Part Three to My Approach to Collecting: A Practical Guide

This third and last installment presents my practical guide to appreciation. It’s broken in two: a checklist and a routine. The checklist assists me during a work appraisal. The routine structures a habit for continuous appreciation. Both are complementary to each other. A goal without a plan is just a wish – that’s how the old saying goes.

My Checklist:

What do I ask myself when I’m looking at a work?

Does it convey a feel? I let my gut-feel opine too. Good works capture the spirit of its creator. Invest in works that procure long lasting feelings. Emotions outlive indifference.   

Can it describe me a way? Research starts within one. I search for works that can speak on my behalf.  

Am I making a sound, well-balanced decision? I inquire not only about the work but also about all other ancillary costs that often come with it (e.g. transportation, transactional fees, etc). Transparency is a right, and never an option.  In art, so as in life, honesty is always the best policy.

And lastly, can I afford it? I start with what is right, rather than what is commonly acceptable. Great collections, even inexpensive ones, have been built on purpose, not money. I dismiss the Fear-of-Missing-Out and distrust any who negotiates solely on that premise. Experience has showed me that creativity is truly infinite.

The below describes my regular habits to appreciation:

 I talk freely about art. Artworks and the context around these make great conversational topics. Art is unquestionably subjective, hence open to different opinions and perspectives. The best thoughts often spring out of simple conversations.    

I relish studio visits. Artists, in general, are openly welcoming to people who sincerely appreciate their works. See their shows, visit their studios, research their papers and catalogues. Artists appreciate people who dedicate time to study their effort.    

I am endlessly correlating works to its surroundings. Context gives work its meaning. I considet works that relate to each other. Imagination is key to scout correlations beyond obvious linear patterns such as race or nationality, etc. I look for patterns relative to my interests. I let the works tell a story, especially if that has never been told.

I’m diligent. Provenance and adequate record keeping is one of the leading valuation factors for any artwork. I keep my books in good order. At minimum, I ask for certificates of authenticity or provenance and scan copies of invoices. I also save articles and photograph records of shows and studio visits. These prove valuable down the road.

I hope these three write-ups help you in any way. Writing them was personally insightful. I realized that satisfaction to one’s curiosity could be great source of happiness. I suggest to explore yours as well. With time, passion with purpose can become a lifeforce to anyone’s joy.