Art can be very intimidating. From understanding it and buying it, it feels like a bourgeois world of stuck up people who all rock specs and berets and only listen to jazz. As a young(depends who’s asking) art lover and collector, I find this barrier quite sad. Art is beautiful, even if you choose not to collect. However if you are looking for a great investment, the art economy won’t let you down. Here are some easy tips on getting started. I’m no expert, but when I started two years ago, I went about it this way and I’m extremely pleased with the young Motsoane Collection.

• Immerse yourself and make it about what speaks to you. I spend a lot of time in galleries and I just stare at the work. Either something happens or it doesn’t. If it evokes something, I then usually ask the curator in the gallery about the work and artist. Often I then do my own research about the artist because I can assure you that a lot of curators have never even met the artist. I connect in my own way and if I find them on social media, I reach out. I have become friends with so many artists from simply taking an interest in them. Often when you have the relationship, you can negotiate cheaper prices, have access to artist studios to view their work in progress as well as possible commissions for yourself.

 

 

 

• Curators can definitely assist in understanding different periods in art. Educating yourself in this regard will also help you in the development of your style. Books, magazines, festivals and the internet are all there to help increase your knowledge.

• Determine what you’re buying: Are you buying something that you love and you want purely because you think it’s great? Or are you buying something that you love but you secretly want to be an investment? There are different types of purchases in the art world.

• If you’re buying it because you love it, it’s much easier. All you have to do is figure out if you can afford it, and if the price is something that you think is worth the passion you have for it. If you’re buying with an eye toward investment and you want it to actually have long-term value in the future, it’s a little bit more tricky. It’s very important for a first-time collector to know that there are various factors that affect the price of the work, for example, a work on canvas is generally more valuable than a work on paper by the same artist; or if it’s an edition versus a one-of-a-kind piece.

• Set a budget. In your mind you really need to set a budget in terms of what you can afford, and I would say you have to be prepared to spend a little bit more. The things that I regret in purchasing are not any works that I purchased, at least so far, but the works that I didn’t purchase. They were things just a little outside my price range but, man, I loved it and I didn’t buy it. And then I lost the opportunity. If you really love it, trust your instincts. Be sure to also budget for framing. Often artists have these contacts and they can become yours… always negotiate.

• Understand that size does matter. You want to be sure that this work fits in your apartment or home. I have made this mistake and have so many pieces that I can’t even hang… fortunately I now have plans for them.

• Track your purchase. There should be a clear, traceable path from artist to owner, and it should be documented: save emails, invoices, and receipts. If you eventually want to valuate or sell a work, it’s important to have this documentation.

Galleries in JHB that I frequent;

Melrose Gallery
Circa
Everard Read
Gallery Fanon
Thomarts Gallery
Candice Berman Contemporary
Constitution Hill
August House