7 Pro-Tips on How to Start Collecting Fine Art

Building Your Collection,
Building Your Life

For many, becoming an art collector seems like a daunting undertaking.  Tricky questions, like “Where can I find good quality art?”, “What should I collect?” and even “How much am I supposed to pay?”, can discourage a person from even taking the first step. The good news is that we are here to help!  You will be happy to know that just like most things in life, art collecting is a “learn-by-doing” sort of thing. So stop hesitating and begin your collector’s journey now!  Here are seven tips for how.

Pro Tip #1

Ready or Not, Start Now!

The single best momentum-builder for developing your strong portfolio is to START NOW!  Practice makes perfect and art collecting is no exception.  Visit your favorite gallery and ask the associates questions about pieces you like.  Though they may not be posted, don’t be afraid to ask for prices (this is common in the art industry).  If the price unexpectedly high or low, ask why.  This will give you even more insight into the piece and allow the associate to educate you even more.  Test out the waters by acquiring a fair-priced work that you love and as your acumen develops and your collection grows, you will get super-satisfaction from watching the evolution of your taste.

Pro-Tip #2

You Are In the Driver’s Seat

The arts are no place for conformity.  Your collection is a personal reflection of your physical and metaphysical self.  Leave convention behind and do not resist pieces that you find provocative -regardless of the opinion of others.  Allow your subconscious to guide your eye, then take a closer look at the pieces you are naturally drawn to and begin to appreciate your inner perspective.  You will learn about yourself as you experience the growth of your art collection. (Artist David McKenzie is pictured above with one of his works).

Pro Tip #3

Crawl, Walk, Run

Remember that “collectables” are items which are limited in quantity and that price is not always linked to quality. When you are ready to invest in a pricey work, do so with a mature understanding.  As a rule of thumb, always avoid paying top-dollar for open edition pieces (those works which may be reproduced indefinitely).

Pro-Tip #4

Put Some Motion in Your Ocean

On the go?  Make time for an artsy adventure and stop by a local boutique or antique store.  Stroll through a market or browse a nearby exhibit and buy a couple postcards from the gift shop.  You may find the perfect new-addition for your collection, meet a valued contact person, or be inspired by the local art style.  Buying art on-the-go broadens the geographical scope of your collection and also offers a pleasant backstory you will enjoy sharing for years to come (“I found this piece when I was visiting…”).

Pro-Tip #5:

ABP – Always Be Preserving

It is no secret that the condition of your artwork will play largely into the integrity of your collection (sun and water damage is seldom a value-enhancer for collectables).  So whenever possible, plan for the long-haul.  If you will be hanging a watercolor by the window, be sure it has UV protective glass on it.  If you are storing a poster, keep it off the ground to protect it from exposure to water or excess moisture.  When you are on the move, package and preserve your collectables.  Once you are settled, unpack and display them! If you would like to make an heirloom out of something, consider long-term preservation options; like a case for your autographed baseball, or a small shadowbox for your grandpa’s bible.

Pro Tip #6

Making Room is So Easy To Do

Building an art collection is a life-enriching adventure!  Making space is the least of your worries; in fact, it can be easy.  If you are not working with a whole lot of wall space, customize every inch (like above your doorframe, for example).  Not enough space for a large original? Save money and space with mini-prints and postcards (see tip #4!).  Bring your mini-print to life by adding a beautiful custom frame, and save money in the process.  Here’s how: Ask your custom framer for a suitably elegant moulding that is in-stock.  Add a super-thick white mat with a wide berth (also “in-stock”), and the postcard will pop off the wall!  Plus, by requesting all in-stock materials, the cost of your design drop.  That means more money left-over to frame your other postcards. 🙂   Repeat and see your well-designed space come to life with each new addition to the wall!

Pro Tip #7

Diversify, Diversify, Diversify!

Life imitates art, and diversity is key!  Define and expand your interests as a collector, by taking advantage of opportunities to look past your walls to explore other cool collectables.  Not only will they enhance the aesthetic, they will add character make your space that much more intimate and cozy.  We love incorporating quilts, custom furniture, and artifacts into our decor.

Collecting for Legacy

Are you creating a legacy through an art collection? We'd love to hear your tips and suggestions! Share your collector's story below.