ask the shop owner for some history on the piece or purchase.

Treasure Hunting

If antique originals are out of budget, start with posters and fine art prints, these can accrue value over time; keep your eyes especially peeled for signed ones. Browse online platforms and print stores, all of which are brimming with both well-known and upcoming artists and illustrators with a plethora of inspiring styles at differing budgets. Many artists are happy to sell through social media platforms and others provide links to their online stores. See who you can find.

Graduate Shows

Buying art from graduate shows is the perfect way to get your hands on some fresh, personal, and inspiring artwork from upcoming artists in the industry at a cheaper rate. Trust your instincts and explore what styles call to you. Talk to the young artists at these events to get a sense of what their work is about. This will help you to make a more informed decision about the artwork’s allegory, symbolism, and appeal. It’s particularly useful for budding collectors looking at a niche market.

Frame and Display It

When one gets the art collection bug it can be easy for piles of works to collect in attics and on long lost wardrobe shelves. The point of collecting artwork is for it to be enjoyed. After all, the artist didn’t paint for days on end just for the dust mites to enjoy the result! Choose works that you really love and trust your instinct. It will encourage you to frame and display them, which is imperative to caring for your artwork. Correctly fitted frames protect the finish and structural integrity of art, so if the piece doesn’t come framed, make sure you’re happy to invest in its preservation. Living rooms and stairway walls make the perfect live-in gallery spaces for the new collector and are sure to start conversations. Ensure that the artwork is hung away from direct sunlight to prevent bleaching.

Record It

Artwork requires care and maintenance, especially when moving into the realm of antique art. For many collectors art is an investment, so treating artworks as valuable assets comes with responsibility. Ensure you keep a concise log of all sale and maintenance work regarding invoices, framing, repairs, and matting of artworks and how much it costs. Proving that the work has been adequately cared for and professionally maintained encourages a successful sale.

Love It

At the end of the art-hunting day, art is flexible! Buy artworks that you love, they don’t have to be by a famous artist or of great monetary value. If a piece makes you happy, hang it up and let it continue doing just that. Art is a subjective, inspiring, and completely individual experience. Happy hunting!

Article written by Kate Smith

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