5 Tips for Building an Art Collection

1. Visit all the galleries.

Participate in Gallery Hops or art crawls. These events are often free. Then go again on quiet Saturday mornings. Take your time. The more you see the more familiar you will become with the local art market. 

Gallery owners understand that not every visit results in a sale. A good gallery will make you feel comfortable with just looking. 

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2. Ask questions.

It is appropriate to ask a gallery owner to tell you more about a particular artist. What to say:

"I like this artist. Tell more a little more about his/her work. What is his/her background or exhibition history?"

3. Look for indicators of professionalism or peer recognition. 

Just like you would research any significant purchase, looking for indicators of professionalism is a way to ensure that your art money is well-spent and that you are making a good investment, even if you have no intention to re-sell the work for a profit. 

Canada Council for the Arts defines a professional artist is someone who

  • has specialized training in the artistic field (not necessarily in academic institutions) 
  • is recognized as a professional by his or her peers (artists working in the same artistic tradition) 
  • is committed to devoting more time to artistic activity, if possible financially 
  • has a history of public presentation or publication

Most artists will include a c.v. on their website. Look for a steady record of public exhibitions. If an artist has received grants from ArtsNB or Canada Council, or if they have work in the NB or Canadian Art Bank, this is a good signal of peer-recognition. 

4. It's ok to start small.

It's quite alright if you cannot afford the 8 ft by 8ft monster. There are lots of good itty-bitty pieces of art on the marketplace. It is also appropriate to ask a gallery owner to see something smaller. 

Take a look at the small 4"x4" Raymond Martin pieces at Gallery 78 for instance. Or the tiny wall tiles by Suzanne Babineau. 

A few 4"x4" works at the gallery.

A few 4"x4" works at the gallery.

5. Follow artists on Instagram. 

Instagram is a good tool for discovering new artists and following your favourites. It is also useful for unobtrusively learning more about an artist's methods, inspiration and process. If you see something you like, message the artist directly. 

 

To learn more, attend our How to Build an Art Collection workshop on Wednesday, October 25th, 7-8 p.m. 

 
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