(4 min read) Written on 8 Nov 2020, Updated on 11 June 2021.
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. 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 must first have a healthy budget
From artists to gallerists to the message the work conveys to its audience, art collecting is an engaging form of interaction. Contrary to the outdated 'art is for the 1% in society' notion, artists all over the world are looking for collectors, young or seasoned, to take interest in their work. 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 artists' work can start from below $100, some artists even sell prints of their painting for a marginal price, don't be fooled Urbanites!
Myth 2. You need to be educated about art
What is art anyway 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. 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 empathy 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 3. Being an ‘art collector’ means that you have a big collection
We tend to think that an art collector must mean someone with a vast and pricey collection. So what does an art collector mean in this day and age? Does it mean you have collected 30+ works over the years? Or does it mean you’ve acquired one work and have a growing passion and interest in collecting memories and supporting an artist at the same time? It’s surely both! We tend to overlook the fact that art collectors, however big or small their collections are, are integral to the ecosystem as a whole - supporting the artists’ career both financially and emotionally no matter the price tag, the true meaning of a conscious collector.
Myth 4. Art collecting is a financial investment
Contrary to popular belief, not all art collectors care about the reputation and social advantages that come with collecting art. Collecting art for many stems from one deep-rooted connection to a work of art. The same goes for the misconception of needing to collect works only to be from established artists. Collecting art is much more than the image it brings. The conscious collector chooses artworks from a place of connection, love and passion. Arguably you can be any age and at any phase in your life to start collecting.
Myth 5. You need to see the art in person
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. 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. Simply put, the screen doesn’t limit your ability to know whether an artwork is for you or not.
Preview in a room of Andalusian series by Mays Al Moosawi
Myth 6. You must already be settled down
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! It's important to listen to the works we feel drawn to because they'll always be representative of how we felt in that moment in time. Your collection is a depiction of your own growth.