I'm in California, working from home right now, it's 2 minutes before 8 am, and my neighbor, Vern (working to stay afloat in this economy), is coming over at 8 on the dot (he's very punctual) to finish up a job in my home he began yesterday...groannnn...so I'd better type fast and get dressed.
Vern and I talked yesterday about collecting art - how it's a cultural thing, good for the soul and good for the community. He saw art collecting as a pursuit of the wealthy, a luxury, akin to foie gras, champagne and driving a murcielago ... well, if you're reading this (and the countless other blogs in blog land about art collecting), you know that's not true. So what's it all about? It's like good food - an excellent burger, a root beer float, fabulous fresh popcorn, or exquisite dining - and music - it's about experiencing pleasure in life.
What's so cool about seeing something that doesn't make sense? Well, if you like jazz, rock and roll, or classical music, you took time, once, to figure it out and decide whether you like it, so give the fine art a minute or two, or more. It's like deciding how you want to look today, at work or when you go out. What looks good? With art, it's exactly the same thing - it's essentially about what pleases you to look at (and all the subsequent thoughts and emotions that come with that), what looks good wherever it is (or where you plan to put it), and for most people, what you can afford.
As I wrote earlier (and if I didn't I'll write it now), the best way for an art collector to begin is to visit museums and galleries, and to take time to figure out the kind of art you like. Take your time, and make a commitment, a purchase - a small purchase - and see how you feel about what you bought. Hate it? Get over it and figure out why you hate it, and don't run. We all make mistakes, hopefully they're not costly and we recover. Try this over time, there's a lot of art out there that you can test the waters with - books, postcards, posters, even clothing (and that's also what copyrights, editions and licenses are about - let's save it for another time) - and have fun with, after all if it's about pleasure, make sure it is fun!
So it's the holidays, 2008 and all its misery is ending and there is new hope with 2009. Go out and have fun, open your eyes to everything around you and enjoy, look at everything like it's new and indulge yourself! ...and congratulations, you're on your way to becoming an art collector.
Happy holidays and best wishes for 2009!