Part Two to My Approach to Collecting: Personal Criteria

I drew it from diligently studying my behaviour around art appreciation. I narrowed down to the below, which is my standard nowadays to lead decisions for the Collection:   

  • Think genuinely, think sincerely. The process starts within one. This may be tricky for some, but is possible. Measuring artworks by only commonly accepted standards such as money or hype is a trap. One may end disliking the work after a while because there was never a personal connection between it and one.  That results in rushing to re-sale, often at a loss. The market is a predatory animal and can smell one’s fears and insecurities.

  • Value the cultural, historical and, or nostalgic significance of the work as well. This relates to what is often described as the academic value of a piece. Street art and graffiti for example has had invaluable cultural impact since the 80s. China’s cynical realism, also referred as political pop, was coined after a wave of post 80s artists aesthetically expressed freely in ways once unthinkable in China. Today’s millenials are now collecting sneakers, bags and even old phones, because they value its aesthetics, as well as its rarity, scarcity and, or nostalgic relevance to a former time. Research is consequently important. We live through time, thus shaped by it.

  • Be attentive.  Read, talk and investigate. Correlate historical, social and market trends with personal interest. Listen well to what others have to say. Be equally attentive to perspectives and insights, as well as to reasons for disinterest or indifference. Art research is therapy for soul searching.     

  • Seek reassurance. One may come across with friends, advisors and galleries that hawkishly persuade one onto works – and often for distracting reasons such value (it’s expensive so it’s worth buying), or hype (because the artists is famous elsewhere, etc). Tame your impulses by taking time off to research works and artists. Unsure people fall for nothing – and savvy salespersons know that very well. Value what you sincerely like and acquire what you can honestly afford. That’s the best defense against persuasion.  

 Money is an irrelevant criterion in my opinion.  Works need be relatable for any to invest in it. Money is thus nominal and limited to serve as the mean of exchange between artists and collectors. To me, money is, simply, an inflection point collectors leverage on when appreciating the craft of an artists. The great the appreciation, the greater the willingness to pay for it. The worth of any work comes from its substance, not from its price tag. Money without meaning cannot build anything long-lasting.  

And finally, be honest and invest in valuable relationships.  Art is a peoples’ business, deeply en-rooted in intimate, sensitive perceptions and interests. Work with people you learn to trust and respect. Ignore those that intentionally persuade themselves through. Unworthy relationships equally add no value in the long run.