Choose art that you like and collect based on your own tastes
The art world is perceived as a very intimidating place, indeed. When you're ready to begin collecting works, it's best to keep in mind that the ultimate pleasure is yours. You will be displaying it and looking at it every day - whether it's a favorite old poster, a "true" collectible, or a piece from a local starving artist.
Testing the Waters of Collectible Art
You may also be interested in testing the waters of more collectible types of art. The caveat remains, however: buy what you will personally enjoy. And buy something that's within your budget. Before you go in search of those great pieces, it makes sense to do a little research.
You can become familiar with art terms for starters by subscribing to magazines and browsing Internet "how-to" guides. Learn the definitions of limited edition prints, lithographs, and what it means to be "signed in the block." Ask about artist's proofs, also. They'll always be pricier, but will also become more valuable with time.
Increasing value is another point that experts dwell on - and for good reason. Never buy a piece simply because you think it will be sellable. The art market is fickle as are buyers and you have no guarantees of ever doubling or tripling your investment. The average buyer who wants to build and display a home collection should not be concerned about the future.
Refrain from diving in headfirst. Visit local and on-line galleries. Look at styles and become familiar with artists whose work you do like. This will help build an affinity with a selected style and give you a bit of an edge if you feel the urge to sound like an art snob.
When You Find a Piece You Like
Even when you find a piece you like in a gallery, it's not always necessary to purchase right away. Chances are, it's not "on sale" to begin with - it will be there in a week or even a month in most cases. Visit with the artist, if possible, and learn about the history of the work. How he or she was drawn to create the piece and what it means to them.
Don't choose collectible art pieces based on your decorating tastes, either. A group of works can stand on its own in any decor.
Intimidated by entering a gallery? Visit museums first where you can wander about on your own. Take guided tours or - again - take virtual gallery tours. Even your local gallery will probably have an on-line presence. Watch the news for special openings where you can mingle with other enthusiasts. Most cities host several exhibitions and expos throughout the year. Even if the selection is not to your taste, you can still learn a lot.
When you're ready to purchase, always choose a reliable source. Check them out if at all possible. Once you've mastered the fear of talking to gallery owners, they'll also be more than willing to help you locate reputable dealers and can accommodate transactions.
Really, most gallery owners and staff are more than happy to help beginners. Be open about what you can afford and what you hope to achieve. It's their job to build relationships that will grow over the years.
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