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How & Why To Collect Art

The freedom of expression that collecting art provides for individuals embarking on a visual mecca can be an enlightening and attractive experience. The theory of collecting art goes about like this; you purchase your first piece and then collect another. Most seasoned and novice collectors know how difficult it can be to find and select the first of many pieces for a collection.

The works you select can either be in the form of canvased works, photography prints, sculptures, framed prints and so on. Some collectors like to follow a theme of some sort, such as post expressionism or contemporary art. Some just go by their gut instinct and visual expertise of what they enjoy viewing. Either way, the process is an expression of what the collector finds to be visually profound and usually is reflected upon the subject matter within the artwork as a whole. 


If you are new to collecting art, welcome! You are embarking on something that will delight your senses, broaden your ethos and hopefully become a hobby of sorts. It can be a little frightening to purchase a piece of art, especially if it’s for your home - you want to make sure you have the right one! I hope that the following points highlight the benefits of collecting art and perhaps will help you to progress your skills and inner thoughts about why collecting art is important not only for the artist but for yourself.

 

Buy from the Source & You Support the Artist

I don’t know if you’ve heard the saying that “...every time you buy from a local business, they do a happy dance...”?? Well... that’s certainly true of artists. Some of us share the skill of being able to put our works online and for sale (you can check my store out here). This cuts out a major middleman and helps us fund our business further! Purchasing from a gallery is a great way to support local art communities, however purchasing directly from the artist is usually best as it gives the artist 100% of the money. Sometimes works will only be directly available through an art gallery and that’s completely up to the artists discretion.


Now, there are collector stores who work with very few artists to make artisan limited edition pieces and this is a different practice entirely to what I am about to discuss. I see a lot of artists selling their artworks on “middle-man sites”, where the artists don’t sign or even handle/look at the print (I find this very disappointing). There is a level of self deprivation, I feel as an artist, to do this. I always make sure quality is on point, I hand sign and number my prints. Not to mention a Letter of Authentication always helps collectors when they go to resell their artwork or place it in a gallery for general public viewing.

 

You Get To Visit Exhibitions

This is probably the best incentive for purchasing art, visiting exhibitions to see what that new collection is all about. This is a major positive for collectors, not only do you get to stimulate your own motivation and inner artistic spirit but you get to encounter original and contrasting art that perhaps you wouldn’t have considered beforehand. You don’t have to just visit the local solo or group exhibition, you can visit museums for inspiration (but good luck on purchasing there, haha)!


Being apart of an art gallery opening as a spectator, is sometimes refreshing and no two exhibitions are the same. You get to meet artists, patrons and have a few drinks on the house. 


Even if you don’t go on opening night it is still an adventure for all involved. Perhaps your mind will be steered towards one direction with a certain artwork and another with the next. I always encourage individuals, collectors or not, to go to exhibitions.

 

If you have to be pressured, it’s probably not right (...right now)!

I hate being a negative Nancy, but sometimes this industry can be aggressive and this goes without saying, but I will say it! Never should you feel like you have to buy something because you feel persuaded or pushed into a sale. This should not be confused with bidding purchases or gallery purchases on opening nights - they are ultimate bite the dust kind of transactions. If a piece doesn’t speak to you straight away and you can think over it for a day or two before committing, always go that route. Chances are you can let the artist know you are interested and leave them your contact details if they get an offer, so you can counter - this can be a benefit for them too! 

 

Learn About The Artist

Finding an artist that you take pleasure in and learning about their journey can add to the value of their work being in your collection. You may find out some interesting information about their own personal triumphs and faults that you resonate with on a deeper personal level. You can learn new details about them through interviews and on their social media or if you go to an exhibition you can simply talk to them - we like meeting new people to you know! 

 

Buy Online

The days of buying in store and through galleries are a thing of the past! Alas, the internet provides both pitfalls for budding galleries and markets but this allows the artist to connect with their audience and sell their works directly. I still would encourage you to go to galleries to experience the diversity of art available, however, if you find something online and you trust the artist/site - go for it!  

 

Contact the Artist for a Commission

If nothing appeals to you, contact the artist to enquire about a commission. You can email them or direct message them (very normal practice). Include in your email your idea, measurements and any other factors you'd like to know about and they should get back to you within the week.

Following on from my previous point about being pressured into buying an artwork. For example, if the artist replies and it’s well over your budget… Guess what, you don’t have to go through it just because you enquired! It’s as easy as that. If you don’t love it or want to invest in that (just yet) then you don’t have to! If you start getting hounded by the artist, simply don’t reply. You should never be bullied into purchasing art.

 

Buying art can be a really fun process! If you go to exhibitions you have the possibility of falling in love with an artwork, meet new like minded people and explore different artists and styles. Collecting art will come naturally and should be stress-free. Of course, if you have any questions leave a comment below or email me (studio@madbutt.com.au) and I'd be happy to help! 

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