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How-To: Collect Art, Part One

If it hasn't arrived already, there'll come a point in your life when you grow out of your poster phase and begin to collect original artwork. A curated art collection puts the finishing touches on your decorating, and is a fool-proof way to personalize your home. But, buying a "collection" all at once won't add any intrigue to your home; it's the piecemeal effect that makes an impression. I have a few helpful tips for you to consider before you begin to fill up your walls and empty your wallet. The first step to starting a collection is to be studious about art (short of enrolling in art school). There are a lot of ways you can and should help yourself to learn all you can about art. To hear some of them,


  • Visit any and every museum, auction house, and gallery you can, and visit often. Don't miss an exhibit. Pick up pamphlets at museums and read them. Take guided tours.
  • Keep in touch. Join your local museums, and sign up for mailing lists or newsletters from museums, galleries, and artists you like. Attend any special events or lectures you hear about.
  • Talk art. Talk to friends, family, and other art collectors about their purchases, experiences, and sources for collecting.
  • Be informed. Talk to gallerists and art dealers about any pieces you're interested in. Learn what you can about the artists and styles, etc.
  • Visit art fairs and expositions that pass through town.
  • Read up. Add art blogs to your RSS feed, take out books from the library on art history, artists, and collecting, subscribe to art glossies, read critiques and reviews, etc.
  • Know your mediums. Obviously, the price of a piece has a lot to do with the artist, subject, history, and edition. But, the medium used also contributes to its value. From lowest to highest, it goes something like this: prints, drawings, watercolors, mixed medias, pastels, acrylics, and oils. Obviously, sculptures and more nontraditional artwork are on a different scale.
  • Once you've done the above, you should have a good idea about what you like and what's worth investing in. You should strengthen your eye before you curate a collection. Until then, don't be hasty with your purchases.


Join The Conversation
flyingroo flyingroo 8 years
Thanks Casa!
Home Home 8 years
Prints of Jennifer Sanchez's art are also available at 20x200 for $20-$200.
Home Home 8 years
Hi All! The painting shown is called NY0709 by Jennifer Sanchez. Check out The Beholder for more of her artwork.
flyingroo flyingroo 8 years
Casa, I'm with Liberty K and Urban Chis, you gotta tell us who's the artist! And girls, if you like that one, have a look at the work of Jen Stark - and while you're there look at her amazing paper sculptures too!
urban-chic-101 urban-chic-101 8 years
Yes, who is the artist of that painting? I absolutely love it!
RMF587 RMF587 8 years
What are some of the art blogs you would suggest?
scissorz scissorz 8 years
i would love to fill my home with awesome art! it tends to be so expense! i just got a print last year from the fall art's festival and i love it, it has me extra excited to bring it friends
liberty-k liberty-k 8 years
PLEASE tell us about the painting you used for this post - Who is it by? Did you get that picture from the web? I LOVE it!
emalove emalove 8 years
Great tips! I need to collect more art! I currently collect photographs by a local artist/photographer named Jim Nielsen. My mother collects paintings by a Cape Cod artist who I also love.
Home Home 8 years
Stay tuned for more tips on starting your collection soon!
hottpink hottpink 8 years
Thanks you so much for the tips! I have been wanting to start an art colelction for some time but never knew where or how to start!
skimelicious skimelicious 8 years
Thanks, CasaSugar! :) Maybe the first question is to be honest about what you want from art in your home? Your suggestions make a lot of sense if you're looking for art specifically as investment. With the risk of sounding naive -- I say (as an artist and filmmaker), if you're thinking about integrating any kind of art into your home, just trust yourself. It's great to be well versed. However, at the end of the day - if you like something, if it evokes something in you, it is priceless. And that is the best kind of investment. (naturally this advice won't be helpful if you're thinking about going broke and throwing down a million for a painting, but you catch my drift. I'm speaking to a much more basic desire to own, appreciate and support the arts, as opposed to art-as-commodity.) ... And all the better if your art purchase supports local or emerging artists who work outside of the more visible "commercial" avenues! (hint: the cost of this work will be a fraction of the cost of the stuff seen in major galleries) In every city, there are off-the-beaten path art shows and art spaces where you can find truly innovative, unique pieces. Ever notice those random paintings hanging in coffee shops? or photos hanging in music spaces? I find the work shown in those spaces is often more exciting and cutting edge than stuff that has art world stamp-of-approval or is shown in major galleries. anyway... that's just my two cents! :) I hope everyone enjoys combing the world for brilliant art pieces.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Great advice! BTW love the featured piece.
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