Seven tips for starting your own art collection


By RA staff

Published 12 June 2016

The art market can seem like a daunting world, reserved for those with millions to spend on artworks by the biggest names in the business. But don’t be intimidated: everyone can enjoy buying and owning art in an affordable way. Whether it’s a painting, photographic print, monotype or etching, the key is to choose something you love and buy with confidence. Katherine Oliver, Art Sales Programme Curator at the RA, shares some tips on starting, building and displaying a collection.

1. Trust your instinct. 
Buy something for the simple reason that you love looking at it. 
Be discerning and brave. If you’re looking for something in a particular style, it’s better to settle on a good example of this type of work from an exciting emerging artist than to scrimp and save to buy something second-rate from someone better-known. There is great satisfaction in supporting the next generation of artists.

2. Follow your favourite artists on Instagram
.Instagram is becoming an increasingly important forum for artists, galleries and collectors, with a growing number of buyers purchasing works found through the platform. Follow contemporary commercial galleries to discover emerging artists and art fairs for key events in the arts calendar, from major fairs like Frieze to smaller events such as the London Original Print Fair. Speaking of prints… 

3. Original prints can be an affordable option
.Often major artists will produce printed editions in smaller, affordable batches,  so keep an eye out for collaborations and other limited-edition print projects.

4. Get to know the graduates.
Keep an eye on graduates from the major art schools. In two or three years, they could be represented by a commercial gallery and their pieces may rocket in value, so buying before that point is a savvy move. Go to graduate shows, meet artists and talk to them about their work. You could even follow up with a studio visit. 


5. Get it framed right.
 Always remember that simple is best. Focus on the artwork and not on the frame. A mount should be kept simple, and for works on paper, should match the paper colour. 

6. Move it around at home
.If you hang an artwork at home and it doesn’t feel right, move it. Try putting it in different places, and see if it strikes an interesting dialogue with other works on your wall. Smaller artworks often work well near light switches, or hung low over a small piece of furniture like a bedside table. Grouping works together can be really effective. Test out a group of frames by arranging them on the floor or a table top. If you’re feeling pro, use masking tape on the wall to create your very own salon hang. 

7. If you don’t love it, don’t despair.
Your tastes will change over time, and that’s fine – you can fall in love with something twice. If you’re not happy with something on the wall, don’t be afraid to shelve it for a while. You can hang it again a few years later, perhaps in a different place in your home.

Feeling inspired? In the desperate need of a home makeover? Start your art collection today, keep an eye on our NEW section. Brand new prints uploaded every fortnight! 

For the original article click HERE

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