Collecting Art-A Guide –According to LiLu
By Lisa Peck
Collecting Art- A Guide is a look at collecting and living with original art through the eyes of an experienced designer. At LiLu Interiors we work with people who have varied budgets and knowledge of art but we want everyone to be able to surround himself or herself with beauty and that can include having original art.
Educate Yourself On What You Like
Like many things you have an interest in and an intention to pursue it can be scary to think of collecting art! You may feel you lack the knowledge of sophistication to start an art collection but most things you can learn!
If you don’t even know what you like start to learn!
-Read books or magazines on art! Don’t let all the analysis distress you. Read it and absorb what you can but mainly note what you like. Try to decide why you like it!
-Visit local galleries and art crawls and do the same- Identify what you like and why? Is it the color? The technique? Does it just make you happy? Ask if you can take a photo of a piece you like and note why you like it. The more you do this the more you will be able to identify what kind of art resonates with you. If you see something you don’t like it is also valuable to know why you don’t like it. Some people hate still life’s or landscapes…don’t know why…. they just do!
-Visit local museums and do the same thing I describe above.
Knowing what you love and what you don’t is a good foundation for creating the confidence to make your first purchase. Bunny Williams says, “If you love something, it will work. That’s the only rule.” I believe this to be particularly true with art. It should be loved so well it you will never tire of it.
Decide on a Budget
Buying art like buying anything requires that you devote a budget for it. If you want to collect you don’t need a huge budget but knowing what you want to spend on your first purchase can let you know where to go to make a purchase.
When you are looking around at galleries and art crawls note the prices. That can start to let you know what you are likely to want to buy. Different mediums can be different price points and smaller works can be more accessible to a first time collector. The first original painting I purchased was about 6” x 6” but I loved the artists work and it was a great start! Another tip if you need to smart small is buy student art. MCAD in Minneapolis, a local art college, has a great sale every year that supports the school and gives young artist their first experiences with selling their work. It’s a great opportunity to buy great art.
If you feel you can afford the art without having to compromise in other areas of your life you will love it more! As you gain confidence as a collector you may want to expand your budget! Insiders tip: Art in the Midwest is a great buy. I went on a studio tour recently and overheard a couple who had just moved here from New York talking in astounded tones about the low prices!
Attend Art Events
Getting to know the art scene in your city is as easy as attending gallery openings, tours, art shows and crawls. On Friday we will have a blog that is a look at the art scene in the Twin Cities where we are blessed to have an active creative community.
Think about asking questions of gallery owners and artists who are at openings and shows. They love (usually) talking about their passion and that’s a great way to get to know them and learn more about art. Think how cool it would be to own art from
An artist you’ve met and spoken with!
Join An Art Related Club
Galleries and museums often have clubs or groups aimed at young collectors. Join them and attend the events. You can meet like-minded individuals who share your interest in art. You may realize that they are learning just like you. It’s just like enjoying wine or any other activity; often sharing your excitement with peers will enhance your enjoyment.
Start Where You Are
Are you buying your first piece or have a start and want to expand your collection. Wherever you are starting from just start!
If you comfort level is buying a small piece of original work that’s great! Think also about different mediums. People can often make the mistake of thinking paintings when they think about starting an art collection but give serious consideration to photography. I own two lovely art photos I wouldn’t trade for the world. Think about ceramics and hand-blown glass. Art objects can add a special touch to a home that a mass produced accessory cannot. Textile art can also be a great place to start a collection.
If you are expanding your collection, I recommend not thinking of art as and investment in anything but your own enjoyment. Some art increases in value, some does not. If it doesn’t bring you joy. Don’t buy it! If you love it you will enjoy it and that’s what matters. Just like playing the market, it can be hard for even experts to predict what will increase in value and what won’t. The value lies in the enjoyment you will receive from your art over the years.