My collection began when something caught my eye and my personal aesthetic began to grow. Today, I'm summarizing one of the things I've learned in my experience, as a gallerist and collector, collecting artwork depends on collecting information. A few years ago, I began to promote the artworks of my friends and the people I admired, essentially, the work of people I collected. I began, unknowingly, a process that forms the basis of my advice to all emerging artists and collectors.
First, there's nothing like information - lots of it. I'm a busy girl, my time is valuable, and I can't surf the internet or wander the streets of wherever (I'd rather see the sights!) looking for information, so I sign up for every email announcement I find related to an artist's work, and I love websites that make this easy for me to do. Acquiring information helps me research the value of the work I'm considering, as it should be directly related to the artist's professional development and show growth.
Second, I give information. If the artist is online, I write to him/her and let him/her know about my interest in the work. Most artists love this and reply favorably. Occasionally, they're overwhelmed by passionate love letters from people like me, and I hear nothing. No problem, I search for galleries online and write to them - they usually reply very quickly - and I let them know who I like and ask to be advised of the artist's work and professional development. I want to know if the artist is showing his work and where.
The last part of this little trilogy is the purchase. There is nothing that makes you a real collector like an actual purchase and your name on the artist's list of collectors. Eventually, I'll find something I can't live without and make the plunge. Sometimes, it's painless, often it's huge and there are considerations. Such as price, and whether I can negotiate favorable terms (a discount) ... to which the answer often depends on my relationship with the artist.
In summary, building a good relationship is essential to collecting. To do this in the 21st century, (1) sign up for artist emails, it's a great timesaver; (2) let the artists know you're a fan, it might help when (3) you finally make that purchase. Yes, I'm an art collector too, you know that, that's why you read my blog, right?