Whether you have always been interested in arts or it is a recent pursuit, when you want to start an art collection it is better to gather some useful information to help you decide what to buy and what is the best artwork for you. The general advice is to go with what you like, but do take your time to make sure you make the right decision. Here are some points to help you get started.

Drawn to the Light by Alison Johnson
Drawn to the Light by Alison Johnson

Establish why you want to start your art collection

You may want to decorate your house so you are looking for one-off artworks or limited edition prints and photos to go with your décor. Or you decided you want to take on an intellectual pursuit and investing in art is something appealing to you. Or you want to invest in classic art or in promising contemporary artists hoping for a return when the art market will pick up again.

Decorating your home

If this is the reason why you want to start an art collection, then definitely go with what you like and with what matches your interior. If you want to spend hours looking in online galleries or in brick and mortar galleries in your area, it is worth familiarizing yourself with contemporary styles, prices, emerging and established artists, etc. If you are looking for a big centre piece in your living room and other smaller artworks in other rooms, then probably their price will be essential to help you decide. You can find good deals and sales. You will create a beautiful ambiance in your home with pieces of art that you like looking at and will last a lifetime and beyond. And this should be the main criteria when you want to embellish your home with art.

Intellectual pursuit

If you want to start your art collection as an intellectual pursuit, you can still buy the art you like, rather than something that doesn’t resonate with you, even though the artist got the critics’ acclaims. If you want to consider the latter, as you learn more about the arts you may grow to like the artwork and understand it. On the other hand you may want to invest in an emerging artist and follow his or her career in time so every few years you would buy another artwork and another. This could be a rewarding activity as you can get to know the artist, visit his or her exhibitions and enjoy every success throughout their career.

Art as an investment

If you want to start your collection purely as an investment and leave out the likability factor, you may lose on the long run. Firstly, it is difficult to predict where the art market will be in a few years time and you will end up with an artwork that you don’t like and it doesn’t give you the expected financial return. The best advice is to buy what you like and if it turns out the artwork will make a small profit, it will be a bonus, but in the meantime you have at last enjoyed a beautiful painting in your home.

Educate yourself

If you are a novice regarding the art world of the past and of today, read as much as you can on the famous artists from the past and familiarize yourself with what is going on in the art scene today. Read arts news; go to exhibitions in your area or when you are on holiday or visiting other places; go to art museums, auctions and open studios; listen to conversations when people talk about a certain artwork. You will be amazed how differently people perceive the same painting. Also, talk about art with other connoisseurs and you can learn a lot from them. Don’t forget that art is subjective so don’t be put off if you like an artwork that critics don’t or vice-versa.

Learn the difference between a one off original artwork, a limited edition print after original or photograph or an open edition print. An original artwork will be more valuable and expensive as well as limited edition prints which should be numbered and signed. The less prints, the more valuable. An open edition print however is less valuable, but if you like the image, this shouldn’t be an impediment not to buy it. But don’t expect a financial return from it.

Where and how to buy art

There are several places that you can buy art from. Local galleries and exhibitions, auction houses and online galleries are just a few popular places nowadays to be looking for art. Once you know why you want to buy and what you want to buy, the actual buying process should be easy. Set yourself a budget and go for it. Collecting art should give you an immense pleasure so this should be the main criteria when starting an art collection.