The first step in collecting art is to understand why you’re collecting a piece of art in the first place. Do you want it to inspire you? Are you adding it as a decorative element to a room? Are you looking at it as an investment? Is the artwork a temporary fix or do you want to have a piece that will last? Once you understand this, you can start looking further.
Although galleries have often been the “go to place” for quality art, social media is full of contemporary selling artists who link their work to local hashtags such as #melbourneart. You can search that hashtag to learn more about local artists in your area or a global topic such as #contemporaryart. If you like an artist, learn more about them and the inspiration behind their work. Follow them on social media to see how they evolve their work and how they sell their work. They will either sell direct and or through a stockist or gallery. Trust your gut on whether you really like their work, or whether you're just jumping on a trend that might be gone tomorrow.
Collecting abstract art will allow you to interpret the meaning of the art for yourself beyond what the artist brings into it. This can be really exciting in expressing your own creativity as a collector. Collecting more representational work such as a landscape, still life or figure will pull you more into a literal interpretation of a place, object or person. Many contemporary artworks with literal references are quite abstract as well. There is no right or wrong, it's personal.
If you don’t know which works connect with you well, dig deeper into seeing more work. If you can see artworks in person, it can help, but it's not always possible. Try to see videos or close up detail photos to get to know the work better. Most importantly, look with your eyes and buy from the heart. It’s easy to get confused when everyone is urging to buy the latest thing. Start trusting your own taste.
Each of us evolves over time and our taste changes along with it. When you invest in a quality piece that you really love, you’ll want to keep it beyond matching your favourite new cushion colour, or latest trend. And if you’re collecting a quality piece from an artist who takes thoughtful consideration on what they release into the world, the value of the work will hold or even go higher if you want to resell it down the road.
Lastly, it’s important to visualise living with an artwork in your home. How will that artwork fit with your current surroundings? Each piece should bring you joy when you pass by it. Consider how the energy of the artwork will effect the room, it's either reminding you of something or giving you a feeling. It should add value to the room that helps set the mood. Identify where you would like to see art hang or sit and start looking for size options. If you’re not sure what size will suite the wall or shelf many artists can recommend sizes that will work.
Your tastes are not wrong if you’re true to yourself. Your surroundings are to please you. If it makes you happy, it’s probably a fit!
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