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What makes an art collector? For some, the term itself creates an image of a wealthy man or woman, quaffing expensive wine, staring at his or her treasures. The reality is so far from this, as art collectors aren’t bound by any of these preconceptions – and in some cases, income.

Not all art collecting is about attaining the most rare or most sought after pieces. While some collectors purchase art to invest, some buy art simply for joy. It is personal taste that will, at least initially, govern your choice of pieces. Of course, if you’re buying art simply to make money irrelevant of the image or sculpture, then you’re probably not making the most of your interest.

If you are finding yourself pulled into the world of art, and art collecting, there are different ways to get into it. Because art collecting can be an expensive interest, most of us will be unable to dive in and buy an original piece by a famous artists. It’s perfectly normal to buy a few postcards, or a book, or maybe art cards by different artists that you like.

But how do you find out about different contemporary artists?

Airplanes by Alice X. Zhang

This is the part that seems tricky, at least to start with. The best place to start is a local gallery. If you’re new to the world of contemporary art, gallery assistants and managers will be happy to discuss current and popular artists. Don’t worry about buying initially. You might see something straight away that calls out to you, or perhaps not. There’s nothing wrong with having a wander without buying first.

One of the things that’s worth bearing in mind is that you can approach art in the same way as you would books, music or films. You know the music you like, you may have a favourite author or film genre. It’s okay to not like something because it’s not to your taste.

There are different ways to buy art, and the costs can vary from format to artists. Let’s take a look at these formats in more detail.

Open edition prints

Ocean Meets Sky by Terry Fan

Probably one of the most cost effective way of enjoying an artist’s work on your wall is buying an open edition print. These prints are produced until the printing plate wears, and have no fixed edition run. They are usually available in various sizes, suitable for your surroundings and budget. These prints are usually only available for long established artists, whereas many contemporary artists only have limited edition runs of their work.

Limited and signed edition prints

Elessar by Alice X. Zhang

When becoming more interested in contemporary art, signed and limited editions are usually the place to start. These can be prints on paper, as well as same size replicas on board or canvas. Some limited edition art can also be hand-embellished to deliver the same textures that you would find on the original piece. Aside from an original painting, this is the closest to getting something that feels somehow closer to the artist’s original vision.

Original paintings

Bad Memories by Robert Farkas

As you become more confident, and perhaps build a collection, it’s normal that at some point you might want to own a piece of original art. It can feel a big step – certainly an expensive one if you are looking for an original by a notable contemporary artist. With this in mind, it’s worth discussing this with a gallery, who can advise on up-and-coming artists who have original work for sale. If the artist becomes popular and can launch a run of prints based on an original, that original can dramatically increase in value.

If you’re buying art that is outside your budget there is a solution. In order to support the art industry in the UK, there are companies that provide art loan schemes. These are interest free loans to allow you to buy particular pieces, which often extends to jewellery, furniture, sculpture or furniture, as well as paintings or prints. Ask your gallery for more information on art loan schemes and their array of contemporary art.

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Posted by Enid Hutt Gallery

The Enid Hutt Gallery is a stockist of contemporary art including limited edition Jack Vettriano prints

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