How to go from Buying, to Collecting Art | Contemporary Custodianship

“I'm just a temporary custodian of these works.”

Michael Audain

Transitioning from someone who buys art, to someone who collects art lies with an attitude. For collectors, the pictures that adorn their homes are not mere wall-fillers, they have their own lives, histories and meanings. For these artworks, their owners are custodians of not only art, but of culture and knowledge. 

Charles BLACKMAN - 'The Drama'

Why do you care about art? 

To become a collector, ask yourself - why do I care about art? For some, becoming a custodian means valuing culture, learning and new perspectives. Put simply, it’s an investment in the past, present and future of Australian culture. 

 

“Collecting… may become one of the most humanistic occupations, seeking to illustrate by the assembling of significant reliques, the march of the human spirit in its quest for beauty…”

Arthur Davison Ficke

For others, collecting is a way to exercise creativity. The search for art can take you and your mind to uncharted lands. You may discover new interests or ideas, while also learning how to curate art for your life. Finally - and perhaps most importantly - collecting art is about adding meaning to the everyday. 

 

Reg MOMBASSA - 'Bitchman in the Desert'


How to become a collector 

Rid yourself of the misconceptions surrounding the fabled ‘art collector’. You don’t need to be ultra-wealthy, endowed with an art history degree or enthralled in a specific art movement, rather collecting means being thoughtful in your care for art. Whether finding, buying, displaying or parting with a work, think of yourself as its conscientious custodian. 

 

“Earning money is one dimension of life;  family, emotions and having friends is another; collecting is yet another. This dimension involves excitement, feelings, decisions, investment – not just one of these but all of them together – an adventure for life.” 

Jean-Pierre Lehmann

 

What to collect 

It is a myth that collectors have to focus on one artist, era or theme. Instead, a collection can be as deliciously specific as contemporary pop-art or as wide as old and new art (hello MONA). We do advise however, to invest in art that inspires. That way, living, learning and parting with it will be a far more enriching experience. 

 

Arthur BOYD - 'The Lovers'

 

Read more from our Confident Collector series here