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How to Start an Art Collection


How to Start an Art Collection
Source :

If the art world feels like a cold, intimidating place—well, it kinda is. But it’s also a wonderful world to explore, from the thrill of the hunt to the rush of discovery. At The Artling, we are here to tell you that it’s not out of reach, no matter how small your budget. This could be your wall one day:

Whether you’re looking to buy your first major work (we’ll coach you in next steps) or just admiring an artist’s work on Tumblr or Instagram, all it takes is curiosity and participation. The best advice is “buy slowly, use wisely.”


1. Tips On Getting Started

Take your time and do your homework. There are bargains out there, but it requires abit of time looking online and offline.

Don’t just accept a dealer’s price. Check online or ask others who are more experienced, see what similar works are going for.

Don’t buy something if you are planning to flip it. Buy what you like—and buy to keep. Think of your collection as your estate.

Don’t buy a poster even if it’s a Warhol. If you do buy from an edition of prints, buy from a small edition (the smaller the better) and make sure its authenticated and signed.

Don’t be too hip. It’s hard to be on the upside of the curve unless you’re an insider. If you are completely new, better to buy something that’s a bit more conservative; collectables, the tried and tested favourites.

2. Where To Find Inspiration

Go to art fairs

Fairs are packed with as much art as museums, so the layman can become an insider very quickly. You get to see a lot of work from a lot of different galleries all at once, and the dealers are eager to make sales. Dealers like an educated consumer, but if you’re open to learning about the work, they’re interested in expanding their clientele.

Just look for someone who is wearing an exhibitor’s badge and don’t be afraid to ask questions. How is something made? How old is the artist? How well known is the artist? Is the work difficult to maintain? You can ask the price right away, and it’s not uncommon for a client to ask for a friendly discount. Once you’ve found some galleries that feel like kindred spirits, you can follow up and visit them at their actual locations.


Art Stage 2014, Singapore. Source:

3. Browse art books

Think of an art book collection as your fantasy art collection; it’s also a nice way to live with a body of work. There are three categories to know: the Monograph, which is a history of an artist’s professional work. Then there are catalogues for museums (pretty mainstream) and gallery shows (a little more rarefied). Lastly, there are Artists’ Books, which are those small passion projects—like a show in book form. The spirit connection between collecting art and collecting art books is to get a signed art book. Then you have the artist’s hand in the work. Isn’t that what everyone’s looking for? You can even frame a book like a piece of art.

“This is Dali” by Catherine Ingram. Source:


4. New Artists To Watch

Ashley Yeo, Singapore.
I make drawings, sculptures and installations. My works have been motivated by reflections on existence in a complex and modern world.”

“Brutalism of the Universe Series (Waterfall)”, Ashley Yeo. Source:

 Izziyana Suhaimi, Singapore.
“Izziyana’s work explores the evidence of the hand and of time. Working primarily with embroidery, she is attracted to the medium’s simplicity and its roots in history – both personally and globally.”

“The Looms in our Bones 7”, Izziyana Suhaimi. Source:

5.Tips On Framing Your Art

Source a framer you can trust. Prices and quality vary wildly, and a frame protects your art. For local references, you can approach or  

Always get archival, museum-quality frames with UV-blocking Plexiglas. Cheap mats or tape cause damage; glass can shatter and slice up your art.

Don’t frame it all. A canvas doesn’t need a frame, and it shouldn’t have Plexi.

Ask to see various options—modern, contemporary, period etc.  You can go for a simple metal frame with UV Plexi or go full out for twelve-karat white-gold leaf. Depends on your budget really!

Hope this help! And happy collecting! Get in touch with us if you ever need help with your art selection. 

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