The main obstacle for artists collecting art is, as you can imagine, money.
Many artists have strategies, however. Alia El-Bermani and her husband add a piece to their collection each year as an anniversary present to each other.
George Kocar, who frequently sells at art fairs, will often take profits and purchase from other artists at the fair… “Art Karma!”
Art and Craft Fair acquisitions from George Kocar’s Collection
Nicole Moné and her husband have purchased art and then made other financial cuts to work it back into the budget over subsequent months. Nicole also keeps a running log of artists whose work she has her eye on and plans accordingly to fill out her collection over the years.
Nancy Bea Miller and Steven Daluz, two artists with no relation and who hail from two different parts of the country, both recommend setting a yearly budget for art collecting and sticking to it.
As an instructor at multiple art colleges, including Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Harcum College, Nancy Bea Miller is in a wonderful position to buy work from students and emerging artists whose work she admires at affordable prices.
Another means of building your collection is through trade, which is a delicate maneuver to pull off. To avoid awkwardness and hurt feelings, Steven Daluz offers this strategy: if an artist whose work he admires has also made positive comments about Steven’s work, he’ll send them a private message asking if they would “entertain the notion of a trade sometime” leaving the door open for a future trade without putting them on the spot. He has also noticed that trades are easier with drawings, which may be more plentiful in an artist’s studio. 90% of the paintings in his collection, however, are from purchases.
Several artists surveyed said they were shy to initiate trades, but Deb Keirce has on multiple occasions offered a trade and had been taken up on it.
Occasionally an attempted purchase will result in a trade, as it did for Amy Lloyd, when she asked Kyrin Hobson about buying her painting.
Kyrin Hobson, In Time
Collectors also have stories about a painting they loved that got away.
Ann Kraft Walker loved Gregory Mortenson’s “Little Braid” and inquired about it when she first saw it online in a show, only to find that it had already sold!
Gregory Mortenson, Little Braid
Steven Daluz was rewarded for his online sharing generosity by losing Kathiucia Diaz’s “A Murder of Crows.” He shared Diaz’s painting on Facebook moments before he had to leave for an appointment. He came back an hour later to inquire about purchasing the piece from the artist only to discover it had already been snapped up by a collector who saw his post five minutes after he posted it! That’s the power of social media.
Kathiucia Dias, A Murder of Crows, Oil on Canvas, 18" x 24"
Steven DaLuz recommends having an annual budget, and also asking yourself some questions, such as:
· “Does the work add something to my collection that I’m missing?”
· “Is the price so good that I simply can’t pass it up?”
· “When I look at this work in 5 years, will it still move me?”
As artists ourselves, we are in a unique position to collect art; with our skills and education, we can recognize quality when we see it, and we also have many opportunities to purchase art directly from friends who are artists. Because we value art, we make financial choices in order to bring it into our lives.
Hopefully walking this walk will inspire our friends, relatives, acquaintances and visitors to our homes to also begin the rewarding and addicting practice of building art collections to enrich their lives too. Perhaps the “Art Karma” will work and they will be inspired to start their collection by acquiring one of your works!