Welcome to Art Opening(s), the podcast where there are no gatekeepers, no stupid questions, and art for all. Hosted by Courtney Jordan and Samantha Sanders and sponsored by Artists Network.
You Could Be an Art Collector. Yes, You.
Do you love going to galleries and museums to check out the latest artworks on the scene? Do you love looking at art and stalk painters and makers the way your friends moon over celebs? Is the wall space above your living room sofa sacred?
If you only answered yes to any one of these and have just a scant square foot of wall space to call your own you’ve got what it takes to be an art collector.
In today’s episode we delve into why art collecting is in crisis and what YOU can do about it; what the rise of the celebrity art collector means for us (or not). Plus we dish with a special guest, that rare and exotic species of art collector: one who isn’t a bazillionaire (!) a.k.a. an ordinary dude in the studio. A person just like you and how he found himself an art collector almost without plan and without tons of disposable income to do it with.
Collecting in Crisis
When art is viewed firstly as an asset, collecting for us normals goes into crisis, which is why this whole discussion about realizing how easily and accessibly anyone can be an art collector matters right now.
According to a recent study, millennial art collectors make up 27% of the art collector bucket. They are twice as likely as previous generations to view art as an asset class. Uh, if that is you, don’t let that be you. If that is the sign of things to come, when the dollar is put above the aesthetic pleasure and appreciation of an object and its maker, we need to change the game by getting in the game.
This episode of Art Opening(s) is sponsored by the first ever SketchKon taking place Nov. 2-4 in Pasadena, California.
So Why Collect?
In this episode, we chew on:
+The questions to ask yourself if you are thinking of art collecting…
+Whether collecting can be part of your own creativity…
+How to do it on a normal person’s budget…
+What it really takes…
+How art collecting can be your social practice–or part of it…
+Plus, our predictions on what art collecting will look like in the 22nd century…
Listen in as we dish on what to do and not to do as a budding art collector and get advice from a real art collector who is also really normal. Someone who collected because he couldn’t seem to do anything else. Because the art was calling his name. If it starts calling yours, you’ll be set.
Return to the Art Opening(s) homepage.
Art Collector 101 Tip Sheet for Newbies and Normals
Here are our rambling insights on what to do if you want to collect, where to buy, and what to buy.
WHAT TO DO
To figure out what you want to collect, uh, ask yourself. What are your obsessions? What catches your eye? What do you love to look at? What imagery can you imagine being roommates with?
Follow your local art market so you can develop relationships with artists nearby. Make it a part of the conversations you have with your friends and acquaintances in your town or community. Seek out local art organizations, galleries, openings or artists in your state or region that you are interested in.
Seek out online groups that are in your area around art or things you like to do that could lead to art discoveries. A hiking group is likely to have an artist among them. If you love trekking too, participate and observe.
Consider a yearly art budget. No more, no less, whether you are buying 10 works or one.
WHAT TO BUY
The work of one artist. You get to develop a relationship with an artist as a collector that is unique and positive. Focusing on one artist really allows you to make that happen.
Art in a genre, a style, a school or movement that you enjoy. This could take you from galleries to eBay if you are following an historical movement, but don’t let that stop you. If you are a landscape lover, go with it and your collection will be full of variety as a result.
A commission. It never hurts to approach an artist about a commission. Just be honest, open, and respectful and you’ll get that in return. It may not work out but it just might and your budget could be met with a piece made just for you.
Uh, always, art you love.
WHERE TO BUY
From the artist is the most affordable route.
Go local and regional as opposed to New York City blue chip galleries. Great art is made everywhere. Start close to home.
Online: Etsy, Artsy, and eBay oh my. Patreon and Kickstarter too and keep your ears perked for galleries that do online pop ups.
Local fairs. Almost every major city has an annual art fair–find yours.
Galas and benefits of organizations you might already be affiliated or aligned with.
Emerging art fairs: NADA, Affordable Art Fair, The Other Art Fair or parts of established fairs that showcase emerging artists.
Troll your local auctions and estate sales.
Don’t be intimidated by big auction houses. Sales can start as low as $800 to $1,000 and looking is free to start!
Secondhand furniture stores and yard sales and fleas can yield art that you’d never want but it can also be the place where you find that perfect fill-in-the-blank.
Art schools and MFA program shows are a great place to start seeing where our young academically trained artists are headed.
Traditional art galleries. And remember that there are works in storage and those “in the back” that will be much affordable.
Art advisers or consultants are not free–be your own. But if you must, get the details in writing. Literally, what are you paying them for because there is a lot of wiggle room in relationships like this. Think about: an hourly rate vs retainer; what they can do for you: shipping and handling issues; insurance; taxes; and when and if you decide to resell.
You may not need to buy at all. Family and friends getting rid of art?? Put the word out that you are, yes, say it, an art collector.
Ask for a discount. Every time. Artists and galleries expect it but just be sure to ask honestly and respectfully.
If the work is framed, the price might increase. If it isn’t framed and you know you will need to get it framed, that is another place where the discount conversation comes in.
Always get documentation when you buy.
1-2% or as much as 20% of the cost of an artwork itself goes into upkeep including shipping, install, insurance. It doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might think. But be aware that the more serious you become as an art collector, or them more valuable your collection becomes as with our special guest, you will have to look into appraisal, conservation, storage and security.
Uh, be nice and pay–immediately.
Be an early bird. If you get there first or discover an emerging artist, the price will be right. Not so much after their career takes off.
Don’t expect to make money and remember that the lowest price isn’t always the best deal.
In case it didn’t sink in: buy art you love. The rest will take care of itself.