Starting an art collection is undoubtedly an opportunity to be surrounded by joy every day. But for beginners, the art world would seem like a cold and intimidating space. With the abundance of options and platforms available to buy Indian art and works of almost every established as well as emerging artists, thanks to the rapidly growing online art market, the task of building a collection become more daunting. But, don’t fret, here are tips to help you curate your own art collection that you love:

  • Buy what you like (love)

The first and foremost advice from experts to new collectors is to always buy what they like — modern art or maybe contemporary works. Remember your art collection is a record of your personal journey, your own legacy, so build it your way. Also, as the demands and tastes in the art market change quite often, getting involved in buying pieces that are hot right now is likely to leave you hanging later, so it is always better to commit to art that moves you. That way, whether it trends or not, it would be your winning collection.

Another important advice given by experts is to be quick. If you see any artwork that you fall for and have also done your homework, be confident, and go for it because you might not get another opportunity. Most collectors regret later, talking about the pieces that clicked and they wanted to buy but got away.

  • Do Your Research

Don’t start towards gathering art blindly, instead become an educated buyer — Read. Read. Read! Take time to research and consume literature on fine arts. With a plethora of free and paid resources available online, you will find no dearth of resources to up your art game. Read, watch videos, or listen to podcasts and interviews with art enthusiasts or leading curators.

Be aware that building your own art books and catalog library is as imperative as the expanding art collection. Having said that, an informed collector is always a good collector and know that these bundles of immense knowledge, the artbooks, also grow in value.

Apart from understanding the different types of mediums, styles, and forms of art, make sure to do your homework about the artists whose works you find interesting. For example, has the artist won any prestigious award? Does his work form a part of the art collection of any major museum around the world? Which collectors own his artworks? Are the prices of the artist’s works increasing? Remember the more information you can find, the more it can help you contemplate the long-term appreciation of the value of work.

  • Know Your Taste

Most buyers just starting to build their art collection are confused about their likes and choices, if you are one of them then cultivate your taste by learning about art. Explore your creative side by visiting galleries, art fairs, artists’ studios, museums, exhibitions, auctions, and even college art shows, or simply browse online art galleries. This will help you understand whether you would prefer to buy Indian art or if a minimalist artwork strikes your eye.

This will train your mind to comprehend art better and let you quickly identify the art you love.

  • Start Small then Grow

Know that art comes in many sizes and forms, you don’t have to necessarily go buying huge modern art canvases or expensive sculptures. You can simply begin with smaller artworks on paper and canvas, they would not only take up less wall space but would fall within your budget range as well.

If you have limited finances available, you can consider buying original prints of your favorite artworks until you can afford to purchase one-of-a-kind artwork. Even the most famous art collectors started out with owning limited edition prints, gradually moved to affordable original works by obscure artists, until they were able to buy works of acclaimed artists. Remember building an art collection is a progressive process, so be patient but make sure to get some artwork, doesn't matter big or small, on those walls.

  • Know Where to Search

You can grow your art collections from many sources, there is no single place to look for. Undoubtedly, the best way to experience art is live and go where the art is. However, digital platforms of galleries and museums are also good options for exploring art right from the comfort of your home.

Though for seasoned collectors art is everywhere, you should always start local. Art organizations, charity auctions, local art fairs and festivals, grad school exhibitions are perfect places to begin with, allowing early access to emerging artists who are typically affordable. Visiting flea markets, conventions, trade shows, estate sales, antique stores is not a bad idea either.

You can also use your social media channels, Facebook, Instagram, etc. to find new artists and get connected.

  • Build Gallery Relationships

Connecting with the art experts will help you acquire knowledge about art enabling you to buy with full confidence.

Cultivating relationships with experts holding distinguished reputations and experience, advisors, artists, enthusiasts, curators, collectors, dealers, and gallerists will offer invaluable perspectives on every type of art, be it contemporary or modern art. Who knows these movers and shakers of this world would provide you important insider information that may not be accessible to others.

For instance, if you are looking to buy Indian art with a shoestring budget. Establishing a healthy relationship with a dealer and gallery specializing in selling Indian art would help you connect with emerging artists that are promising in the long term.

  • Stay Disciplined

Don’t let the obsession of buying art drive the process of building your art collection. Instead, create a savings plan and put a little money every month to buy the best artwork that you can happily afford.

You can even create rules such as using your bonus or any refund received from tax to buy art. You can even fix the number of yearly purchases. This will help you stay disciplined at the same time building your art collection.

  • Set A Budget

Initially, it may seem quite difficult but you will never regret walking into an art gallery or show with a defined budget in mind. It will make it easier to pass on artworks that are priced above your budget and the freedom to buy the next great work for your collection.

Also, having a budget prepared will allow you to negotiate the price of a work that may be priced slightly above what you are willing to spend. For example, if your budget forms 80 to 90% of the retail price, the artist or gallery may sell the work considering your budget as a good offer price.

  • Make Decisions

When starting your own collection, it is very important to make some decisions, so that your artworks connect to each other. So before setting your foot in a gallery or show, make sure you put the answers to some essential questions on paper.

  • Do you want to focus on a certain art movement or any particular era (Modern art, Renaissance, Pop-Art), a specific subject (landscapes, portraits), or any particular medium (paintings, installation art, sculpture)?
  • What is the overall binding factor and where is your main focus of the collection?
  •  The Payment Plan

Of course, you may find payment plans not the most comfortable subject to bring up. Also, not every artist or gallery offers them, but many do, so it is always better to ask.

Many artists and galleries offer flexible payment plans with about 30 to 50% as down payment and the balance to be paid within a stipulated time. This makes it easier and convenient for collectors with limited budgets to buy artworks that they otherwise would not be in a position to consider.

  •  Host A Home Art Show

The favorite trick of many successful art collectors!

Hosting home art shows for artists and galleries will give the opportunity to meet new art buyers and connect with curators, collectors, gallerists. In the comfortable environment of your home, you would be more confident to open up with people. Not only this, for opening up your homes and networks, you can negotiate with the respective galleries or artists for artworks in exchange.

  •  Know Your Why: Passion, Profit, or Prestige

Knowing the ‘why’ of starting your art collection will help determine the best course of action, as well as also define the budget you would be requiring to move forward.

  • If you are passionate about buying art, you are likely to pick out works based on the aesthetic value, and how it makes you feel. Be careful to never overshoot your budget so that you do not end up regretting the purchase later.
  • If you are a speculative buyer, looking to buy low and sell high, all you want is to realize monetary gains in the future.
  • If your prestige drives your purchase, you must be collecting art for social value. You may look for admiration from the audience every time you host a show.

Whatever be your reason for the purchase, it’s personal, just make sure to get and live with the art you admire and love.

You know the necessary tricks, be confident, and build your very own art collection. Good luck!