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Collecting like a champion on a shoestring budget

There are so many questions around collecting artwork. What do you picture (no pun intended) when you think of an art collector? Most people assume certain traits: a well to do, connected, idle person who has the time and financial backing to search for exclusive artwork that few people can afford.

While there are many collectors who indeed fall under that category, it is also true that collectors come in all shapes, and sizes. Most are well intentioned and fair, but a growing number of collectors haggle, cut corners and try to take advantage of artists falling on hard times. Some of the strategies they employ are deployed to entice beginning and mid-career artists into providing them with original work in exchange for “exposure” or publicity. It’s a con job of the worst kind. All they do is pad their collection and in return they make an online passing mention of the “acquisition”. They act as if the artist were indebted to them for the privilege of being part of their roster.

I firmly believe that acquiring artwork does not have to be an intimidating process. You don't have to set out to swindle the artist in order to succeed. One can be fair, helpful, and supportive, without spending a fortune.

Many artists offer quality artwork without a middle person to facilitate the sale. That is already a positive development for a prospective collector. I find that buying directly from a trustworthy and reliable artist is a wonderful and straightforward method of collecting. I do it myself monthly, and it is easier than you think to become the owner of a collectable piece of original artwork.

Collecting has never been so accessible. If no room is truly complete without meaningful artwork, how do we go about populating our walls with art we love? There is, in fact, plenty of unique artwork to be purchased. There are so many sites where you can find a wide range of art pieces at every price point. Furthermore, these days you can buy from the comfort of your own home and you can even establish a lasting relationship with your favorite artist.

Just because you are not in a position to spend hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars for a single piece, doesn’t mean that you should give up on owning beautiful art. There is plenty of quality, reasonably priced pieces that are well below $100. These pieces are a brilliant starting point for a new collector to gradually build up a personal and unique collection.

Then again, how do you decide what art to buy? The answer lies in your heart. It is essential that you connect with it. Follow your preferences without embarrassment. If you like work on paper, buy that. If you prefer colorful canvases, search for that. Whatever your feel attracted to, is what belongs in your home. Always purchase art based on your personal taste, not passing trends.

It is quite common for artists to reproduce images as prints. These reproductions come at a significantly lower price than originals. If you know how to assess the quality of a print (they range dramatically) you can start making purchases with confidence and peace of mind. Just remember that the image needs to speak to you and that your relationship with that special piece will grow and evolve overtime.

Get out there (virtually) and start perusing websites. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the range of styles and prices you'll find.


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