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Art Collecting Strategies 

10 Tips to Start Your Own Art Collection

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Starting an art collection can seem like an intimidating venture, but why does it have to be? A common misconception exists that you must be particularly affluent in order to develop an impressive collection. The truth is, by starting small (and slow) you can establish a strategy that works for you, and begin your own collection of fine art. 

Displaying artwork around your home has the potential of enriching your daily life in remarkable ways. With readily available information, tools, and services, it is now easier than ever to start collecting original works of art. Follow these simple steps, prepared for you by YKLM Auctions staff.  

  1. DO YOUR RESEARCH

Try to immerse yourself in the art world: attend gallery openings, exhibitions, public art fairs, and art auctions among other social events. Go visit artists in their studio and discover their creative process. Stay informed about new developments in the art world and the art market by subscribing to newsletters, and visiting your local galleries. 

Remember that there is more available than what the traditional Western art market typically represents. There are many respected artists from different cultures and backgrounds that often exhibit at entry or mid-level prices in North America, so look outside the box to see what’s out there. 

  1. UNCOVER YOUR INTERESTS 

It is important to identify what kind of art you like, whether it be works on canvas, photography or sculpture, for example. By researching the many movements, and exploring various creative mediums, you will come to recognize your interests and preferences. Many collectors mix and match different genres as well, so allow yourself to embrace an eclectic approach. Most importantly, you should invest in art that you enjoy. As a new collector you are bound to make a few mistakes (such as paying too much for a work). When considering a purchase, you can try asking yourself:

  • What do I like about this artwork, and how does it make me feel?
  • Is this work inspiring, culturally significant, or aesthetically pleasing?
Eugene Radvenis, MINERVA (2019), stoneware, 16" x 5"

Eugene Radvenis, MINERVA (2019), stoneware, 16″ x 5″

  1. START SMALL

Even with a small budget you can buy original artwork. The work of recent art graduates or artists that are just now gaining recognition in the art world is a good place to start. When you buy from an emerging artist you may be one of their first collectors, and your purchase could potentially turn into a great investment. 

  1. CONSIDER PRINTS & MULTIPLES 

Buying prints is a great way to start your collection. A print is a type of artwork where multiples are produced, and is created through a transfer process. Generally, editions or multiples are more affordable than other mediums because they are not one-of-a-kind pieces, such as painting or sculpture. Still, it is universally known that great skill is required to create fine art prints, for the process is quite demanding and requires a high level of creativity from the maker. 

There are also many variations of the printmaking technique, the most popular being etchings, woodcuts and lithographs. It is important to remember that certain elements, such as the type of paper used, can add intrigue to the work while also affecting the value. 

Jiahuan Long, 沐浴春雨 (1981), Edition 4/50, 34 × 33.5 cm

Jiahuan Long, 沐浴春雨 (1981), Edition 4/50, 34 × 33.5 cm

Visit our Online Store to discover more prints.

  1. CONSIDER SCALE: BUY BIG

To maximize the impact of your purchase in your urban environment, consider buying a large scale work, which could in turn be more affordable than purchasing multiple works to fill a space. Often, smaller works need to be framed while larger ones can be hung as is. 

  1. BUY MINOR WORKS BY MAJOR ARTISTS

If you want to buy an artwork from a famous artist, you still can. If cost is an issue, search for works on paper, such as a drawing or an etching. Multiples are often available in photography and print. Consider the famed example of the Marilyn portrait by pop artist Andy Warhol. Hundreds of silkscreen prints were produced of this well known work, and many are in circulation at auction houses, allowing many young collectors an opportunity to buy a Warhol. 

  1. ATTEND AFFORDABLE ART FAIRS

Art fairs offer you the chance to see a wide variety of art, presented by galleries, art dealers and sometimes the artists themselves. While larger art fairs such as the Frieze Art Fair, Art Basel, and TEFAF attract all the A-list collectors, smaller ‘satellite fairs’ can offer more reasonably priced options. For instance, the Affordable Art Fair offers contemporary works in various media, ranging from $100 to $10,000. It is held in different cities around the world and will be in New York in March 2020. Liste Art Fair Basel, in Switzerland, is another great option and is dedicated exclusively to presenting new galleries and emerging artists; running in June 2020.

Fang Tong, FREEDOM, photography, 16 x 24" and larger

Fang Tong, FREEDOM, photography, 16 x 24″ and larger

  1. BUY ART ONLINE

The internet has made the process of buying art more transparent and accessible. Online galleries give you the opportunity to easily compare artists, styles and prices. It can also be less intimidating than visiting a gallery and requesting a price list. 

  1. ASK FOR HELP 

Spend some time talking with artists and gallery owners, don’t hesitate to ask them for their advice. They are passionate and more approachable than you might believe. They can also help you find quality artworks within your price range. You may also find it useful to get in touch with an art adviser who can suggest artists to look out for, find artworks that meet your requirements, and negotiate the prices and terms on your behalf. You could very well meet one at a gallery opening or an art fair.

  1. PRO TIP: MAINTAIN A PAPER TRAIL 

Keep all the relevant material about your art purchases including the receipt, the catalogue of the exhibition, the artist’s business card among other documents. Keep a record of the artist’s name, title of the work, year of creation, medium, signature or marking, exhibition history or auction or gallery information. To establish the provenance of a work and avoid any legal troubles in the future, request a certificate of authenticity signed and dated by the artist or previous ownership details when you negotiate to buy an item. 

If you are feeling inspired to begin your own art collection today, you can browse our Online Store for a selection of artists working in various media. For a more personalized service, feel free to contact YKLM Auctions and speak to a member of our experienced staff.

Re-visit the YKLM Blog section to discover more Object Spotlights & Art Collecting Strategies.

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