How to Build an Art Collection
The building of an art collection is influenced by a number of factors. Some consider their collection to be personal, an extension of themselves. Others may seek a more formal collection that is a reflection of more focused factors, such as exclusively contemporary Canadian artists. Regardless of intentions we want all of those who visit us at Studio Sixty Six to have the tools they need to make their own decisions about art, to build a collection that resonates with them and is an ongoing source of joy and pride. So for our monthly compilation of Carrie Colton's Art Tips (featured on our instagram story highlights,) we have focused on what it means to build a collection–where to start and how to make decisions.
Buy From the Heart
Arguably the most important factor in building an art collection, or at least what should be at the core of it – buy from the heart! Regardless of the formal and technical values that we can lay on art, we believe that the main reason to buy a work of art should be based on whether you love it or not.
Take Your Time and Research
Leslie Hossack, Kosovo series, photography
Part of buying from the heart is also finding out what you love and why you love it. So take your time and do some research. Start following the instagram accounts of artists, art galleries and visit local galleries who can answer your questions. Make this a fun process of discovery!
Why Do You love It
Rémi Thériault, Front series, photography
We mention that it is important to find out what you love and why you love it. Of course, that’s an easy question to understand, but it can be difficult to put your feelings about art into words. Here we have some questions that can help you get started in this process
- Does it remind me of my own stories?
- How does it make me feel?
- Do I like it for the ideas it communicates
- Is it that it’s old, new, local, foreign, big, small, round, square, etc…?
- Does it inform my perspective on some aspect of my life?
- Does it portray or present things in new and interesting ways?
Amy Thompson, Monument series
After the emotive qualities of work, you can also consider the technical factors that can affect the price of work. This is important to consider as it will affect your decisions whether you are conscious of investing in collection or working within a budget.
The rarity of a piece will greatly impact the price. A print edition that is 1 out of 100 will be priced significantly lower than a piece that is one of a kind. The medium of the piece will contribute to the pricing as well. A work on canvas is often more valuable than one on paper. Both of these factors are also greatly impacted by the artist’s career and the gallery they are represented by. A well established, award winning artist who has a respected reputation will be priced much higher than an emerging artist who is just starting to exhibit their work. This reputation will be amplified by the gallery. A reputable gallery provides you with a guarantee of the value of your art purchase. Furthermore, galleries are built by the discerning tastes of their curators and/or directors, providing the gallery with a personality that can help you find styles of work that you like. For example, some galleries may be more contemporary with variety of mediums, while others may be more traditional, or exclusive to one medium. It is very helpful to be aware of the reputation of the gallery you are buying from and what styles they lean towards.
Guillermo Trejo, "It is about Plants, Modernism and Other Things" series, wood cut prints
Perhaps the most disliked, but certainly the most unavoidable, determining factor of building an art collection–the budget. Setting a budget and understanding what you are comfortable spending on art will be an immense help whether you are deliberately building an art collection or if you are just looking to buy a piece here and there. It is helpful to work within these constraints. If you fall in love with a piece it is okay to splurge (if you are able to,) but the last thing you want to experience is buyers remorse over something that should bring you joy.
These five base elements to building a collection can strengthen your collection and provide insight into the art you like, as well as the art market itself.
As always, you can call Studio Sixty Six’ director and designer Carrie Colton for more information. You can reach her at 613 355 0359 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org