Collecting art can be one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling hobbies. A beautiful work of art can provide a lifetime of visual pleasure. Buying contemporary and original works of art can enrich your life. As John Keats said,” A thing of beauty is joy for ever”.

According to Peter Miller of the Japan-based Kamakura Print Collection,” the best advice I can give the first-time investor in art is to think of it like buying a home. You have to live with it. If you enjoy living with it, then the inevitable swings of the market won’t affect your enjoyment. If the only reason you bought it is to sell it to someone else at a higher price, you’re likely to be disappointed on both counts. So look closely, sort out what you really like from what the broker or dealer says you have to like, and choose accordingly.”

If you are a first-time investor, start going to the exhibitions and visit museums. Take note of what strikes your fancy. There are many sculptors, painters, photographers and graphic artists working in various mediums. The choices are endless. Understand different forms of art by learning the finer points.

Buying original art is a good investment. Paintings and sculptures are far more expensive than photographs or prints. You can also buy limited edition art or reproduction. High quality reprints are another option. The price level for original prints is normally substantially lower than that of unique paintings because they are multiples and on paper. Prints on canvas give the look and feel of an original artwork or painting and canvas transfers last longer than posters and prints. Economical investors might want to concentrate on photographs, antiques, prints and lithographs. Works in these fields tend to cost less than paintings or sculptures.

Once you find artists you like, research them. Find out where they went to school and if they have been reviewed. As a novice to this field, it is better to spend more money and buy an established artist. Later, when you begin to understand the finer points of art, you can become more daring and find lesser known artists.

It is also a good idea to support local artists. Visit the local art gallery, local frame shop, the exhibitions in your library, and the local college gallery. Most of the colleges hold annual shows where you can see and buy the artwork of new graduates. If you do not know much about the art you are buying, be guided by your initial reaction to the piece of work itself. If you were drawn to it initially than you will probably continue to appreciate it through your years of ownership. Showcase your prized possession in your house and enjoy it with your family and friends for generations to come. This is one hobby you won’t regret taking up!

Text By Lily Sokhi

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