There are many art lovers out there, but few collectors. That's probably because becoming a 'collector' carries a sense of fear that often discourages the average art enthusiast from making the transfer. My motivation to write this short article is to destroy certain myths whilst offering a few tips that hopefully might be able to encourage you to take up the challenge in becoming an art collector. Practically, it's not difficult. You don't need an outrageous budget. A few well spent dollars, common sense, information, and good taste will get your foot through the door. After that, all you need to do is enjoy the ride as your first collection unfolds right in front of your eyes.
I hope I have enticed you enough to read this blog to the end. If so, let's get started. I have listed down 7 myths and facts. Each myth has its associated fact that goes with it, as the destruction of a myth always offers up an opportunity.
Myth 1: You need to have a lot of money. While it may be true the Picasso's and Monet's may require large sums of money to purchase, we must not forget the 'emerging artist'. Art is an ever-evolving craft. As such there are many up and coming artist who could be the next Picasso or the next Monet. Fact 1: Search through the list of the 'new kids on the block'. Their creations, although are awesome and of high quality are most probably not expensive due to the lack of fame. This offers an opportunity to the low budget collector to pick a future masterpiece at a low price.
Myth 2: You need to have a substantial knowledge on the subject. Yes and no on this. While it is important that anyone who wants to be a collector of anything needs to know the subject, it is not an immediate disqualification if you start off with zero expertise in art. What's more important that an existing knowledge in art is the passion to learn it yourself. This brings us to our second tip. Fact 2: Building relationships with artists, collectors and curators will result in a vast amount of knowledge and information coming your way for free. You will be able to draw from their experience and advice, and before long become an expert in the field.
Myth 3: Art should be collected as an investment. Thinking of your collection as an investment will force you hunting down famed paintings of popular artists. The moment you think more about the resell value of your collection as opposed to the art itself, you are making it very difficult to build up a collection from scratch. In fact, most art collectors purchase paintings based on their love and passion for the creation. Fact 3: Look for art that captures your emotions. This will make it much easier to build up a collection that is not only of good quality, but also one that you are personally proud of and pleased to see. If passion drives your purchase decisions, you will find collecting art to be a joy regardless of the size of your collection.
Myth 4: You need to see the art in person if you wish to buy. Although, this has been a requirement in the recent past, technology has ensured that physically seeing the art is not a necessity for purchasing good art. Thanks to social media, the internet and virtual viewing rooms, the geographical barrier for enjoying and collecting art has been broken. Fact 4: Make use of modern trends in viewing and enjoying art. This will open a whole new world of paintings and young modern artists who are out there waiting to be discovered. You exponentially increase your options and chances of accumulating an amazing collection fast and easy.
Myth 5: You need to have a big collection to be recognized as a collector. First off, recognition has nothing to do with it. If your collection is motivated by passion (as I mentioned in a previous tip) it really won't matter if others perceive you to be an actual collector or not. Fact 5: Start small. Low budget collectors need to focus on a small collection that is well planned and curated. This way, you can work your way up easily as you gain contacts, experience, and knowledge in reviewing art. A limited collection will guarantee quality and self-satisfaction in every creation that is included. This in turn will ensure sustainability.
Myth 6: The art world is unfriendly. For some reason many people have come to the conclusion that artists, curators and art enthusiast are largely inverted and seldom chat openly. On the contrary, it is very difficult to hide behind a mask or a fake profile in the arty society. This is mainly due to the honest, outgoing, atmosphere that surrounds any creative community that naturally encourages public vulnerability. Fact 6: Be yourself and be open when engaging with artists, sellers, advisers, curators, etc.? Your outgoing no-holds-barred attitude will create an environment of trust that eventually will go a long way in attracting favor in the community. This favor will come in handy when developing a collection from scratch.
Myth 7: Pay attention to the qualifications of the artist. By now I think it should be clear that one cannot judge good art by checking the profile of the artist. Although, there seems to be a popular opinion that the profile of the artist goes a long way into classifying the quality of his or her creation. It is true that attending art school will improve your artistic skills, but we must not forget that some of the world's most brilliant artists were self-taught. Fact 7: Be open to the unqualified. Your radar for good art should span wide into uncharted regions, even reaching artists that are self-learners. Operate with an open mind when choosing your favored artists and you just might find a gem.
Don't limit or second guess your ability in becoming an art collector by believing the myths. Follow the mentioned tips and begin your passionate journey in the world of collecting art.
Arun Perera (2022)