I recently read a great blog on the invaluable.com website written by Celine Rabago, Fine Arts Consultant at Pacific Galleries and Auction House. The information and sentiment was very clear and precise but I wanted to add a response from the view point of a practicing artist. I think it may be useful to present a little insight with the emphasis on producing art not simple acquiring it and the hopes and intentions from the artists perspective.
The Blog on Invaluable.com
"Let’s say I want to start collecting fine art for my home. Where do I start?
Celine Rabago: Visit galleries, museums, and auctions, and read art books for styles, artists, or art movements that you are personally attracted to. Then find places that offer that type of art, whether it’s a gallery, an auction house or live auction platform, or the artists directly. In the end, finding your own personal style and preference is what matters the most. Understand that while some art does appreciate in value, this is not true of all art. Collect what you love."
I appreciate the sentiment behind collect what you love. I believe trusting ones own value and judgment is what matters most. Many people who purchase my paintings are first time art buyers and did not go out with the intention of starting a fine art collection. As an artist my painting is primarily a way to communicate with people by way of evoking emotion. If, therefore, my painting resonates with someone, especially a person that knows nothing about me and never intended to buy a painting, the connection has an authenticity. To make something so personal, loaded with my own expression and then to have it resonate with a stranger on a deep emotional level affirms my highest purpose as an artist and gives great meaning to life. So to buy a painting which you love and speaks to you on a deep level should, in my opinion be the primary purpose for collecting art.
I once knew a Gallery owner who made a good living out of selling collectable artworks but soon became disillusioned with the art world because many of the art pieces he was dealing with did not resonate with him personally even though they were very collectable. He decided it was more meaningful and bring him more gratification to sell artworks of those artists he not only believed in as people but also loved their work even if it was likely to be a less successful financial endeavour. I believe this is an example of the difference between collectors that buy for investment wealth and those that buy for a deeper more spiritual wealth.
In my opinion, I can't help but think that a person buying art simply as an investment is no different to an artist making a painting simply to earn money. There is a place for this type of art and collecting, and I know more than a few artists who practise this, but I know nothing about it since the primary purpose of both is monetary wealth and gain. I myself see artistic expression as an extension of the creative energy of the universe and therefore participating in making art is an almost divine process. Communicating this expression with another human being is the primary purpose for making my paintings. I see visual art as a language and a mechanism to connect us conscious beings with one another and share values and emotions, therefore enhancing our abilities for compassion and love. It has been known for a long time that narrative or more accurately implied narrative in painting is a most useful tool for transferring pertinent information, much in the way metaphors and proverbs do in the written/spoken language. Therefore communication in order to help unify and emancipate humanity is the primary purpose for the exhibiting and sharing of art from my perspective and monetary gain is simply a by-product and of lower significance.
As for collecting artwork, I am afraid I have little insight to offer into the process and meaning behind it other than for the love of the individual artworks themselves. I am an artists that works in a tiny, dusty and hot handmade studio in the desert. My passion for making art is multifaceted, primarily soulful and providing food for my family is only a small part of why I create. My home has barely any walls and the only art I can afford to hang is paintings that I have made myself and have yet to sell. I would not have the first idea of what motivates a person to start an art collection other than for love of the art since I have never been in the situation to enjoy acquiring art. In saying all this I must add that I am very grateful to those philanthropists and patrons with the means who are able and willing to support those with artistic passions in order to bring new inspiring creations and visions into this world.
Richard J Oliver