What makes you a collector? Art can be intimidating to many who’ve never interacted with an artist or purchased a piece. But being a collector is a mindset more than anything. It’s not about the cost, caliber or size of your collection. It’s about the love for collecting.
“When I was collecting posters, I considered myself a collector,” said Adolfo Castillo, publisher of American Art Collector. “To me, it’s a mindset more than the physical thing. As humans, we love to collect. Whether that’s art or something else. If you love art, you’re already there. The next step is just bringing it into your home. Your mindset makes you a collector.”
And the best way to start is by buying what you like and trusting your instinct. Every collection should be as unique as the person building it. And sometimes, when it comes to purchasing original art, that can mean starting small.
“You can build a really great collection with small works of paintings and sculptures,” said Susan Morrow Potje, curator and show director at the Celebration of Fine Art. “You can have fun curating your own collector wall. It’s a great way to get started and hone your eye.”
Here are a few other tips for curating a collection that brings you joy and celebrates your uniqueness.
1. Buy what you like.
Only buy what you absolutely love. Don’t worry about the investment potential. Select and buy pieces that speak to you and make you feel great. Maybe it evokes a special memory, takes you away to a special place, reminds you of someone special, or it may simply light you up. Whatever the reason, it spoke to you in some way. Take note of that.
2. Get to know the artist.
Often this can endear you to a piece or deepen your appreciation for it. By learning the artist’s story, process, or perhaps what inspired a piece, you may gain a deeper connection to a piece –– and have a great story to tell at dinner parties.
3. Experience galleries, art shows and museums to get inspiration.
If you don’t know where to start, galleries, art shows and museums can help you hone your style. You never know what might speak to you or what you might realize you absolutely dislike.
4. Think beyond the wall.
We often limit our art collections to wall art initially, but 3D art can be a great addition to a collection or as a stand-alone piece indoors or outdoors. And don’t forget, there’s also wearable art! Always a great way to make a statement.
5. Buy original art, if possible, and keep documentation.
Buying original art ensures you are getting a one-of-a-kind piece, even if that means you have to select a smaller piece initially. For all original art, be sure to keep records of your invoice and any information on the artists. If you are buying from the artist directly, take a photo with them and the piece.
6. Don’t limit yourself to a singular style.
Don’t be afraid to mix styles. Variety makes a collection interesting. Who says you can’t pair Western with abstract or realism with mixed media? And, don’t hesitate to rearrange your artwork from time to time for a fresh look at your collection.
7. Trust your instinct.
No matter what else influences your buying decision, the most important criterion is that you, the collector, enjoy it! If you are drawn to something, trust it.
Remember, collecting art doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. Art is fun, and buying it should be too.
For more on the art of collecting, watch the full Art Discovery below.