What defines an art collector?

'Art gives the viewer permission to dream with their eyes wide open.' Minaz Jantz
What does it take to get into art collecting? 
It can take some kind of exchange like currency or trade, an eye for potential investment, an obsessive desire to collect, a passion for beauty, a connection to artists, an understanding of art history and techniques, a confidence in your own choices, a blank wall or empty display cabinet, the burning need to ‘hunt’ for the next undiscovered or bargain works, and many more possible attributes’ that spark the desire to WANT/ NEED original art.

How much do you NEED to spend to become an art collector? 
I have rated FREE to $$$$$ as the most expensive and with each category, is explained where you could seek out original art for your art collecting budget!

Art can be anything you find interesting. My experience as a Merchandise Display and Window Trimmer for various types of stores has proven it’s all in the pizzazz of staging the items, as anything can be set out attractively, featuring its 'shiny' & most interesting elements. 

If you find yourself crafty or artistic, there are many fun creative ways to decorate your home with some basic supplies and some helpful directions from any ‘how to do’ art craft books, DVDs, or classes taken from art & craft teachers. Your Art & craft can come from friends and family members who show some talent or at least your proud of their accomplishments.   

Working in an Art Gallery and Frame store has shown me that even the most primitive of artworks like your children's art, can be shown to be most delightful and interesting when you frame it. You can also find bargain artworks in garage sales, eBay, Second Hand Thrift stores, back allies, your grandparent’s attic, seek and you shall find!

Check out your community events calendars, newspaper, message boards, etc. for art shows. There is local talent to discover from such places as; High schools, public libraries, artists’ groups, Art schools, artists' collectives like art co-ops, senior centres, gift shops, the shopping mall, even restaurants’ and certain businesses will display local artists’ works and will gladly pass on the information or sell the artworks displayed. 

Earth-day Event in Vancouver B.C.
I was asked to display my pet portraits 
during an Earth-day Event in Vancouver B.C. 
A fun day among live owls, eagles, snakes and lots of people enjoying the day out. 
I sold a pet painting that day!
In many neighbourhoods, there are local weekend markets and culture events that usually will bring out emerging and hobby artists who are willing to show off their arts and have them priced very affordable for any pocketbook. Some artists, including myself, have trusted art collectors to pay with instalments. Also, some artists are up for trading art for what you have to offer. I have traded paintings for furniture, labour, etc. 

Your purchase and admiration are well received by artists and your few bucks offered will most likely go towards MORE art supplies. It’s a win-win for everyone, and you generate a local economy with stores including the art supply stores, framing stores, and you now have something decorative or profound for your spirit that may have a story and a connection with the artist. 

If you happen to be friends or family of an emerging artist, you might be lucky to be gifted one or several of their artworks. My friends and family have collected my artworks proudly for years and it’s been joyful for me to share with them. Its fun to go visit them as I get to see my artworks in retrospective to the present works.

Vancouver Cherry Blossom festival  brought out the Plein Air (painting outside) artists.
Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival 
What a gorgeous day that spring with a 
display of cherry blooming trees in the Van Dusen Gardens 

As artists improve their artworks, investing more time in exploring their art-making either on their own or with more mentoring from master teachers, their prices will evidently start to go up. 

Artist and Gallery websites allow the potential collectors to read and view more in-depth about the artworks. There is such diversity available internationally and art you would never have the chance to see or buy if it wasn't for the internet.  Most art collectors budgets will find these paintings still very affordable and can find their artworks locally, and/or while on holidays.  I suggest checking out the internet further where there are art online auctions, artist blogs and open art studio events that the public can come to have fun and to discover artists you might enjoy. Can connect these days by email or even SKYPE with the artist to discuss more and to send you email close-ups of in-depth details for you.

 Here are a few places to check out for affordable and local arts:
 Black Sheep gallery, carries 'outsider folk art' made by Canadians. Very collectable and whimsical for a price most anyone seeking art for gift giving or for their own personal collections. 

Where I used to live in Vancouver BC, there is the popular East Van Culture Crawl and open studio show where the public for several days can go to the artists' studios. Be aware that it gets crowded so if you are serious about art collecting, its best to screen the artists online and connect a private showing before these studio walking tours and art shows. 

Yearly events for painters and collectors gather together on weekends at such places such as Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia, and UNESCO Lunenburg Nova Scotia (Paint Sea on Site) to watch outdoor (Plein Air) painters for two days who then put up their artworks for auction.  

NOTE: the Internet is an amazing way to research the most wonderful works of art but what you see on your monitor will not be the same as seeing the original. Still today with digital cameras, they can take pretty good photos but the artwork is still going to communicate differently once it is on your wall.  

Many galleries and some artists, will sell to reputable collectors with a return policy within a time period so they could see if the artworks out in their personal space unless of course it was commissioned specifically for the collector. Also, some community art museums and art renting organizations will have original art for rent that is very well priced and if you decided you LOVE it, those rental fees possibly will go into the purchase of that piece or towards another artwork of that artist. Here an example of an art rental & lease business...www.artrentandlease.ca

Art Galleries who SELL artists will have email newsletters with updates on their artists, art openings and will feature at times a new, up and coming, emerging artists, where prices are very affordable, motivating new and old buyers.  Galleries can also offer a payment plan. 

