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08 Nov 2020

5 Myths about Art Collecting

Nikki Meftah

What do you think of when you hear the term ‘Art Collector’?

If you automatically feel intimidated it’s probably because you associate the term with big-shot names such as Peggy Guggenheim, Paul Getty, and Charles Saatchi or other renowned collectors. Knowing that these collectors and their expansive collections are the foundation for the museums we currently know and love sets the bar high. But are those really the standards needed to be met to be coined the term ‘Art Collector’? Is a collection only valuable if it consists of top-tier artists worth millions? These questions are a part of many myths on art collecting that we will debunk for you.

Myth 1: You have to have a basic knowledge of art

What is art anyways if not a mere display of beauty and chaos? Art is emotive, it is designed and created as a form of expression, an outlet from which one expresses themselves. You would be surprised at how many famous artists did not receive any formal art training yet went down in history for their masterpieces. From Van Gogh to Yoko Ono to Frida Kahlo, these artists are amongst our cherished examples of 'self taught' artists. Being a collector is no different. You didn’t need to have studied art or have any basic knowledge to feel joy or excitement or sadness towards an artwork. We often hear first time buyers say 'but I don't know anything about art', the beauty is: you don't have to!

Myth 2: Art collecting is only for the old and wealthy

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be in your 50’s with an established job before you start collecting. Same goes for not needing the works you collect only to be from established artists. Collecting art is much more than the image it brings. It is about developing a connection with the work and resonating with the story or emotions behind it. There is something special about the young collecting from the young. Emerging artists are the ones that have the potential to become the established ones in the future — that is why it’s important to support them and boost their confidence early on in their career. Arguably you can be any age and at any phase in your life to start collecting.

Myth 3: You need to see the art in person to know what you really want it

Art collecting in today’s digital age has evolved drastically from the past mainly because of one word — accessibility. As we found out from our previous article on how COVID ignited the online art market, we are becoming much more comfortable with purchasing online — and art isn’t an exception. Instagram and other social platforms allow us to be more connected to a vast majority of online galleries and artists, exposing us to many that are emerging and whose pieces are affordable, what we aim to deliver at Emergeast. Of course the power of viewing a work in person can never be fully replaced, but new technologies such as AI and virtual viewing rooms are heading to new lengths to provide us with similar-like experiences. As quick as a simple DM or online inquiry can get you all the information you need to know the artist better and even build a valuable relationship with them, which is much more difficult to do in person. Simply put, the screen doesn’t limit your ability to know whether an artwork is for you or not.


Myth 4: You need to settle in your own home before collecting

Many times we think that there is no worth in starting an art collection if you don’t have your own place yet. Especially with many of us Millenials having to move back home during COVID. But that should not stop you from collecting a piece you love. That piece and artist might be at their prime at that specific moment you came across it and won’t stay there forever. If a connection feels right between you and a work, we advise you to be willing to take that risk. When the time comes and you move to your own place that piece will always be the first one you fell in love with and reminds you of that phase of your life that you bought in — your collection is in a way a depiction of your own growth.

Myth 5: You must have a healthy budget to start collecting

We've established art collecting is inclusive. From artists to gallerists to the message the work conveys to its audience, art collecting is an engaging form of interaction, and everyone wins. Contrary to the outdated 'art is for the 1% in society' notion, artists all over the world are looking for collectors, young or seasoned, to take interest in their work by engaging and possibly acquiring their work to further their artistic production and in turn advancements. It might be true, Picasso's and Rothko's are certainly reserved for that 1%, but they too started by selling their works for peanuts and trading a painting for a night's stay in a hotel. Emerging artist's work can start from below $100, some artists even sell prints of their painting for a marginal price, don't be fooled Urbanites!

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