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The best way to build your art collection

The best way to build your art collection

Buying your first art piece can be quite daunting, especially if you do not know where to start. You may ponder on questions such as;
What should I buy?
Where should I buy it from?
How do I go about it?

Building a strong art collection takes time and requires knowledge, both of which will not come to you from day one. This however, should not deter you from starting your own collection.
What you need to get started

Set a budget
An important question you would need to ask yourself is; Do I want to collect a few high-end pieces, or do I want to build a larger collection with affordable artworks? You do not even need a large budget to get started, but it is imperative that you set a budget. What does your current income permit you to comfortably set aside as a starting budget? Remember, art collecting is a want, not a need. Once you have scaled through the hurdle of making your first purchase, could you make it a habit of buying art every month? Your set monthly art budget should be one that is attainable. The best collectors set aside a monthly art spend however small, to grow and diversify their collections.

Define your end goal(s)
Are you collecting solely for aesthetic reasons or do you also/solely view your collection as investments? Neither are wrong, both are encouraged. Matter of fact, the goal is to achieve all of the above with your desire to beautify your rooms. It so happens that oftentimes than not, your collection may outgrow your available space. Before this happens, it is important to consider and plan ahead for such occurrences. As an art collector, you need to think early on beyond collection. You want to consider installation, insurance, storage, preservation, and logistics. You can consult and engage with a reputable art consultancy firm who is well recognised for this.
Do your research
Keep abreast with market trends. You want to be in the know of artists to watch out for, what arts are performing really well in the market, and at what cost. You should be curious to know who the art dealers and gallerists within your network and community are. Try to get familiar with them. These industry operators can advise you better on what is worth investing in. Your curiosity should lead you to be an active or passive audience at exhibitions, auctions, fairs, and salons. Attending these events gives you exposure to how stuff works.

I would personally encourage you to engage art consultants and advisors who can help you build an enviable collection that will stand the test of time and seasons.

Trust your palate
No one knows what you like more than you do. Granted, it is advisable to follow market trends and invest in artworks that are potential high yields. If your goal is to build out a personal collection that you like, you should certainly include pieces of art that you like. To do this, you should let your heart lead you in deciding on what to collect, more than your head. Build up an appetite for the style and mediums you are into. Art collecting can certainly be a lucrative investment. However, it is also important that you like what you are collecting / have collected.

Read also: Lights. camera. Arise fashion week in Dubai

Decide on what to buy
In future digests, we may deep dive into the different types of art out there, taking into consideration their importance, styles, mediums, appreciations, and other meaningful factors. For now, we will consider 4 major mediums new collectors often gravitate to, and throughout their journeys.

Limited Edition Prints and Photography
The beauty about a collectible artwork is that it is a one-off and unique purchase, hence why they can get expensive. With Photography and Limited edition prints, multiples of the same art are printed, and so this drives the cost down, making them generally affordable. Their lower price does not make them less valuable. On the contrary, signed artists with such mediums of art are still valuable, and will most likely fall within a modest budget. Limited edition prints and Photography are great mediums to explore when beginning your art collection.

Sculpture and designed objects
Most often than not, new collectors often overlook sculptures and designed objects because at first thought, canvas paintings are what comes to mind when considering building their collection. Sculptures do not have to be large. There are small-sized sculptures and designed objects you can begin with. Sculptures and designed objects add their own unique beauty to your rooms. They are typically highly priced in the market when you are ready to sell.

Paintings and Drawings
If original paintings and drawings are your thing, go for it. You can and should support young artists by collecting their works very early on in their careers. They are usually more affordable at this stage in their careers. You should consider their resume; Are they trained in any formal art school? Are they under any known artist’s tutelage? Have they exhibited anywhere noteworthy in a group or solo? Any known art residences under their belt?
You should also aim to collect paintings of established artists which can sometimes cost you a year’s worth of savings. But there is a hack to this; you can collect paintings of established artists by investing in their smaller pieces – such as miniatures and sketches.

Installation pieces
Installation art are three-dimensional artworks that are often used to make a strong statement. They are the most immersive forms of art when compared to paintings and sculptures. They are designed to assume a specific space; an entire room or gallery space or an outdoor area. Installation pieces are never cheap, even when the artist is still rising. But if you have the budget for it, they are great mediums to store value. In the resale market, they are often valued higher than other mediums. A collector of an installation piece should conduct a yearly maintenance exercise on it to avoid wear and tear.

Art Index Top 5
Art Index Africa’s jury presents Art Index top 5; a showdown of the top 5 well researched and curated art pieces every collector should want to purchase based on strong technique, message, style, and medium.

Here is our selection for this week:

Artist: Sejiro Avoseh • Titled: Yanga • Medium: Abandoned tricycle and paint • Size: 40” x 40” • Estimate: $11,750

Titled: Untitled • Artist: Ken Nwadiogbu • Medium: Mixed media on canvas • Size: 22 X 18” • Estimate: $1,620

Reference studies. Artist: Ben Enwonwu • Title: Untitled • Medium: Pen on envelope and note sheet • Sizes: 9.5” x 4” and 7” x 5” respectively • Circa: 1952 and 1954 • Estimate: $2,820

Artist: Dipo Doherty • Title: Corruption of Eden • Medium: Acrylics on canvas • Size: 72” x 52” • Year: 2016 • Estimate: $3,950

Artist: Akanimoh Umoh • Titled: Jude • Medium: Sanguine paper • Size: 22” x 14” • Estimate: $600

In summary, to start or diversify your art collection, you will need to
set a budget
decide if your collection is for aesthetics purposes solely and/or investments
collect what you like by building an appetite for it
stay in the know of what is happening in the industry to be informed of market trends
befriend art dealers and gallerists
seek advisory when unsure
decide on mediums to buy but be sure to know the nuances of each

I hope this digest has been helpful. These guides are applicable all through your collector journey so you might want to bookmark this page for future references. For concierge art consultations and advisory, you can reach out to [email protected], or you can leave a note in the comments section if you are reading this online. I would like to know how you feel about this week’s digest.

Until next digest,
Keep the masks on. 😷

Contributor’s Bio
Column Title: Art Index Africa
About Art Index Africa
Art Index Africa is Africa’s first art repository mirroring Africa’s real-time art exchange. Each publication navigates around the Nigerian and at broad, Africa’s contemporary art developments and equips art enthusiasts and collectors with invaluable information such as artists profile, works, provenance and authentication. It also provides expert advisory and guidance towards art acquisition and collection, preservation and management including exhibitions, curating, auctions and general dealership.

About Columnist: Keturah Ovio
I am a patron of African art and a Director at Patrons Modern & Contemporary African Art. I am also an engineer and the founder of Dukka.com, a pretty amazing Fintech startup. I am actively eating into the world of African Art. I started collecting art in my early 20s. Now, I advise and manage collections for individuals and corporations looking to start or diversify their wealth management through art collecting. I strongly believe that there is a cross between Art and Technology. It is no surprise that I started this editorial.

Interesting fact: Nigeria makes up a larger percentile of Africa’s art industry.