Perhaps, the most common misconception about buying art is that you should have a wide and considered understanding of the contemporary art market and be able to estimate appreciation of the work over a period of time – all of which ignores the potent, emotive value of art. Owning an artwork should be based on the simple premise that it makes you feel something. When we scale down the notion behind successful art collecting, one thing is universal – you should really love the art you buy.
Any contact with a work is an opportunity to cultivate knowledge and your first piece should be your gateway to the different ways that it resonates with you. Entertain all the different ideas it sparks. Seek out the stories that the work is in dialogue with. Engage with the artist directly. Build your own stories with the work. Art is meant to be personal – a project, not a transaction. Art is meant to be social. The best collectors were friends, and not just patrons, with the artist’s they supported.
Why this is exactly the right time to buy art
First of all, it has never been so easy to discover new work and artists. Digital can’t replace the face-to-face experience of art, but it does offer many new points of engagement. With the dynamism of online viewing rooms, virtual art fairs and curated platforms like Art of This Place, there is a deepening of the cultural nexus of art. The way we appreciate and experience art is already radically different than it was a decade ago. These crucial digital touchpoints cut through the static and providing unprecedented access to what is unique about the art world.
Several factors in the art market this year have pivoted demand away from high-value works in favour of emerging artists and mid-value pieces, creating a singular vacuum through which to impact trends, as people start to seek out more accessible artists to invest in. Recent years have also seen the delineation of the specific art centres and the rise of global interest in contemporary African art, presenting a unique opportunity to influence taste.
Put your money where your heart is
Buying art is your own opportunity to add to the canon of global art. Ultimately, engaging with art today is about visibility – both for you and the artist. Your first piece is your entry to the art community, and it should make you feel seen.