Starting an Art Collection This Year
(The Freeman) - January 4, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — During the season of festive decor, it was hard not to be inspired by local crafts, visits to museums and flea markets. For those who took it to heart, the holidays could have been a great time to start, or build, an art collection.

An art collection is a gathering of works of art by a private individual or a public institution. Paintings, sculptures, printmaking, drawing, decorative arts, photography, and installations are examples of the many faces of art.

An individual doesn’t have to aspire to collect famous masterpieces in order to build an art collection. In fact, the trend in new home construction is “simple lines and open spaces,” or what realtor Maurice McCarthy of OCF Realty calls a perfect ‘blank slate’ for homeowners. Just like with a canvas, individual tastes can bring wall space to life.

One thing that ‘in-the-know’ art collectors will say is that buying art and collecting art are not necessarily the same. A person can buy art randomly based on his likes and what he is attracted to in the moment. For sure, if he has no art to speak of, he could initially start a collection with one piece that calls to him. However, collecting art is more of a purposeful and long-term goal that requires two main things: research and development and choosing art based on forming a meaningful grouping – pieces that fit together.

Perhaps one wants to start 2018 with a new piece to add to what he has, but isn’t sure where to buy art. Or maybe he wonders how to add flair, meaning, and ambiance to his home. If so, there are some ways to blend intention with direction.

Five Tips for Starting an Art Collection

There are many ways to collect art that include, and go beyond, the commercial gallery system. In starting the year with an action plan, the following tips will help.

Think it through.

What type of art do you like? Are you looking to create a specific vibe? Where will you showcase your art – the bedroom, kitchen, or at a corner? It helps to think about these things. For instance, you might love a painting but if you have no room to hang it or it overpowers your available wall space, it may end up in storage. Mix practicality with creativity.

On this point, your first purchase could be from any source – an artist’s fair, a garage sale, a gallery, even vacation souvenirs. Once you have your first pieces of art, you can catalog it easily with your cellphone camera, and then find other pieces that help form a theme.

Choose a theme.

Obviously, every collection starts with that first step, a purchase. It could be a piece you pick up that helps you lock in a memory – a day at the beach, or a perfect pink sunset. Alternatively, you might want to create a specific energy, like hanging a colorful contemporary piece to make a statement.

You don’t necessarily have to start out thinking you are going to collect cityscapes, but once you have an initial work on display, you may start to think about ‘fitting in’ other similar or related works. Think outside the box here. Mix media – photograph and painting for instance. You could also highlight a piece you love by playing up the theme in other ways – accent lamp, plant, or sculpture.

Remember, the theme could be anything. You might want to collect more works by the same artist. Or, you might want to start collecting a certain type of art (example: paintings). As another option, you may want to build up an art collection of landscapes, portraits, or street scenes. This is a personal choice. You can mix and match periods and styles of artwork too (Baroque, folk art, Renaissance, or modern). Get creative.

Support local talent.

A really great inside scoop on building an art collection can come from a gallery or an art exhibit. First off, consider the idea of tapping into the local community to find talented artists to support. These artists often set up exhibits now and then.

Another venue to check out is the local fine arts schools. They could make a fantastic resource.

Browse the internet.

You could follow just about any artists on Instagram to stay abreast of their exhibits. Also, there are  art websites to shop from. If you subscribe to local art blogs, you can also catch wind of when and where exhibitions are taking place, as they often show emerging artists in your area.

Tip: If you’re at spaces that aren’t selling the work per se, write down the name of an artist you like and find out how to reach them directly for a sale or commission. Gallerists are in fact often very friendly people, and can help you with these sorts of things.

Set a budget.

There is quality art for different budgets. Start by thinking of how much you want to spend, that’ll make it fun to browse art at your price point. An art expert always tell people to remember that while thinking about price, artwork usually lasts a very, very long time. “Even a few additions to your life can have a strong impact on your surroundings.”

Cherish and enjoy.

Building an art collection can make your space come together, whether you are on your own or with a partner. However you go about it, it can be a great way to cherish memories and foster enjoyment of your home. (

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