For our second episode of the Stay Home Art Club, we discussed the artwork in our personal collections and the how’s and why’s of how we built our collections.
How did we start collecting?
Both of our collections began by attending art programming. For Delia, it was by attending a conversation and dinner with Jesse Amado at Blue Star Contemporary. The event (with a suggested donation to attend but at very accessible pricing) started with a talk in the gallery. The talk was followed by bites and drinks at Liberty Bar. Adorning the tables were many small paintings with succulents on every other one. Both the paintings and plants were available for attendants to take home. This very low-cost event was a way for Delia to collect a small piece by an established artist.
I purchased my very first piece, a photograph by Kallie Cheeves, at a fundraising event for the Art Department at the University of Texas at San Antonio. There were many works by notable artists available for sale through a silent auction. I went to school with Kallie, and it was the perfect opportunity to support a fellow friend while purchasing a piece I really enjoyed.
Attending fundraising events like Blue Star Contemporary’s Red Dot is a great way to discover new artists, start or grow your collection, and support local art organizations. Many art organizations, especially non-profits, hold one fundraising event or another. A lot of these events are ticketed, and for some of us, even a $100 or $150 ticket is out of budget. A great way to attend these events is to volunteer. You can go to the event for free while providing needed support to a local art org!
Gallery exhibitions are another great way to discover new art. I like to take photos of the artwork and wall labels that I enjoy so that I can look them up later. Each gallery usually specializes in a specific aesthetic or type of artist/artwork. Discover the galleries that often showcase artwork you enjoy.
Instagram is a great way to discover new artists and their work. As amazing as websites are, not all artists can afford to create one, especially emerging artists. Follow art organizations, artists, art magazines, or hashtags, and you can find a TON of artists. I’ve made purchases from the artwork that I’ve seen on Instagram (looking at you, Mark Anthony Martinez), and I’ll continue to utilize it to discover artists and buy art.
Most of us can’t afford to dish out a few hundred for a work of art, no matter how much we love it. However, don’t be afraid to ask if a payment plan is possible. You would be surprised how many artists and galleries are open to setting up a payment plan. Keep in mind to keep your chill if an artist does not offer a payment plan. There may be financial reasons behind this, and that is totally okay. Not offering a discount is also beyond okay. For a lot of artists, the difference of a 20% or even 10% discount can be enormous, financially. My rule of thumb: don’t ask for a discount, let the artist offer it if they want/can. We are all trying to make a living here, especially artists.
Go Forth and Buy (Local) Art
Collecting art is a tricky and often intimidating step to take. Don’t be afraid to reach out to artist friends or folks you know have a lil’ art collection. Chances are, if they are like me, they would love to talk your ear off about the artist they love and provide any advice. Check out the slideshow below to see a little bit of the artwork in the personal collection of the Unfiltered Co-Founders. Artists are linked below!