Do a little research
Start taking note of artists and pieces you like from books and online research. There is a plethora of information that exists on styles, mediums, and time periods for art. Having some general knowledge will allow you to understand when some art pieces were made or, if it’s a new artist, what time period they may be mimicking in their work. The books below were exceptionally helpful in my research of black art.
Here are a few great books:
- Art for People’s Sake: Artists and Community in Black Chicago, 1965-1975
- African-American Art
- The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume V: The Twentieth Century, Part 2: The Rise of Black Artists
See it in person
Begin visiting local museums and galleries. Ask the curators/staff to tellyou a little bit more about the artists. Familiarize yourself with the different style aesthetics such as modern, contemporary, abstract, non/representational, etc. Learn the aesthetics that fit best with your style. Some collectors enjoy only art featuring children or the triumphs of the black community, for example. Other collectors enjoy mediums such as sculpture, pottery, or digital art.
Understand your appetite for art
In order to invest, you have to understand what level of interest art plays in your life. Is it center stage for you? Do you want to fill your home like a gallery? Are you investing in a collection to support your legacy? Understanding the role art plays in your life will inform the next step, which is thinking about how much you want to spend and where. There are pieces that art collectors loan out to museums like the Smithsonian and others around the country.
Think about your budget
After you’ve seen some art pieces in person, start thinking about what your budget is and what you’d like to see on your walls. The value of art is relative to both the artists and the importance a piece plays in your life. However, note that some artists’ work is not priced for “sale.” Sometimes it’s loved such that the price reflects only what the artists would be willing to part with it for. Some prints or duplications may also be priced higher because of the limited quantity of the production. For example, an artist may only print 100 copies of a certain piece. The possibility of finding this piece after all the prints have been sold is rare and increases the value.
Buy some art!
There are a number of wonderful galleries and online websites such as Society 6, cb2, artsy, and paddle 8 that have art for sale. You can even find art for sale in coffee shops and at estate sales. Be open to exploring new and unique places to shop. But be mindful of whether the pieces are authentic. Also, remember that value is relative to how much you are willing to pay for something.