The term art collector elicits the image of a well-educated man in a leather chair surrounded by invaluable paintings with a history far too complex for an ordinary person to understand. However, this could not be more false. Although there are prestigious art collectors such as Paul Getty and Steven Cohen, whose collections are the foundation for exhibits in museums, art collecting no longer belongs to the elites, nor is it limited to works deemed to be worth millions. Below we debunk the common myths about art collecting for those who are interested in getting started but find the whole concept confusing and overwhelming.
Art is for the wealthy
Many see money as a barrier to entry with art collecting. The act is stereotypically tied to old money and ostentatious displays of wealth. However, there is no reason you need to wait until you are older or well-established to pursue your passion or even interest in art. Art collector Ryan Gibbs has pointed out that “The art market is ever-changing as it is constantly influenced by traditions, trends, culture, and commerce. The barriers to entry have also changed as the decline in the manufacturing cost of materials required to make art has made it more affordable to produce and consequently, own.”
In the age of the internet and social media, you can find and connect with an endless amount of talented, up-and-coming artists whose work is priced affordably. Emerging artists are a great place to start for those who are intrigued by art as it allows you to support members of the art community who are trying to pursue their passion. Moreover, emerging artists have the potential to become established later on, making the pieces you buy now more valuable in the future. Beginning your art collecting with struggling artists allows you to boost their confidence while they also boost yours as you start your collecting journey.
You have to have an in-depth knowledge of art
Another common myth is that you need to really know your art to be an art collector. Art collecting is not only for those who frequent galleries, majored in art history, or those who have an extensive vocabulary to discuss the work in front of them. You do not need to understand phrases like composition, conceptual art, or any other intimidating term to pursue art collecting. It may be helpful to think of the many artists we now consider legends such as Van Gogh did not receive formal training yet they created iconic pieces. Similarly, you do not need any formal training to understand or appreciate a piece. Art is naturally an emotive experience- it was made with the intention of making you feel something, so focus on what art is compelling to you, not what seems technically perfect.
All art you buy needs to be a financial investment
Art can be a great and worthwhile investment. Watching something you invested in and care about growing in value is a great experience. However, art should not only be seen as something that should be sold. If you buy a piece it should be because you want to see it in your home, office, or any other space you feel it will bring positivity and value to. Art should be a road to self-discovery and a way to enhance a space that you are proud of. When you begin art collecting, you should be the customer, not some imaginary potential buyer years down the line. If you focus on what other people like, your collection can get off to the wrong start and leave you wondering why you even bought some of these pieces in the first place.
All art needs to be bought in person
Art collecting in person is a great activity that is always full of fun and surprises. Whether it’s at a flea market, an emerging artist’s showcase, or a proper exhibition it’s an exhilarating experience. With that being said, it is by no means the only way to collect art. Online art collecting continues to grow in popularity. 90 percent of art collectors interviewed had browsed online viewing rooms in 2020 and 22 percent had used them to finalize a purchase. Advancements in technology have made the online viewing experience as close to in-person as it can get. These online viewing rooms eliminate barriers such as location while also allowing newer art collectors who may find it intimidating to shop in person to view pieces from the comfort of their own home.
Art collecting may first seem like it is too complicated and elitist to get into, but art is meant for everyone. Art is meant to be inspiring, fun, and thought-provoking. Don’t let intimidating stereotypes stop you from getting started. You can start small and do what feels right for you.
Painting in the bedroom by Ferenc Keresi on Pixabay
Woman at an art fair by Craig Adderly on Pixabay
Guest Author Bio
Jess Leslie majored in English at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, and is a blogger for HappyHobbyist. She enjoys writing about all things related to art and entertainment.
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