Do you remember the last time you made an investment in a piece of art instead of a savings account or the stock market? Well, if you’re like most millennials, it’s probably not recently, if ever. For many people, the art market seems quite mysterious, and contemporary art galleries can feel dauntingly aloof.
However, the best time to learn everything you need to know about collecting contemporary art is while in your 20s. The piece of art hanging on your wall is a long-term financial investment. Now scrap the concert posters you kept from college off your walls, and remove the dead air plants that have been hanging around, and make an investment in some original, exciting pieces of art.
Although purchasing an art piece can be a highly rewarding long-term investment, it’s also potentially risky.
Collecting pieces of art from emerging artists – artists in their early phases of their career – is an affordable option. As the artist becomes established, the value of the artwork will increase, and so will the value of your investment. However, this long-term appreciation is far from guaranteed, since it’s quite difficult to predict the progression of an artist’s career and how it’ll end up.
There are a lot of available resources and books that offer in-depth details of the ups and downs of the art market. However, in this article, we’ll provide an introduction to collecting art, and the financial and cultural value of art in your life. The following are 4 ways to get started with your art collection.
Learn About Your Local Art Scene
Regardless of where you’re living, whether it’s Los Angeles, New York City, or a smaller city, there’s a local art scene near you. Galleries also offer a wide range of art. The key is to find the galleries that offer an ancient, contemporary, or modern art, which one support artists who are in the later stages of their careers, and those that work with emerging artists.
In general, pieces from established artists will come at a higher price, while those from emerging artists will often have amenable prices to the beginner collector. So, be sure to attend exhibition openings, when the galleries are open later on. In most cases, they offer free wine.
Art ideally provokes conversations, reimagines the world, and sparks new thought. So, if you like whatever you see in an art opening, reach out to one of the staff and schedule an informational meeting. The staff members of the gallery are there to help you, and this can initiate and nurture a personal relationship with them and learn about the artists they work with, understand their price spectrum, and see more inventory.
Choose an Artist
Once you’ve found a gallery you like, you are perhaps drawn to one or two artists. What next?
While collecting art, you should go with want you like, and what you trust yourself. A person can have a PhD in art history backed by a wealth of experience advising about art, but they won’t be the one living with the art when you purchase it. If you invest it art it is always a personal choice.
If you like it, listen to your instincts, even if you can’t explain why. At the same time, it’s always a good idea to research your potential investment. Check the artist’s resume and background in order to get a better picture of their professional trajectory.
Does the artist have an MFA from a prominent art school? Have they done solo events or shows in renowned galleries? Has their work been collected or exhibited by museums? Do journalists write about the artist? If so, what’s their opinion?
Such questions will unravel a general impression about the experience of the artist in the industry. Of course, the emerging artists may have lesser information about them available, but if you have a gallery staff connection, they can help you understand the practice better. Some online resources for general research on artists include Artnet, Artsy, and publications like ArtForum, Modern Painters, and Art in America.
These are a few things you should consider. However, don’t forget that the art world is highly subjective, and no one piece of information can work for every artist. Plus, paperwork art like drawings are generally less expensive than paintings.
When it comes to photography, it’s important to consider the number of editions – the number of times an image will be printed. In general, the smaller the edition, the fewer the number of prints that will be available for purchase. For example, an edition of seven will be more expensive than the edition of 25.
Size can also correlate the price, where the bigger the canvas, print, or paper, the higher the price. However, this is not always the case, a small Picasso will still be a Picasso. For sculptures, video art, and new media, ensure that you have ample storage to store or show it.
Readying Yourself to Buy
Now that you’ve found artwork that makes your heart race and speaks to your soul, it’s time to commit and buy.
Purchasing from a gallery can provide room for negotiation. As you research the work of the artist, you will get an idea of the price range. But before you commit your money, you should know that paying in instalments might be an option if you’re unable to pay the price upfront, and based on the artist the price can be negotiable.
When buying art, always have a budget in mind. However, if you budgeted $800 and the piece you want is $950, be sure to talk to the director about a discount before completing the sale. Keep in mind that you should include shipping and framing expenses in your budget.
The key thing to note is that if the gallery person says they can’t offer you a discount, trust them. They aren’t playing any games with you. No two artists or galleries are the same, and some don’t offer discounts on purchases.
The next this is to make sure that the artwork stays in a pristine condition for decades. When you’re hanging the artwork, consider whether exposing it to direct sunlight is safe or can make it fade. Plus, if you don’t have renter’s insurance, you’re better off with it or just talk to your insurance agent about covering the value of the art piece with a rider.
Collecting the Art and the Future
Art collection can be lifelong hobby or passion. Some people like building specific collections, such as “feminist art from the 1980s” and others don’t like buying from the same artist twice. To begin, you don’t necessarily have to make up your collection intent, but it’s still something worth considering.
Once you buy, it’s important to keep track of the artist and how their career is progressing. You can do this by following their website, staying in touch with the gallery, and looking at art magazines. As he/she becomes more successful, your piece will increasingly become more valuable.
Certain milestones can shift the value of an artist’s work, such as museum exhibitions, biennales, books, fairs, catalogues, and more. After many years, you can the consider selling the piece either back to the gallery or at an auction. Here, your $800 investment can deliver an outstanding return.
Investing in art takes time, so think of it as a long-term investment process. The good thing about it is that you will enjoy living with a beautiful art display that makes your home unique. To build your collection, keep researching and learning more about the contemporary art world.