WHY COLLECT ART?
As an artist who earns a living from art collectors, it's good to give questions like this some deeper thought. It may serve you art collectors as a good topic to delve into as well. Some collectors have a very easy time making their art purchases and are quick to decide, but others have a bit more difficulty in getting to that "Yes, I'll take it!" point. Perhaps considering some of these points will help the artist and collector alike.
Here's a short list of points worth considering in regards to the question - Why Collect Art?
To Support the Arts
Art has tremendous value in society. It can communicate political, spiritual and philosophical ideas; evoke mood, thought and feeling; explore the nature of perception and provide us with a deeper understanding and self-awareness; create a sense of beauty or simply be pleasurable.
Poet Ezra Pound said, “When a patron buys from an artist, the patron then makes himself equal to the artist; she is building art into the world; she creates.” In this way, the collector not only supports the arts and artists, but is equally responsible for bringing art into the world!
To Reveal Your Own Personality
What do you want to say and communicate and express with your art collection? Delving into these questions will likely bring a certain clarity to your art purchases. Your artwork is a powerful way to express your own personality. But, it can be much more than that! In bringing awareness to your art purchases and looking at it in a expressive way - this seemingly outer exploration of art can suddenly lead to inner discovery and self-awareness. A personal and expressive art collection can be freeing and liberating and convey different sides of your personality.
To Preserve Memories
“The memory of everything is very soon overwhelmed in time.” -Marcus Aurelius
Collecting a piece of art can help you to preserve a moment in time, or capture a feeling that you want to hang on to and revisit later. Surrounding yourself with remnants of the past that hold fond memories and evoke specific feelings is a powerful aspect to collecting art.
To Adorn and Design Your Home
This one may be the most obvious, but I suspect decorating living spaces is high on the list of what motivates collectors to purchase artwork. And I fully understand this motivation! Personally, every time I have moved to a new space and am faced with bare white walls, my first intention becomes to place and hang artwork. It’s a prerequisite to moving in.
But beware, the design aspect alone is not enough to keep you connected long-term to a piece of art. Cezanne is quoted saying “A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.” You could say the same thing about the collecting of the art. If there’s no feeling/emotion involved and it’s only decoration to match the sofa, then likely you will tire of the art over time.
While thinking through some of these ideas behind - Why collect art? - I reached out to a couple fellow Maui artists and friends, painter Stephanie Sachs and sculptor Tim Garcia and asked them for their input. Stephanie quickly listed some additional points:
To Create a Conversation Piece With Guests
To Inspire Your Creative Side
To Bring You Joy, Tranquility, etc.
To Acquire Something Unique
And Tim responded with:
To Keep Issues That You Feel Strongly About Front and Center
Whether they’re political, environmental, speak of social justice - many artworks bring a strength of commitment to moving forward as a society - empowering you and those who come in contact with the work.
There’s many great reasons to collect art and these are just a small number, but for me, there’s always one that matters most and might be enough of a reason by itself:
Because You Love and Resonate With It.
Of course we can’t have everything we love and resonate with in this world. You’ve got to be selective. I imagine most art purchases are a combination of a number of these points all working together. If it's a feeling/emotional connection, it inspires you, you’ve got a perfect spot for the piece, it will preserve a memory, be a great talking piece with guests, and you can afford it! - then that may just be too much of a match to walk away from.
So, the question - Why collect art? - it seems like a no-brainer. Which is perfect! It shouldn’t be about the brain. It should be about the heart!