There’s something so personally rewarding about building a collection, whether it’s matchbox cars, vintage clothes or mid-century modern furniture. Perhaps collecting art is not that much different from collecting anything, as it’s all about putting time and energy into something you love. What art does offer is that it helps us see the world from another person’s perspective. It can bring hope during difficult times and help us process our own tangled emotions. Art enriches our lives and makes our homes all the more special.
It can be overwhelming knowing where to begin. Learning about art will take a lifetime so there's no rush. Enjoy the journey and you will have so many interesting experiences and meet some fascinating people.
Image: Auckland Art Fair 2019
It’s true that some works of art can become a great investment, but go with your gut reaction and buy the works that are meaningful to you. Your taste is likely to change over time, and so could your budget, but don’t let this stop you making a start. The famous Wellington Gallerist Peter McLeavey spent 30 years collecting photographs. He believed "collections are essentially maps of the self. A diary of the self. They reflect back the lives of the collectors."
The Nelson Suter Art Gallery offers sessions on how to look at a painting along with occasional tours of the stock room. Most months there are floor talks by exhibiting artists. Commercial galleries have openings where you can talk to artists themselves and gain insights into their practice. Sometimes it is possible to see someone's private collection which is always fascinating. Mark Stevenson in Picton offers regular tours of his extensive collection of Contemporary Art.
Listen to podcasts, watch documentaries and read whatever you find interesting. A couple of my favourites podcasts are ‘Talk Art’ with Russell Tovey and Robert Diament and ‘Bow Down’ about women in art history.
I love hearing about other people's collections. Dip into these stories by artists, gallery owners and collectors that have been gathered together by My Art
Paul Smith is an avid collector, although he never refers to himself as such. Here is a clip about the importance of art in his life.
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