If you search for “How to Collect Art” you’ll find articles on how to build a “serious” art collection, a collection with vision that could be exhibited by museums. What’s harder to find is how to buy art that you want to live with. And what no one talks about is how to buy art if you feel like an art world outsider.
Buying art doesn’t have to be intimidating.
The art scene has changed in the last decade. With the internet, you can now buy directly from artists in addition to buying from galleries. And while the art world may seem hermetic and elitist, if you start to explore the art scene, you’ll find that there is a warm community of people who love creating, looking at, and talking about art – people who care deeply about art and its role in the world.
If you are intrigued by art but uncomfortable around it, the best thing you can do is to educate yourself. See as much art as possible, go to art openings, go to galleries and museums, talk to artists and art dealers. Ask questions! As you are exposed to art and talk to people about it, you’ll find that the way you see will shift. You’ll learn to appreciate work that you may have ignored before. You’ll also start to get a feel for what you like or respond emotionally to.
When you decide to buy something, it should be because you love it, because you want to live with it, because it inspires you – not because someone told you it was a good investment or because someone else said it was nice (unless it’s a gift of course!).
An easy way to get into buying art is to buy from a well-respected gallery, where attentive staff can answer your questions and steer you toward art you’ll love.
Another way is to get to know professional artists. You’ll be surprised to find out that most professional artists are not weird or unapproachable, and that instead, they are hard-working small business owners. Ask the artist about their work and about what inspires them. As you learn more, you’ll gain a more profound connection to that artist’s work. And when you buy from living artists, you are helping foster their career by supporting their work. As artists, when we sell paintings to people who love them, it is validating. It feels great to know that the work we poured ourselves into matters to someone else – that someone connected with our work. When you buy artwork from a living artist, you are saying that you believe in their work. And as an artist it is comforting to know that an artwork is going to a good home where the work will be loved and cared for.
If you have any questions or comments about buying art, feel free to reach out.