Am I A Collector?

An art lover does not always identify with being an art collector. The notion of being a  “collector” does not seem to apply to oneself  – not surprising when we explore the concept further.  A quick search of “private art collections” turns up these top three results:

  1. The Economist reporting on private art collections-turned-public galleries
  2. An art consulting firm showcasing the “most interesting private art collections”
  3. A feature of the “world’s most valuable art collections”


Upon reading this, you might take a quick scan of the pieces around your home and believe that your assortment couldn’t compare with these costly and timeless assemblages. However, your collection need not and cannot—it is the product of your distinct and unique experience.

If you are asking yourself if you are a collector, the most likely answer is “yes.” Owning more than one piece of art that you chose for yourself is all it takes to wear this prestigious mantle. Never mind the fame of the artist, the number of originals, or the net worth of your walls—if you have selected art with intention, you are a collector. 

The Essence of Art Collecting

We collect art for many reasons. We may have a connection with a certain artist and, over the years, one piece turns into two turns into ten. We may be particularly intrigued by a specific art movement and build our entire collection around this period and style. We may monitor the markets, purchasing the pieces most likely to turn a profit in the coming years or decades.

Art collecting is the purposeful acquisition of art and, when one accepts the title of “art collector,” new depths of meaning and satisfaction are discovered. We believe that your love of a piece, a style, or an artist should always be your first consideration. Other factors will fluctuate along with the trends, but the way that piece made you feel when you saw it on the website or the gallery wall—that will endure.

Start Your Collection with What You Love

Researching and browsing online are effective ways to inspire your collection, but before you dive in, take stock. What is already on your walls? Even if your current art is decor-focused, passed down, or purchased mostly for the frame, the pieces you have lived amongst so far can provide you with a point of reference for starting to acquire with intention.

Which artworks do you pause in front of every time you pass? Which pieces have you displayed where guests can admire them straight away? 

This exercise can help narrow your browsing a bit. Now, when you’re browsing (using, for instance, ArtRow’s filters for medium, movement or category, theme or style), check in with yourself on the following points:

  • Does it align with your beliefs or principles? A piece that depicts or alludes to an historic event, spiritual practice, notable figure, or ethical question you hold dear is likely to evoke a lasting connection.
  • Does it remind you of someone or something special? Whether it’s a local artist’s depiction of a stunning vista you saw on your travels or a portrait that looks startlingly like your mother, don’t undervalue the surge of remembrance you’ll get each time you look at it.
  • Does it provoke elation or inspire calm? If a piece prompts a bone-deep sense of any strong emotion, it’s likely to do so for years to come.

Our article 5 Tips for Buying Art is a great read once you’re ready to take the next steps.

Consider a limited edition print

If you are clear on your preferences, yet are still feeling overwhelmed by the vast range of styles and prices, perhaps consider prints.

Prints are an excellent, affordable option for burgeoning collectors. Purchasing a piece from a limited edition lets you start your collection from an accessible price point and, in addition to being original works of art, prints speak to the long history of printmaking and embody complex and masterful techniques and practices.

Take a look at out recent Prints exhibition to learn more.

If you feel the calling to be an art collector: buy art! It is important to think about your goals for your collection, whether you want to pass it down to your children, secure future financial freedom, or gaze at it adoringly every morning as you sip your coffee. But “art collector” is not an echelon you achieve only with a gallery of pieces made by art world superstars. The thoughtfulness and intention of your existing artwork selection reveal that you have already begun this fascinating journey.

Related Posts