Research for Art Collecting: Tips for Aspiring Art Collectors
How to: Research for Art Collecting
By Laura Smith
Art buying or collecting, these days, is becoming more and more attainable; there are a plethora of articles, guides and how-to’s on purchasing your first piece of art. Top art magazines all the way to business journals are strutting their DIY stuff to help their readers become the newest art connoisseurs. And their first and strongest suggestion of them all, to do your research.
However, research isn’t always explained, it is simply expected. Research isn’t necessarily easy when it comes to contemporary art. When googling an artist or a style of art, usually the most popular and most expensive work appears at the top of the page – not the most useful for someone who is starting out their art collection. How are you supposed to know how to research something brand new to you?
In order to aid the amateur art collectors out there that need to know what fundamental research really means and how to do it, I’ve put together a little jumpstart guide to get your art motor running!
· First and foremost, get to know what you like. What visually stimulates you, inspires you? It could be anything from nature to technology to people. This is so important, your research ultimately begins with yourself, your ideas about what is interesting or beautiful or simply aesthetically or intellectually stimulating are what will fuel your purchase, making it the most enjoyable and productive experience! Even if it’s one little word, like sun. Imagine all the feelings that come with sun, all the images that represent the sun, keep these in mind as you begin exploring.
· Next, go out into the art world. This doesn’t just mean to large galleries or museums, this also means libraries, bookstores, antique shops, coffee shops (which tend to have local art for sale), art fairs and art schools, even street art or graffiti art. It is imperative to experience art. Art is not an innate object that takes space on a wall, art gives space to a room. Art moves you, challenges perspective and provokes the imagination. Books can be the most stimulating gateway for learning about art, photos of art are easier to come by in large amounts on pages than the walls of a gallery. Most importantly, take notes. While you are experiencing art, make note of what moves you, what kinds of details stand out to you? Did you see an artist you really liked on your journey? This will be your reference.
· Finally, start canvassing that reference material! This is when you can do the most accurate art fair, school, and gallery research. Now you know what you are looking for, it’s time to figure out where to find it. Let’s say you found an artist you really liked in a coffee shop during your experience in the art world, follow that lead! Start your search by looking up the artist on Facebook or Instagram, this will always produce ‘other artists like this one…’ or maybe you’ll come across an article in a magazine about this artist, read that magazine to get an idea of other art like it, and so it continues – your research motor is full speed! Let’s consider you didn’t find anything yet, but you have a list of clues, maybe you like abstract and traditional (not always easy to find in contemporary art). One of my favorite places to ask about traditional art, estate sales. Truly, the key is asking, put your interests out there and you’ll inevitably discover something spectacular.