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How to start collecting art

Posted on September - 14 - 2016

At a typical gallery opening, there are many different players to be found. There is the knowledgeable gallerist, with a sharp eye and a tight list of the names of potential buyers. There are the artists who either procrastinate in the back office, are absent or mingling with around collectors, curators, and any relevant art-related personnel. And then there is the character whom financially fuels this whole extravaganza: the art buyers, and the authentic collectors. This kind of art event-goer can either be in the game by purchasing out of real passion and appreciation for the arts, aiming to improve their social statutes or just looking to make a reliable investment that will produce future revenue. The different species of this fascinating genus are juxtaposed by the potential collector, which is waiting for a nudge to overcome his trepidations and embark on this excruciating voyage.

These timid seekers of treasures are often targeted by the many predators of the art scene and overwhelmed by the vast array of options. Like most forms of practices, art collection has developed some steps and guides over the years to aid people in taking a plunge into this vast and entailing activity.

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Photo courtesy of: http:sothebysinstitute.com

Here are some points that we consider relevant to give the first steps into art collecting:

–   Expose yourself. Attend art exhibitions, gallery openings, and museum conferences, take that seminar “What is contemporary art?” that you always wanted to visit and other cultural activities. Investigate the galleries, artists, and movements of your country and at an international level. Submerge and surrender yourself to art!

–   Ask yourself “What art do I REALLY like?”. After you explore the art world for a bit, you’ll start getting an idea of what is out there. Some artists will appeal more to you than others, so it is important to have in mind that there is no Golden Rule for buying art. What you like is up to you and should be uninfluenced by other people’s taste. You can like abstract art, black and white photographs, sculptures, design pieces, ethnic art; it doesn’t matter as long as it speaks personally to you.

–   Make a decision! This point may be one of the most important steps in forming that will become the backbone of your collection. When you know what you like, then you can decide what or whom you are going to collect. Here is where direction comes in.

–   Start buying! Your collection won’t appear out of thin air, and that piece that you loved will be gone if you don’t take it for yourself. Remember that you don’t need to be a millionaire to buy art; you just need to be committed, strategic and cunning about your moves.

You won’t always get it right, so be a little indulgent with yourself at the beginning and accept the fact that you may make some mistakes along the way. But don’t be intimidated by that, remember that an original is always better that the poster.

By: Gabriela Martínez de la Hoz