If you're following along, last week we recommended you watch the documentary Herb & Dorothy. This is the story of two average people, making average money, living in a small apartment in New York who amassed one of the greatest art collections in American history. If you're passionate about art, it's an inspiring story.
If you're ready to start a serious art collection, you may be wondering how to get started. Where do you look? How do you know what's "good"? Can you even afford art on your budget? As art lovers on average budgets ourselves, we've got answers:
1. How do I start?
Start by immersing yourself in art. Go to museums, attend artists talks at openings, go to gallery openings and chat with the artist about their medium and why they do what they do. Reading books is also a great way to educate yourself. We love this one:
The idea is to dive head first into learning about art without burdening yourself with trying to figure out what's good and what's not so good. By the way, we love gallery openings because there's usually free drinks and you get to talk to the artist, but swinging by a gallery during non-busy times gives you one-on-one time with the curator or manager, and you get the art all to yourself.
2. How do I set a budget?
The strategy is not so much in setting a budget it's spending it well. Say you can devote $50 a month to your art collection. Collecting small works is an excellent place to start. Right now you can buy a limited-edition Daniella Fishburn print for around $80 at Art Mecca. Daniella is an emerging artist who is showing her work more and more. As she expands in the art market, her prices will naturally go up, as will your investment.
If you find something you really love, most galleries have installment plans, even if they don't advertise it. At the Art Mecca, we have a 90 day plan that allows patrons to pay for art in three installments with no interest.
3. Follow the Artist
When you find an artist you like, get to know them. Follow them on social media or instagram, You'll be the first to know about new pieces - which means you get first dibs. For example, Art Mecca artist Robin Howard has a fun Instagram account and blogs once a week about what's inspiring her and what she's working on. You get sneak peaks of her studio, and her creative process. You'd be surprised how often new work never makes it to gallery walls. That means that the people doing their homework are the people getting the best art.
4. Buy what you love
This is the scariest part for some people, but trust your gut. Buy what you love, what you want to look at every day, and what you want to surround yourself with.
5. Keep a purchase journal
When you do buy a piece of art, record the date, price, location and artists name in your journal. If you have other information such as medium or notes from the artist on meaning, write them down.
We absolutely love talking to new collectors and helping people start their art collections. Hope to see you soon!
"He was a postal worker. She was a librarian. Together they amassed one of the most important contemporary art collections in the world."
This is the teaser for the 2008 film "Herb & Dorothy". This movie tells the story of Herb and Dorothy Vogel, a hardworking, average couple who who filled their one-bedroom New York apartment with more than 4,000 works of art over a 45-year period.
They never spent much on art, they simply bought what they liked from emerging artists you've probably never heard of, such as Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, and Christo.
It would be difficult to overemphasize how important and inspiring this movie is. This month we're going to write about how to start an art collection, even if you have a teeny-tiny budget. If that sounds exciting to you, your homework is to rent Herb & Dorothy and get pumped up.
Art Mecca of Charleston is the Lowcountry's home for emerging artists. We have one of the most eclectic galleries in the South, and many of our artists go on to show in museums and notable galleries all over the world. Come in and let us help you start your very own Herb & Dorothy-style collection.