My business partner, Angeline Collings, and I have a fabulous business doing something we both love – we organize and host contemporary art tours, both in Sydney and internationally. Yes, lucky for some!
One of the most asked questions we get is about how to start, or build, on a collection – whether from those who come with us for an insider’s look at the local contemporary art scene or on trips to international art destinations.
Many are already collectors of Australian art, but looking to dip their toes into the international art world. While some are just starting out on their art collecting and want personal introductions and access to galleries here and further afield to expand their knowledge.
So, if you’re starting out on the road of art collecting, or wanting to take your collection to the next level, here are some points to keep in mind:
- Firstly, and importantly, collecting should be an enjoyable and exciting art adventure, not a daunting experience.
- Be brave, not intimidated by those temples of contemporary cool! All the galleries we deal with are only too pleased to welcome new visitors and to spend time getting to know you and your likes and dislikes.
- Research galleries in your area and in gallery-dense suburbs like Paddington, Rushcutters Bay, Woollahra, Chippendale, Zetland and Waterloo. Draw up a hit list of those that interest you and get out and about on Saturdays looking at current exhibitions.
- Ask questions, don’t be put off by what you don’t know. Gallery staff have an incredible depth of knowledge about the artists they exhibit and are always happy to share it with you.
- Ask to be put on gallery mailing lists so you can receive notices of up-coming exhibitions. Go to the exhibitions, read about the artists and ask questions!
Buy what you love within your budget. You will make mistakes, but that’s part of the collecting journey. Your tastes will change as your knowledge and experience grows.
Find out which galleries take on art school graduates and young emerging artists, and consider including those bright art stars of the future in your collection.
Here are three exciting young artists whose work we love and whose art-world reputations are rising rapidly.
Lillian O’Neill, The Commercial Gallery, Redfern
Since graduating in 2012 with a Master of Fine Art at Sydney College of the Arts, Lillian’s large-scale collages have been garnering high praise.
Her monumental collage, The Lonely Isle, has been acquired by Artbank, and is the first of Lillian’s work to be purchased by a public collection.
Coen Young, William Wright Artists Projects, East Sydney
Sydney-based artist, Coen Young, graduated with Honours in Fine Arts from the National Art School, Coen has been nominated as a finalist for the inaugural Giorgio Armani Commission and selected as an emerging artist for the Redlands Westpac Contemporary Art Prize.
In 2010, Coen was included as a finalist in The Sulman Prize at The Art Gallery of New South Wales; and in 2011, The Royal Bank of Scotland Emerging Artist Award, Sydney. http://williamwrightartists.com.au
Sophie Cape, OlsenIrwin, Woollahra
Sophie graduated in 2010 from the National Art School winning the school’s prestigious drawing prize. Sophie’s works are vast in scale and performative in their execution. In 2014 she won the coveted Portia Geach Memorial Award for her portrait of actor Dan Wylie.
And, if you need some help along the way contact us and we’ll take you on a fabulous art adventure.