ART FOR AMATEURS How do you start an art collection? James Bolton from Jan Murphy Gallery shares a few important tips with Hannah Doody. What’s the first step for beginners who are looking to invest in art? Do your research. Look at as much art as you can, visit galleries and get to know who is making what and why they’re driven to do so. Find out what really grabs you. Establishing your budget will also really dictate how you can start your collection. As a general rule, is it better to invest in pieces by emerging, established or completely unknown artists? Generally, established artists will be out of budget for someone looking to start collecting. Finding new or emerging artists who excite or spark interest is a
‘The ups’, Lara Merrett 2016, acrylic and ink on linen, courtesy of Jan Murphy Gallery
great starting point. Look out for artists who have shown to be building a good exhibition history, and inclusion in prizes and sometimes grants and residencies. Works on paper are generally reasonably-priced and are a great starting point for a collection. Would you recommend buying for enjoyment over trying to make a smart investment? Definitely. Only ever buy what you like. How do you know when something is going to increase in value? Look for artists who have gained representation by reputable galleries, been included in exhibitions at galleries and museums
and have been included in or are winning prizes, residencies, grants and commissions. What are some common mistakes people make when buying art? Expecting a return on their investment within 10 to 12 years. It takes time or it never happens at all, which is exactly why you should only ever buy what you like. Instead of buying many small pieces, buy one significant work and a couple of smaller pieces. Any other tips for beginners? Sign up to mailing lists, read, go to galleries and meet the staff and find out about the artists they exhibit and learn as much as you can.
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