To celebrate Etsy’s first ever UK art exhibition, OPEN, curator Katherine Mellor shares her expert advice on how to start your own art collection.
Katherine Mellor is a freelance curator and arts consultant. She is passionate about working with her clients to purchase, display and look after art which they love. She has run arts programmes for organisations including the Government Art Collection, Unilever and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
How to start your own art collection
It was a real joy to be involved in selecting the artists for Etsy’s first art exhibition. We had to make some really tough decisions because of the breadth and standard of work submitted to us for consideration, but I think we’ve curated a fantastic collection which showcases the wide-ranging talents of Etsy sellers. The availability of high-quality art on websites such as Etsy is such an exciting development, giving everyone the opportunity to start their own art collection.
The one thing you will always read in articles about how to start your own art collection is that you must buy work that you love, not work that you think is going to be smart financial investment. It is true that this is the most important thing of all, but allow me to offer a few other tips to guide you:
Do your research. By research, I don’t mean pouring over academic art history books. Spend time looking at art; on Etsy, in galleries and books and in restaurants, bars and your friends’ houses. Think about whether there is a connecting theme in the art you like – is it abstract? Does it tell a story? Are you drawn to particular colours or shapes?
Be confident. Art is subjective and your opinion is as valid as that of any ‘expert’. After all, you are the person who has to live with what you buy. Having said that, do make sure those who you share your house with don’t absolutely hate it…
What do you already own? Think about how to artwork you buy will fit with what you already own. And where you will put it. Art is made to be displayed, not stuck at the back of a wardrobe because it doesn’t go with the wallpaper.
Do you have a theme? This could be media, colour, or subject. A collection of small illustrations or portraits can look just as impressive as one large painting.
Find prints. If you fall in love with the work of an established or well-known (i.e. expensive) artist, consider looking at any limited edition prints they may have produced. Prints are a great way to own art by “big time” artists without bankrupting yourself.
Remember though that you should ignore all of my advice if you fall completely smack-bang in love with a piece of art. As long you can afford it and you can fit it through your front door, you should buy it. And enjoy it for many years.
To read Katherine’s regular edits of the arts to see in London, check out theartsedit.blogspot.co.uk
If you are an artist not currently selling on Etsy, why not open a shop? Get started with 20 free listings! Enter the code: ARTETSYUK at http://etsy.me/1DhK4g0 (
Want to learn more about how to buy art? Then come along to our art exhibition OPEN: An exhibition of artists on Etsy.com, where Katherine will be sharing her expert curatorial advice on starting your own art collection. Friday 17 October, 4pm-5pm. Free entry. Click here to get your ticket.