Recently, I wrote an article on the socio-economic value of collecting art, especially when compared to other things you may spend money on. Some people may be excited about collecting art and converting their money into a timeless and never ending supply of beauty and inspiration but with the myriad of options may not know where to start. By the end of this article you should have a framework from which to be an informed collector.
- Collect what you like
This step may be more involved than simply finding an appealing piece of work but being able to articulate why you like certain work. You may like a piece because it reminds you of something or puts you in particular mood. You may like how it reminds you of an era of art history or maybe there is something about it that seems familiar. You may like a work because of its color, composition or the concept behind the piece. Being able to articulate what you like about a piece of art helps you to make an informed decision about whether you would like to invest in it.
2. Collect artists you like
This is similar to point 1. If there is an artist that consistently produces work that you enjoy, you may consider looking for this particular artist at exhibitions and making it a point to collect their work. Maybe you’ve met the artist and feel a connection or you know that the artist is producing work that is consistent with a philosophy to ascribe to. For whatever reason, this is a strategy that has paid off for collectors of Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh and many others.
3. Collect new artists’ work
The Grenada Arts Council frequently has exhibitions showing artists that have not had much exposure. In many cases, the work is less expensive and if you see potential in the artist improving, having some of their early work can be very advantageous. Otherwise, it is good to encourage young and developing artists in the craft and there is no bigger endorsement than a sale.
4. Collect established artists’ work
In this case you are investing in an artist that has already gone through trials and have proven that there are here to stay. While their work may be more expensive than someone new to the market, you are investing in work that will continue to gain value and already has prestige associated with it. Find out where these artists have exhibited and you may be the owner of a piece that has been seen worldwide. Most of the artists at the new Art and Soul Gallery in Spiceland Mall have been exhibiting for more than 15 years and a few for more than 30.
5. Collect a range of sizes
This is a good way to make your dollar go far. When times are good, collect big pieces. When times are a little tighter, invest in smaller, less pricey work. This way you will always be adding to your collection. Consider designating a percentage of your income to your art collection so that you know how much you have budgeted when you are looking for art.
6. Collect originals
Original art retains its value much better than prints. Although prints are a good alternative if you want an image of a large piece in a smaller format. The other reason to purchase original work is to avoid the centuries old scam of art forgery. Even today (and in Grenada) people will imitate other people’s artwork and try to sell it for the value of an original done by the artist. In many instances in Grenada you have the luxury of meeting the artist or at least viewing their work in a gallery or exhibition space that they have endorsed.
Asher Mains, artist, Entrepreneur