Published August 1, 2022

How to Begin Collecting Art Like A Pro

By The Testudo Team

Our top tips to help you begin collecting art like a pro

The best way to begin collecting art is to understand your preferences. To do so, you should gain exposure to as many mediums and artists as possible. A fantastic way to start is to visit a contemporary art museum. Museum curators work incredibly hard to offer a survey of the contemporary artists working today. They also provide context to significant trends moving through the art world - whether that’s mediums or important themes. While emerging collectors are unlikely to acquire works by the artists they see exhibited when they begin this experience, this education can assist you in determining what you like and even what you’d like to collect.

At the core, a collection is a grouping of works or objects that share something in common. Many collectors begin by deciding the method of building their collection. Some collectors have a deep connection with one specific artist and strive to collect as many pieces of their art as possible. Others collect works in a specific medium. For example, some collectors try to acquire a multitude of ceramics from contemporary sculpture. Another way to start a collection is to look at the themes artists are working in. Many find meaning assembling collections that feature art that reflects on the queer experience or the theme of heartbreak. The final type of collector is more spontaneous - they will collect what they enjoy. For them, the opportunity is establishing relationships between the works across different artists, mediums, and time periods. All this is to say that there is no wrong way to collect - but learning how to begin collecting art like a pro means establishing your own voice for your particular collection.

With an understanding of guiding principles for your collection, you must consider your budget. Art is available at every range of price point, from small paintings for less than $1000 to historically significant art that sells at auction for hundreds of millions of dollars. Deciding what you want to spend ahead of time will allow you to remain disciplined and not spend beyond your means. This is where you have to be careful - many art dealers are reluctant to share the price right away and may use that lack of transparency to their advantage. At Testudo, we show pricing to everyone - this means you can always understand what price you’ll pay when you consider a work. Pro art collectors understand that their collections are alternative assets - their collections have financial value as well as emotional. Knowing your budget helps you stay in control of your collection.

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Now that you are starting your art collection, you need to understand your responsibility to the artist as a collector to truly be a pro. Pro collectors act as ambassadors for the artists in their collection. You definitely want to be able to talk about the artists whose work you have in your home. Know the names of all the artists you collect. Learn what themes and ideas they explore in their art. If you use social media, share their work with your network. Pro collectors act as advocates for artists. At Testudo, we make this easy. When you purchase art by artists on Testudo, you can see their artist page which provides rich information about their career. Plus, we’ll keep you up to date in our emails with news about our artists.

Pro art collectors also differentiate themselves by taking responsibility for safeguarding their art. A pro is a steward of the art in their collection and understands that this art should have a life much longer than that of its current owner. Art can transcend time and should be preserved for future generations. To be a good steward, you need to keep your art safe. Ensure you are following best practices on preserving the art’s condition according to the medium and artist. For example, if you’re collecting oil paintings, avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight as this may cause the work to fade over time. Always use white cotton gloves when handling your work. Keep good records of when the work was created, when it was purchased, and the price. If you purchase art on Testudo, we have you covered. Art on Testudo always includes a digital certificate of authenticity and access to your collector dashboard where you can see the year created, the purchase date, and the purchase price. You may want to consider getting insurance on your art for further peace of mind.

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Pro art collectors also acknowledge that their collection will evolve over time. You may purchase a piece of art and years later realize that it no longer fits within your collection strategy. Finding a new loving home is acceptable provided you trust that the next collector will share your level of care. Purchasing work on Testudo allows you this opportunity. All art that originates on Testudo comes directly from the studios of our curated artists, but once you own a work from Testudo you can resell it to other collectors. We’ll bring the work back to our facility to verify the authenticity and condition and then ship it to its next home.

Anyone can purchase art, but to truly know how to begin collecting art like a pro takes strategy and a bit of homework. This level of collecting is so much more rewarding. As we’ve outlined, many of the tools and features of Testudo are created to allow you to easily begin collecting art like a pro. If you have any questions, just reach out to us. We are happy to help!

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