The benefits of being both an artist and a collector

In 2017 I organised a group Winter Exhibition in London Bridge. Whilst curating the work an exhibiting artist came to my attention, Adam Riches, he painted moody, monochromatic portraits which gave the impression of a subject almost made of smoke, I loved one in particular (see image below) and bought it from him for a reasonable price. Ever since, I have been building an art collection which I get to enjoy everyday. Coincidentally, in growing this collection I have gained a valuable understanding in the mentality of collecting.

Untitled, Adam Riches - this painting was the one which started my collection!

Untitled, Adam Riches - this painting was the one which started my collection!

I want to share with you a few reasons why I believe all artists should be collecting too.

Talk in their language

Once you start collecting you can speak with your clients not only as an artist, but as a fellow collector of art, you can empathise with them and share your own stories of buying art. Which leads to my next point:

You will understand the need for narrative

When you own an art collection, of course it is for your own enjoyment, but when your friends come over you want to show it off. Each artwork contains the story of “where did you get it?” You talk about the artist, their background, the gallery or fair where you bought it. The better the story the more time you and your friends will engage with that artwork. Artwork in the home not only offers us an aesthetic and emotional value, but acts as a cue card for story telling with friends. Knowing that, give your collectors a good story to go along with their artwork.

Where will it hang?

Once you acquire artwork, the next step is to find a suitable place to hang it. You must consider if it will fit the other artworks in a room, if it is the correct scale, if it goes with the colour of the walls; there are many factors which will influence your choices. Once you start collecting you will understand the decisions clients make. Which means you can enquire about their intentions for buying and better suggest work which accommodates their needs. If you haven’t got an artwork that fits the bill it doesn’t have to be the end of the conversation; offer a commission! Perhaps you can create an artwork similar to one of yours that they like, but to a certain scale or colour scheme better suited for their home.

Learn from the best

Having bought from a number of artists, I know which ones have made the process easy and which have been less than helpful. Adopt and adapt the process of artists which impress you the most.

You can trade

If you are an artist you can swap your paintings with other artists that you like.. You may as well utilise your ability to trade and get good deals, stick it to the man and remove the need for cash! (This actually applies to any profession, if you can trade goods or services then why not?)

You know a good price when you see one

You work in this world and can see when someone is offering a good deal.

Untitled, by  Milenna Saraiva , a Brazilian artist and friend who painted this portrait in one hour during the private view of my first international exhibition in Brazil. I love to tell people about this piece!

Untitled, by Milenna Saraiva, a Brazilian artist and friend who painted this portrait in one hour during the private view of my first international exhibition in Brazil. I love to tell people about this piece!

It can go up in value

This speaks for itself, but it’s the last thing to think about when buying art, because it may not happen. First things first, fall in love with the art. If it increases in value then that’s a nice side effect to the enjoyment it is already bringing you.

It inspires you

Having engaging artwork around your house will inspire your creative process. Of course, you should have some of your own artworks at home for guests to see, but by surrounding yourself with artwork that was made with different techniques and philosophies, you will grow from being in its presence.

Keep it arty!

If your money comes from art, and you still have some over after your bills are paid, give some back into the world from which it came, and support the artists whose careers you believe in… you never know, they might be the next Picasso!

Right… now I’m off to go and buy a painting!

My articles are an ongoing dialogue with friends and artists, if you have thoughts on the topics leave a comment below. I love to get a conversation going and hear your ideas too.

Happy creating!

Tom