HOW TO START AN ART COLLECTION (OR COLLECTING ART ON A BUDGET)

********I wrote this blog post about how to start an art collection back in 2014 and I think it's worth re-sharing!! I've added a couple of local events going on now where you can buy affordable art either to benefit a local food pantry or a local art association. See end of this post!******************


"what if it's not a good investment?"
"I can't afford to be an art collector!"
"I don't know anything about art!"
"I don't know what I like"


These are just a few things people say about collecting art.


A sketch by my grandmother, Helen Baier. The sneakers are mine.


Have you heard of Herb and Dorothy? You have to watch this two minute video about this extraordinary couple from NYC. This modest couple amassed a priceless art collection on meager wages. And look what they did with it!

SOME ART FROM MY PERSONAL COLLECTION:

Painting by ArtSpace artist, Cynthia Frost

One of my first purchases of art as a "grown up". Painting by Laverne Christopher

An etching bought in Italy while I spent a year there in college (gift from my mom)

Fun! The art project from my girls' school auction. My girls thought having a picture of a human heart in our den was weird. I loved the color combo and find it brightens up this little room with it's fun pops of color.

HOW YOU CAN START AN ART COLLECTION:

1. Art comes in many price ranges. If you are nervous or feel you can't afford it, start small. Set a budget and stick to it and don't say yes until your heart sings. Do research (HELLO Internet!) before you go to a gallery or just start browsing. This will make you feel more informed and confident in your decision. Ask artist friends for help.

2. Do not worry about the investment (unless you want to make a business of it). You are not buying it for that. You are buying it for the daily pleasure of it. Think about how much money we drop on smart phones, AVOCADOS, coffee, the newest gadget (seriously, how long does the joy last from those purchase)?

3."Art is so expensive". Really? Artists spend their whole life working towards the piece you are looking at often with a lot of hours and days (and years of experience) going into a single piece. It is not mass produced and is a one of kind piece. If you calculate how many hours of joy it produces, art is actually a pretty great value (especially compared with the things mentioned in #2).

4. You can acquire art in many places*. Just start browsing.

  • galleries, restaurants, libraries, coffee shops or anywhere with art exhibits.
  • art associations (which are no-pressure, great places to pick up artwork and support the arts in your community)
  • estate sales/consignment shops. Often little gems can be found here often overlooked because of dated or discolored matts.
  • art fairs
  • auctions (not neccesarily art auctions btw) ****see below for cool event coming up this weekend!
  • holiday sales (at various places, galleries, art associations, art studios, etc)
  • Internet (Instagram is huge platform for selling/buying art)
  • artists' coop galleries (6 Bridges Gallery in downtown Maynard, MA)
  • open studios
  • small local boutique type stores often carry local original art among their other goods (Mark August in downtown Chatham, MA)

*talking with artists and gallery owners can be really helpful in understanding the work. They enjoy talking about art and are happy to educate you and really don't want the sale unless you are going to love it. Both gallery owners and artists sometimes have alternative options if you can't afford the work of one artist (ie drawings or studies by same artist..see below).

Margaret Gerding pastel given to me by my husband on the birth of one of our daughters.  We couldn't afford one of her paintings, but were able to find a more affordable pastel piece by the same artist.

 



5. Start with your heart and your gut (they never fail as long as you have that budget). Don't worry what others think of it. Does it make you happy, reflective, move you?

I found this painting (and the artist, "Danny O") at an outdoor art tent on the lawn of a store on Cape Cod one summer while out running with my cousin. We each bought some art!

Why not start a tradition of buying one piece of art every year (or asking for it as a gift)? Some people have the tradition of buying a piece of art to remember a special trip or milestone. This is an easy way of building an art collection. I can't buy large pieces of art lately, but I do aim to buy at least one small piece a year. Every piece has a story and brings me joy. #30paintingsin30years ?

7. Art is a great distraction from the frayed carpet or the sofa that needs replacing. The dog can't reach the painting on the wall, so you don't have to worry about her chewing it! Blank walls are boring. Art is a great focal point and conversation starter. Original art gives character to a home.

8. I guarantee that if you buy a piece of art that you love, you will be happy every time you see it. Isn't the happiness factor alone worth it? Life is short, find joy in your everyday environment. Do you love nature? Find art that reminds you of nature. Often, meeting artists and getting to know them adds to the "story" of the artwork.

9. Afraid you might get bored with a piece or lose the love? That didn't stop you from buying that Member's Only Jacket in the 80s or that Palm Pilot of the 90s. Just sayin'. Plus, giving away art is easier than a lot of other items in your house (think...old computers, landline phones??). Art really can stand the test of time! You can even update art with new framing.

10. Your art collection does not have to be important or significant to anyone, but YOU! If you love a beautiful painting that your five year old made, frame that puppy up and put it in an important location. Most people probably already have the beginning of an art collection. Do you have any original works of art? Art collections are meant to evolve over time...just like us!

An ink drawing given to me as a thank you from Coldecott Medal illustrator David Diaz after working with him on a publishing project. I love both of these because of the art and the fond memories of the projects I worked on as an art buyer for a publishing company. Plus, I was pregnant at the time and this one always reminds me of pregnant belly in the background.

A small and sweet encaustic painting given to me
by former ArtSpace artist, Amy Goodwin.

Below are some of the small Holiday Originals Show now on at the Concord Art Association

***** DISCLAIMER: I am NOT selling my art at the ArtSpace Maynard Holiday Sale or at the Concord Art Association Holiday Originals Sale this year as I had to focus on my larger work this fall, however, I did donate a small custom matted and framed watercolor of a trout to the silent auction this weekend at ArtSpace Maynard. I will be selling some smaller work and a limited number of holiday items from my website in the coming weeks. To be notified when this very limited amount of art and handmade items are available, please visit my website and sign up for my newsletter here!
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Do you have the beginnings of an art collection? Where did you get your art? What is your favorite piece? Why? How do you buy art? Are you thinking you might try to start building an art collection? Let me know! I'd love to hear from you!

 

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