Here is a website dedicated to all things ART where ever you are in the world. You can see what art events are showcasing in museums, galleries etc. or just research and enjoy learning about art. Fantastic site to spend some time viewing all things art...Artsy.net

Art collectors should not only adorn their walls and displays with works they LOVE but need to understand the quality of art materials the artists use and how to care for those artworks as owning artwork has the potential as a long-term investment. Art collectors should be signing contracts from either the galleries or artists that list the materials used, size, history of painting, listing the price paid for the TAX man and the INSURANCE man, but also that there is copyright protection for the artist. I add that if for any reason there is damage to the painting, the collector can contact me and make arrangements for repair.

In New York, Herb & Dorothy Vogel,couple who have become famous among even the wealthiest names of art collectors, started their art collection with what few dollars they could spare. Dorothy supported them on her librarian’s salary, while they spent his entire income as a post-office clerk, amassing a spectacular collection of Minimalist artworks. They purchased many pieces directly from the struggling artists, who were hard up for money. Dorothy and Herb spent everyday planning on what studio to visit, usually purchasing directly from these personally picked artists. Try your public library to see if there is the DVD to watch for free.

In this price range, usually, artists have gallery representation but saying that some artists still want the connection with their art collectors and don't mind doing the business directly or have a family/friend who will do some of the business for them. 

Find yourself an art gallery that displays your style and taste of art. Make a connection with them to assist you in the most suitable artworks that you can afford. Sometimes art collectors are on waiting list for the new works of art by an artist and this can be when buying art can get very competitive. No matter what, buy what you love. 

If you’re looking for professional portraiture, you can find the artist either through local shows or again on the internet.  Some portraits require ‘live’ posing of the subjects while other portraits can be done through photograph references. 

RECOMMEND: Go to LOTS of art galleries and art museums to view art up close, developing an ‘eye’ for art collecting and viewing prices. It’s important, to take the time to educate your self in asking questions of curators, artists, art collectors and read a few books, take some courses specific for art collectors. It’s vital that you know what it is your buying; to know what the mediums, surfaces, and conservation pointers to keeping artworks in their best conditions for long-term investment of art collecting.

Subscribe to various art collectors magazines for the most updated shows also educating the potential buyers featuring various artists.

Canada Heffel's gallery and Auction

Prices for BIG names like deceased MASTER artists; Van Gogh, Matisse, Rembrandt, and so on are out of the affordable ballpark for most of us on this planet and are sold through reputable auction houses like Sotheby's, Christies  & Bonhams as well as private art dealers. 

Reading several books and watching some films about the famous art collectors from past and present, I discovered these rich collectors do not act alone but have art dealers who dedicate their lives hunting down the next most incredible masterpiece owned by other rich collectors who have possibly died and the heirs want the cash or just need to clean out their very LARGE closets. The fine art dealers will match the sellers to the buyers with of course their generous percentage calculated into the total price.
I just finished reading an enjoyable and well-written book titled ‘Duveen: A Life in Art’ by Meryle Secrest. This book goes in depth about Joseph Duveen who was an art dealer and certainly the most fascinating and flamboyant personality.  Duveen knew how to appeal to the sellers and the buyers, not only by his talent for finding good paintings, a master at bargaining and cutting the deal but was dedicated to bringing the best to collectors while going beyond being just a salesman. Duveen would assist these rich people on how to display and show off these masterpieces. He also dedicated time and money to art museums to build special rooms for art & sculpture. 

Duveen would develop an eye for spotting forgeries and potential gems covered in thick yellow varnish & dust during the era 1800’s to 1900’s. His eye and 'guess-ti-mations'  became very famous and was proven, for the most part, accurate as there were no scientific methods of authenticating art originals back then. Still today their collections of artworks that are either miss named or down and outright forgeries, that are still hanging in private and museum collections around the world. 

Duveen brought fine art, tapestries, etc. from Europe to sell to the new rich Americans who became competitive to collect the finest of objects. Some of these art masterpieces’ were from old master artists; Velazquez, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Bellini, and many more. Some of these rich art collectors are famous names in USA history; Kress, Huntington, Morgan, Widener, Bache, and Mellon.  They would all later donate their art collections to the public museums of USA as well as funding expansions of art museums to show off their collections which are some of the finest paintings and sculptures from Europe.  Today, we, the public, can go for a small fee, and view some of these most magnificent art collections. 'Duveen: A Life of Art' is filled with adventure and controversy that will shine a different light to your next visit to an art museum. 

Recommended Links to read:
I recommend reading this book also for today's collectors ‘The Art of Buying Art’ by Paige West as she has many pointers, links and research for those budding art collectors of Contemporary Art. Link to Paige West website: 

‘Duveen: A Life in Art’..by Meryle Secrest… Review on this book: www.goodreads.com

An Affordable Art Fair is featured in various cities around the world.

Sunday Times describes in an article about current collectors: 

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