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Like any other type of collecting, building a collection of art is a matter of passion. It requires not only devotion and eagerness, but also a great amount of patience and wit.
Being an aspiring art collector is a gawky position, since the wishes and the abilities might not match at first and the art world, albeit exciting, might be a tad challenging to adapt to.

Firstly, we must emphasise the difference between enjoying art and collecting it. While a series of casual artistic purchases might end up as a foundation for a collection, art collecting is another thing completely. It needs a great deal of consideration and planning, where it’s important to appreciate each piece of art separately, as well as an integral part of the collection. Collecting art is often a lifelong calling. So, forget about the spur of the moment actions - a true collector will be guided by knowledge and persistence before investing in an artwork.

For all of those set on becoming an art collector, here are the essential tips on how to start and grow a collection.

1. Know Art
Learning about art does not have to be a matter of formal education. Many collectors come from various professional backgrounds, but know a lot about the artists they like. Visit art exhibitions, go to galleries, art fairs, performances and lectures. Read about art history as much as about contemporary artists. Perhaps even take a course from a respectable institution. In time, you will develop a taste for a particular kind of art and will know exactly where to look for it.

2. Mingle with the Art Crowd
Once you feel ready, begin making connections with people from the scene, from the artists to the gallerists and more. Visit openings, art auctions or artistic events in your area. Some members of the art community may seem arrogant at first, but many are genuinely lovely and interesting. Remember that you share a common interest - just like you, they are driven by their love of art. The art world is a natural environment for many colourful people and a place where you might even make friends for life. Becoming part of the art scene is a must, and can be a fascinating experience since connections can prove crucial in finding the right painting or sculpture.

3. Research is Key
Every artist and artwork you like need thorough research. Knowing the origin and the value of the piece will help avoid impulse purchases and ultimately prevent you from wasting money. The Internet is a wonderful research tool for beginners, since it abounds with information about artists and their full volumes, from the historical catalogues raisonne, to the contemporary web presentations and even Instagram!

4. Love Your Art Collection
You have to love it! From the viewing experience, over the research process, to the discovery of a new artwork - every step of the way must be a thrill. Otherwise, find another hobby. Never buy art only to flip it. Never purchase a piece you don’t enjoy. This might seem obvious, but staying true to your collection will eventually result in a stylistically coherent selection, with a personal touch. And this is what makes collections priceless.

5. Archive Everything
From the first purchase, be very careful about the documentation and papers that follow an artwork. Insist on the Certificate of Authenticity or a different proof of originality. Save everything, all the receipts and documents, even photos with the artist or the gallerist should they exist. Provenance is also a proof of authenticity when some older artworks are in question and it may ultimately impact the value. Be particularly careful about posters and editions, insist on the artist’s signature and buy from small editions only.

6. Mind the Value
For you, your art collection should feel priceless. For others - it will most definitely be something they should evaluate. Don’t let your passion blind you, do your research and set a clear, realistic budget for art. Even if you start small, do mind the potential value, because art is considered a serious asset. One day, your heirs will thank you.

7. Nurture Your Art Collection
An art collection, properly taken care of, will grow in a significant way. Follow your instincts, but stick to the collecting plan and nurture the style and type of art you curate. Well organised and meaningfully created art collections have greater cultural and financial value, since they stand as a testimony to a particular period of human history.

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