Beginners Guide to Buying Art
Why you should consider investing in art?
Art can be more than just a decorative object, it can serve as a conversation piece that reflects the times, and it can be something that has meaning and connects you to what’s going on around you. By owning art you also have a personal connection to the maker—you aren’t just investing in an artwork but you are investing in a person. With art, there is a unique relationship between a buyer and the artist that doesn’t really exist with many other objects. When you are purchasing art from living and working artists, that’s really a vote of confidence for them, especially if they are building clientele, building their portfolio, and getting their name out there. It’s a very meaningful act for both you and for the artist.
Investing in art is just fun! You can and should buy a piece just because it intrigues you and then, of course, you never know whether it could be worth something more financially in the future.
Figure out your style and do your research
Setting the intention to discover and educate yourself about artists and their work is a key starting point. The better education you have, the better collection you’ll have. To start, you should see as much work as you can and educate your eye so you can get a sense of what you like and don’t like.
Try to visit museums and art galleries and trying to familiarize yourself with different periods and styles. The internet can be a wonderful resource in figuring out what your taste is, and discovering artists you didn’t know exist. Very often you evolve from what you originally thought you liked—sometimes it’s before you buy your first piece, because you did a little research.
When setting an art budget for yourself, do set a number that you’d like to stay under. But know that if you really fall for a piece that you can’t live without, you may have to stretch your budget just that once. Seeking advice of knowledgeable friends in the industry can help you understand why something is priced the way it is, and make sure that you're investing in the right work.
You Must Love, Not Like
Whatever your budget, your collection should be focused on pieces that truly speak to you. Get to know the artists behind the work by reading about their practice and even following them on social media. We believe that any investment in art, however small or large, should be fueled by love for the work first and foremost.
Start Building Your Gallery Wall
Creating a unique and dynamic gallery wall is a great way to get started with a collection of smaller pieces. We recommended sticking to a consistent color palette for a strong aesthetic and playing with a mixture of mediums, such as works on paper, small paintings, photography and prints, to achieve something that evolves with you over time.
Track your purchase
There should be a clear, traceable path from artist to owner, and it should be documented: save emails, invoices, and receipts. If you eventually want to valuate or sell a work, it’s important to have this documentation.
Should you buy massed produced off-the-shelf art?
It’s important to realize that the same amount of money that you’re spending on that kind mass-produced work can be applied to original artwork by a lot of up-and-coming artists. It’s worthwhile to investigate some of those options before you go for what seems easy. You don’t have to have big pockets to start collecting work or to own an original piece!
Art as an Investment
Art can do more than brighten a living space. The art market has become one of the hottest new investment crazes in recent years. Painting and sculpture collectors frequently buy pieces with an eye towards adding to their investment portfolio. Like stocks and bonds, art can increase in value. If an up-and-coming artist goes on to successful career, the case value of their work will skyrocket. Art is a long-term investment, profits from art won’t happen overnight. It’s important to remember that art is a non-liquid or illiquid asset, this means it’s difficult to convert into cash right away. If you’re looking to make money, there are no guarantees when you’re working with the emerging artist market or community. If financial gain is your prime motivation, it will be harder to have fun or enjoy collecting art from lesser known artists.
Patience is Key
Finding art that you love can take time, whether in person or online. Don’t rush to fill every empty wall at once. Start with one or two key pieces, live with them for a bit, and build one by one from there. Enjoy the process of discovery and allow your collection to develop naturally.