It is a misconception that art collecting is only for the privileged and wealthy. The reason why most people think this is the case comes down to a very simple reason: they believe art is expensive. Contrary to popular belief, this need not always be the case. In this article, Benjamin Ng, founder of Barnadas Huang, provides tips on starting your very own art collection on a budget.
Art should not be thought of in a vacuum, but rather seen as an expression of our humanity and the unique product of carefully honed craftsmanship and latent creativity. And, more than that, art pieces need not be expensive. You can purchase a Damien Hirst piece for a few million dollars, but you can find equally beautiful and thought-provoking pieces from emerging artists for a fraction of the price.
Having established that art need not be expensive, we then move on to the topic of art collecting and why people tend to think of it as a hobby for the well-heeled. We are aware that, even if you spend $5,000 on a piece of art, collecting 10 pieces will inevitably mean that you would have spent $50,000 altogether. Having said that, there are other ways to build a cohesive and sustainable collection in manners that would assist you in balancing your budget with your desire to own and collect art.
If you are new to art collecting, then purchasing a piece from an emerging artist would be significantly less expensive compared to a piece by an established artist. The difference between an established and an emerging artist is that the latter is usually very young, and sometimes they start creating and producing outstanding works even when they are still in school. Some of them sell their art to pay for their school fees and others do so to start making a name for themselves even before they are approached by a gallery that wishes to represent them. In either case, pieces by emerging artists can start at a very low price and you will have the opportunity to watch as they gradually hone their talent and grow to become a master in time.
Prints are a good way to purchase the work from a master whose art pieces are so expensive that there is simply no way you can afford an original artwork. You can rest well knowing that a hand-printed lithograph with a limited edition, which has been numbered and signed by the artist, has extrinsic value of its own. For example, lithographs made by masters like Dali and Picasso now sell in the auction markets for hundreds of thousands of dollars, although you shouldn’t expect every lithograph you purchase to increase drastically in value to such an extent.
Experimentation with media is another way you can start building an art collection on a budget. To do so, you can consider purchasing items like sculptures or photographs. While the photographs you purchase need not necessarily be from top photographers, whose limited edition photographs can cost above $10,000 per piece, you can sometimes find a beautiful piece by a professional photographer starting to make his mark in the market. Photographic pieces are also good to mix your collection up with so you build diversity in media.
Sculptures are an art form that many people do not consider purchasing. However, sculptures can sometimes be cheaper than a painting and easier to care for as well. Because sculptures can come in a vast range of media – from cardboard to plastic to bronze to ceramic – you can sometimes find beautiful and complex sculptures in a non-traditional medium at a lower price than an art piece. From our experience, as art collectors grow in the process of collection building, their acquisitions become more eclectic as they slowly discover their personality and individual taste. Sculptures are a good and, sometimes, less expensive way to vary your collection.
The purpose of this article is to let you know that building an art collection can give you the world without costing you the earth. An art collection gives a type of insight into the thoughts and personality of each collector, and many collectors are proud of the pieces they own: they remember the memories, history and process behind each acquisition, and are able to tell you the stories underpinning, and connections they feel with each piece.
What we don’t believe is that art collecting is only for ultra-high net worth individuals with tens of millions of dollars in income. It isn’t, and it certainly should not be. Art, like a reflecting glass, is an expression of our soul and humanity. And, for that reason, art collecting is a process that can and should be democratised so everyone can enjoy it.