10 Tips for Emerging Art Collectors

As if the world needed more unpredictability, the pandemic keeps on delivering precisely that. For example, before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020 who could have guessed that it would lead to more people investing in art? And it’s not just wealthy folks looking to diversify their investments–it was millennials in 2021 who spent the most on art (up 10% and spending more than four times than boomers). 

So, if you’re among the art investing newbies, you should have an art-collecting plan. In this blog we’ll give you ten tips for art investing so you have a collection that wows your friends and family and gives you more financial security–in this unpredictable world.

#1 Immerse yourself in art

What happens when the world experiences a pandemic on top of significant social-political changes? Very new art trends begin to emerge. Virtual art, for example, has seen a big boost during the pandemic and there are no signs of it slowing–when people can appreciate great art from the comfort of their homes, this only makes sense.

Other trends to dive into include crypto art (includng NFTs), The Memphis Revival, contemporary African art, and street art (among others).

10 Tips for Emerging Art Collectors, Dot Red
Artist: Wronko Woods

#2 Refine your art tastes

It might seem smart to simply buy trendy artwork and pieces that are in high demand. But, if that’s your main guiding principle you could end up with a confused collection or one that looks boring, similar to many others. And keep in mind that your collection will likely “live with you” so you’ll want to surround yourself with what pleases you–until you decide to part with it.

#3 Consult an art advisor

The truth is that the art world is vast and always changing so it’s hard to keep up with it. That’s why it might be a wise idea to consult an art expert whose job is to keep up with it all. Not only do art advisors bring knowledge of the art world, they also deliver connections so you can build relationships with artists, other buyers, art studios, galleries and more.

10 Tips for Emerging Art Collectors, Dot Red
Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images.

#4 Decide how much to invest

Whether you’re investing in art to diversify your portfolio or because you’re a serious art lover, there’s a very good chance you’re going to have a budget of some sort and that may dictate a lot of your art collecting choices. Is your budget very tight? Time has an excellent article that covers their tips for creating an art collection on a budget, including the following:

  • Get to know the non-profit art centers and small galleries in your town
  • Become friends with artists and gallery owners
  • Ask for payment plans
  • Think outside the box of paintings
  • Only pick what makes you pause
10 Tips for Emerging Art Collectors, Dot Red
Installation view of Kenturah Davis, “Blur in the Interest of Precision,” at Matthew Brown Gallery, 2019. Courtesy of Matthew Brown Los Angeles. Taken from Artsy

#5 Do your research

Hey, it’s fun and interesting to look at art especially if you’re discovering new artists and various types of art, but you’ll need to set aside time to do your research. And while researching online is a must, it’s also important to build relationships within the art world—gallery owners, artists, curators and more—get to know them to get the inside scoop!

#6 Ask for a discount

Keep in mind that galleries want to sell their art just as much if not more than you want to buy it. It is, after all, how they make money. So, you as a first time buyer/a new art collector are important business for them. They want you to keep coming back!

So, when you’re buying a painting for the first time ask for a discount. There’s a decent chance you’re going to get it especially when you tell them that you plan on coming back and investing quite a bit of money in their artwork. They may even agree to give you an ongoing discount of some sort.

#7 Don’t overlook documentation

It can be very easy to get excited about an art piece or a new artist and forget about something very basic: papers that demonstrate authenticity and provenance. Not only will you need them if you decide to sell, but for insurance purposes you’ll need them, too.

#8 Learn how to spot the quality work

Part of what makes art so fascinating is its room for interpretation—a painting that be amazing to one person can do nothing for someone else. But, there is a level of quality in great work that you can learn to pick out. Artist Sara Paxton (in her blog) lists the following to help determine the beauty of an art piece:

  • The use of color: The colors should complement each other to enhance art and make it more beautiful and inviting
  • Repeating patterns and symmetry: Art that features repeating patterns, shapes, and symmetry appears more interesting and unique
  • Use of textures: The use of textures and different kinds of paints enhance the features of the artwork, giving it more edge and character
  • Correct use of proportions and placement: A painting needs to be proportional or it will look too cluttered
  • Crops and composition: Cropping out the excess and using good composition highlights the artwork and captures the viewer’s attention
  • Framing: An artist should take special care in placement and framing as it plays an important part in capturing the viewer’s attention as well


Beauty isn’t the only thing that makes art great and Sara covers more in her blog.

#9 Don’t buy too hastily

It can be easy to fall in love with a piece of art very quickly and then discover a month later that maybe you were just in a particular mood—we’ve all had buyer’s remorse here and there, but you don’t want to do regret purchases often when you’re collecting art. So, take the time to view art pieces in person (buying online might be OK in some situations but generally speaking it’s best to see it in person). Research the artist–what’s their background? Are they well known or just getting started? And then think about the price—is it too high? Comparing the price tag to other similar pieces should help you get there.

#10 Know the difference between prints and original works

Just because a piece of art is a print (meaning it’s been mass produced) doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not worth a lot of money or could be, but generally original artwork is usually much more expensive and valuable. So, learn to tell the difference and buy original artwork from an artist that you love and feel like has a very bright future. 


So, you’re starting an exciting journey of becoming an art collector! We think it’s more fun than investing in bonds, for example (although that can be fun, too). But, as with anything, having a solid plan before you get started in a big, new endeavor is just smart. And we hope Dot.Red’s 10 Tips for Emerging Art Collectors will help you collect art like you’ve been doing it your whole life.

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