I like art. I like art museums. I like pretending that I’m an artist. I even like podcasts about art. I think at the young, ripe age of 26, I’d like to consider myself a baby art collector, much like Porsha from RHOA recently called herself a “baby vegan.” We’ll both get there eventually folks. Over the past 3 years of buying/investing in quite a few pieces, I’ve come up with my own set of rules that I use as my personal gut check when getting a new one.
1. Start small
If you’re just starting out with your art collection, really—just start small with your size and budget. As you buy more, you’ll see that your tastes will change (but also stay somewhat the same), so consider this your exploratory period where you learn about your preferred medium (print/photograph/painting/sculpture), color scheme, artists, where and how you like to buy your art. Plus, if you’re the type who’s always on the move, you won’t have to worry about lugging a larger piece every which way your heart desires.
2. Try Local
Now that I sit down and actually think about it, most of my favorite pieces have come from California, with 2/3 of them coming from the same region (SLO). Sure, there are plenty of great artists scattered across the globe, but your favorites might be down the street (or highway!) from you. I would skip local “craft” fairs if you’re serious about getting (more) serious art in your house and head to local galleries and art shows if you have them. Another source for scouting locals? Instagram!
3. Think about the big picture
So if you’ve already got 2-3 pieces that you’re thinking really represent you and your burgeoning collection, any new purchases should fit in and complement what you have. For example, most of my pieces have some sort of blue and white scheme to them, but I threw in a pink piece that stands out but also fits right at home with everything else. IMHO, you can’t really place a Picasso and a Monet side by side.
4. Go with your gut
All right, my mantra (which gets me in trouble) is if you like it, buy it. If you get the heebie-jeebies/butterfly-in-stomach feeling when you see that piece, give it a new home on your wall/shelf/cabinet/backyard. One of my favorite pieces was recently purchased from a drawing rally, and when I saw it I knew and didn’t have any time to think about it.
5. But don’t be afraid to sleep on it
But my bank account has told me to do a serious gut check before pulling the plastic trigger on any new pieces. If you’ve got time to think about a new acquisition, take time to sleep on it. Take a photo of it (always ask!), print it out and put it on your wall to try and visualize it in your space and figure out if it fits in with your other works.
6. Each piece should have a story
Okay, I give terrible advice when it comes to buying things. If you leave this post with one thing, just know that every piece you have should have a story and you should remember, where/when/and who you were with you bought each piece. Good art is always memorable, but the best art has really great stories behind them. (Cough, see my brief stories below).