Anyone Can Be an Art Collector

Lessons learned from clients along the way

Every day we learn from those around us – teachers, friends, co-workers and family members to name just a few. I have been fortunate to learn from my clients because in the banking and finance industry, you meet different people from many walks of life. Just as each client has a unique need, he or she also has something distinct to share.


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One such instance occurred several years ago, when a client helped me realize anyone can be an art collector. I had always been interested in art but didn’t know where or how to begin. This person helped make the idea of collecting approachable, personal and accessible. For that, I will always be grateful.

Now, nearly 20 years and a growing collection later, here are some of those lessons, along with a few of my own, for those interested in starting their own collections:

START SMALL + MAKE IT PERSONAL

Slowly build your collection over time and purchase what you like. The first original piece I bought was from the Plaza Art Fair. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this beautiful painting that reminded me of where I grew up. I walked over and, as fate would have it, the artist was from my hometown in Mississippi. The scene included a bridge, which has become one of the designs I look for as I collect. It wasn’t the financial value of the piece that made it special – it was and remains the personal connection I have to it.

EXPLORE LOCAL GALLERIES

Local galleries are full of pieces for you to browse and local festivals provide a concentrated place for you to shop. Artists from all over the country will showcase work at different local galleries and festivals. There might even be an opportunity to talk with the artist and hear the creation story. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and understand their inspiration – the story always adds value and can provide a better understanding or increased interest in the piece.

SHOP WHILE YOU TRAVEL

When my sons were young, we always looked for two types of souvenirs on vacation — an ornament for our Christmas tree and a piece of art. We quickly realized there are street vendors in just about every major city, and even in smaller towns, you can usually find an art district. Explore these spots and find your next stunning piece. These items are not only great keepsakes and conversation starters, but they also add a vibrancy to our homes.

Now that they’re grown, my sons have continued this practice to build their own collections.

GO WITH YOUR GUT

Finally, if you love it, buy it — or you might be sorry later. I have never regretted buying a piece, but there are definitely some I regret not purchasing. There was a porcelain Buddha statue I saw the last time I was in France. I loved it but was worried about transporting it home. Three years later, I still wish I could go back in time and buy it.

Remember, anyone can be an art collector. It should be fun and exciting to start your personal collection. Take your time, keep your eyes open and look for that first piece. It’s waiting to be found … it may even be sitting by my Buddha.


This is the first in a series of blog posts, in which Dana shares life lessons she has learned from clients.

Categories: Human Resources