Congratulations! You are considering becoming an art collector. We think you should for many reasons, five of which we’ll detail in this article.
To be clear, this article is for those considering collecting original art as opposed to mass-produced decorations available through retail stores. Read on to learn the reasons for collecting original paintings, sculptures, drawings, and more. And if we’ve convinced you that collecting art makes sense, this Art Collector’s Guide will help you get started.
As an art collector, you get to support artists you love while decorating your home in a way that makes your surroundings more enjoyable for you and your guests. In part, that’s because art is a reflection of the artist’s environment, so you’ll get to preserve history.
Collecting art is also a great way to reflect your personality in your home. You have so many ways to reflect your interests as well as choosing pieces that evoke different emotions as you pass by them.
Lastly, you shouldn’t forget that your original art collection can also be an investment. Gains on the right original art are comparable to other types of “serious” investment such as stocks and bonds, while there are also tax advantages.
Let’s dive in…
To Support Artists You Love
Art collectors should never forget that artists are entrepreneurs, building their art business in an ecosystem with significantly less support than other types of small businesses. Small businesses support their owners when revenue exceeds expenses and art businesses grow when the artist starts to develop a following. You can help!
When you buy pieces by an artist directly or through a gallery representing that artist, you’re putting money in that artist’s hands. When you buy a piece that is already owned by another collector, you’re still indirectly supporting the artist by keeping the “market” for that artist moving. For an emerging artist, you may be helping them transition from art as a “side hustle” to “art as a career.”
Beyond your purchase’s impact, you can further support that artist by getting to know the artist’s story and sharing it with your network. You can be an influencer for that artist by talking about them, sharing your thoughts on social media, displaying the piece online in your collecting in tools such as ETChster, and at your home.
To Decorate Your Home
Another reason to collect art is to make your home more enjoyable. A whole new set of art collectors got started during the Covid pandemic as they stayed in their homes throughout the work day. Today, with many businesses going fully remote, the trend only continues. Decorating home offices with original art makes them a lot more fun.
More traditionally, however, original art’s location in the home is in the shared spaces: living and dining areas. Hanging original art where guests can see it brings joy to family members. Interesting pieces all make phenomenal conversation starters.
You know you have a good collection going when your dinner guests ask for a tour of your home. Your tour will be more interesting if you can tell the story of each piece (and that’s a great opportunity to support the artist).
If you’re just getting started collecting art, you can hang one piece centered on a wall and gradually decorate more walls. Alternatively, you can focus on one wall and arrange multiple pieces in either a linear pattern or a mosaic. For smaller collections, your mosaic might contain original pieces along with other decorative items that reflect your personality.
To Represent Your Personality & History
Whether on a single mosaic wall or throughout your home, the original art you choose is a great reflection of you. You can represent yourself to others, and you can also choose pieces that remind you of certain things.
Says ETChster’s Eddie Davis, “My home office has a mix of purchased art from contemporary artists and pieces by artists in my family. I chose pieces that remind me of certain periods and people with an intentional “humorous” theme that counteracts stressful days.”
As you collect art over time, you’ll have pieces you purchased in different periods of your life. If you travel or permanently move, you’ll also accumulate pieces attached to happy memories in different places.
Have you personally had a “Blue Period” like Picasso? You might be able to track your overall emotional evolution through your art collection.
To Preserve History
We all have the opportunity to purchase and hold pieces that should end up in museums someday and in online databases of great art that might exist 1000s of years from now. Unlike other art forms like music or motion pictures, the documentation of fine art outside of “blue chip” art is still very grassroots, but you can help with historic preservation.
When you add a piece of fine art to your collection, collect its story. If it’s already in a platform like ETChster, you’ll be able to receive the story from the artist’s perspective when you purchase it and add your own to the digital record. In other cases, you’ll be the one collecting and writing the story and making it available to future generations.
For many collectors, part of their holdings documents family history: artists in the family and art purchased by parents and grandparents.
From a global perspective, the rate of societal change is only accelerating. We’ve had a number of global events in recent years that will spawn great art: the Covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the rise of Trumpism and attempted coup in the United States will likely spawn great art that might be the Guernica of this period.
To Invest for the Future
Blue chip fine art, Picasso, Warhol, da Vinci, etc. has always been appreciated in value but in a relatively opaque way. Unlike stocks that trade every day, great works of art don’t change hands that often and don’t have their own public databases and apps where you can buy and sell with a few clicks.
Nonetheless, interest in the investment side of art collecting has grown enormously with the speculative NFT boom and subsequent crash-making headlines. We’re also now starting to see mainstream press like Yahoo! Finance repeatedly quote Senator Mitt Romney (Bain Capital Founder) recommending fine art as a hedge against inflation and potentially tax-advantaged asset against the “rich tax” being debated in the USA.
Art collectors of more modest means can purchase works by living artists that may eventually be blue chip and make stratospheric gains with very high risk as well. Those looking for less risk and can invest in funds that pool smaller investments to purchase blue-chip art. With these, collectors don’t get the enjoyment of having art on their walls but may be proud to say they own a Pollack (fractionally).
With all the reasons to get started as an art collector, you’ll find plenty of resources including art collecting apps to make it easy to keep track of your holdings (with their stories), manage loans, inheritance, insurance, and other tasks.
Most importantly, you’ll find finding, buying, and displaying great art is an unbelievably enjoyable endeavor for a lifetime.