How to Start an Art Collection

A collection of prints displayed on a table.

In response to our Print Curiosities series, you might be asking yourself ‘how can I start my own art collection?’. Starting to create a collection of artworks can be a daunting and expensive idea for many. I am a recent graduate and don’t have the funds to purchase prints from some of my favourite artists, but there are ways to start creating a collection without this pressure. So….. here are some small and easy tips of how to get involved in starting your own print collection.

Tip no. 1: Swap with friends, peers and colleagues.

Being able to swap prints, books, photographs, paintings and sculpture with friends will help to grow your collection without spending money. Whilst on my MA, I swapped a project of artist books with some of my classmates, therefore starting a small artist book collection! These books not only are beautiful, but they can be a connection to this time in your life and a great way of supporting each other.

Fellow technicians swap Christmas cards in the festive period. They aren’t huge elaborate prints, but they are still beautiful, detailed and individual pieces of art that can be framed, placed on book shelves or mantelpieces.

Front cover of two blue books.

Tip no. 2: Join a print exchange, organised by an external body.

I took part in the 20:20 print exchange in 2019, organised by Hot Bed Press, with some fellow students at the RCA. The 20:20 print exchange invites artists from print studios across the country to submit original prints. I made a joint application with some of my fellow RCA students, as we had to form a print studio to submit our work. The print has to be 20 x 20cm and in an edition of 20. This was then sent off to Hot Bed Press. In return, we were each given a box of 20 prints from other participants in the print exchange. I got prints ranging from screen prints, etchings and risograph prints. Here are some of my favourites. There is a small fee with this, but you get a lot of prints in return. This is a local print exchange in the UK, but there are many around the world.

You can find out more about Hot Bed Presses Print Exchange on their website.

Tip no. 3: Look on the instagram hashtag #artistsupportpledge.

#artistsupport pledge was created during the lockdown of summer 2020 to help support artists and makers in selling work, as a lot of people in this sector have been struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea is that an artist can post an image of works on Instagram to sell for less than £200. Each time an artist reaches £1000 worth of sales, they pledge to spend £200 on another artist/makers’ work. This is a great way of finding artwork through the hashtag, discovering new artists and supporting them with your purchase. You can find amazing prints for relatively inexpensive prices… a complete steal, so check it out!

You can find out more information and browse works on their website and instagram.

Screen shot of the hashtag artist support pledge, with images in a grid of artwork for sale.

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