Dr. Samella Lewis said it best, “Art is not a luxury as many people think—it is a necessity. It documents history—it helps educate people and stores knowledge for generations to come”. At Graves+Mallett Art Solutions (GMAS) we assist our clients by approaching collecting art through exploration, expression and legacy building…for generations to come.

Acquiring a work of art gives the collector the experience of being familiar with a particular medium (painting, collage, monoprint, lithography, just to name a few). Secondly, a new acquisition allows the collector to create his or her own narrative around the work. Art can also inspire one to push beyond his or her own creative boundaries.

Many of our new clients (and some of our seasoned collectors) want to know how to get started while avoiding missteps. We thought we would share some of the tips we have given our clients:

1. Take the plunge! While galleries can be intimidating they are in the business to selling art. They welcome questions and usually offer worthwhile advice. When exploring works or styles you are interesting in, we encourage you to look beyond traditional art galleries. Consider visiting auction houses and take advantage of auction preview days. Also, considering visiting undergraduate and graduate student exhibitions.

2. Do your homework! There are many print and online publications to aid you in your journey. Consider the seminal work of Halima Taha, Collecting African American Art. We encourage you to use the foundation you have gained and put your studies into practice.

3. Collect what you love. You can’t go wrong if you go with your instincts. Take your time and determine what resonates with you as a collector and the level of investment you want to make. You can do that by attending gallery openings, artist studios, exhibitions or even estate sales allow you a fun entrance in the world of collecting.

4. Master works are worth their investment. Again it is important to do your homework because you want to know what you are purchasing and you don’t want to over pay. Speak with a trusted source or visit some auction houses and watch the trends. Over the years, GMAS has assisted clients by helping them to avoid some of the pitfalls of the industry while making satisfying lifetime acquisitions.

5. Emerging Artists are ones to watch! Original works by emerging artists can be more affordable than that of a Master work and also has the likelihood of increasing in value as the artist advances in their career. Collecting emerging artists is a way to diversify the scope of your collection.

6. Return on Investment (ROI) should not be your motivation. It could be very disappointing if making money is the only reason you purchased art. Investing in art is a wonderful way to diversify your wealth portfolio but great investments do not always mean a huge amount of money. The real value of collecting art is building something that reflects or expresses something about you.

7. A price is a price, is a price…right? Well, that depends. We have found that many galleries and artists are often prepared to negotiate if the offer is reasonable.