Part of the reason I launched Partnership Editions in 2017 was to try and de-mystify the art world. To help those who love art, but have no idea where to start, by introducing them to a network of exciting, up-and-coming artists. Having worked at different art institutions where pictures sold in the millions, I felt a slight disconnect with collectors who were often buying purely for investment purposes, or to put art in their vaults, rather than to live with and appreciate it.
I hope that this guide gives you have the confidence to start collecting. Remember, there’s no right answer; art is so subjective. Ultimately you need to collect pieces that speak to you personally, rather than because someone told you it’s good.
Julianna Byrne - "Tomato plant ii" - limewash on paper
A great way to start your art collecting journey is to understand what you do and don’t like aesthetically. This sounds obvious, but we often end up liking things because we are told that they are good, or that an artist is “successful” but make up your own mind. Visit the plethora of amazing and free permanent collections at museums and suss out what you like. Some personal favourites are The National Gallery (it’s usually quite quiet), The Courtauld for brilliant Impressionist and Modern work, and the Tate Britain. I often visit the museum shop afterwards and bring home postcards of the artworks I loved - once you’ve done this a few times you’ll start seeing patterns in your taste, e.g. colourful, figurative, abstract etc.
Buying art by artists still at art school or recent grads is a great way to start your art collection. Not only is their work more affordable than artists who have gallery representation, but it’s also highly rewarding knowing that you’re enabling a young artist to develop their career. A lot of art schools have taken their degree shows online this year due to Covid, so it’s an easy way to see the talent without having to go into central London. The Saatchi Gallery is also currently running an exhibition called “London Grads Now” with artworks by grads from some of the leading art schools: Royal College of Art, Slade School of Art, Goldsmiths University of London, Chelsea College of Arts, Wimbledon College of Arts, Camberwell College of Arts and Central Saint Martins.
The art world has dramatically changed in the last 5 years or so. Instagram is an amazing way to learn about an artist’s process, to see when they are hosting events and exhibitions and to find out about new artworks. All of the artists on Partnership Editions are on Instagram. Accounts such as The Great Women Artists, Art She Says and Artsy are a great way to discover emerging artists. Once you start following a few, Instagram will start suggesting more - make the most of the algorithm!
You can easily find out about exhibitions and events via Instagram or by signing up to an artist or platform’s newsletter. Striking up a relationship with an artist makes artwork so much more meaningful, and chances are, they’ll love to meet you too. We ran an exhibition series last December called “In The Studio With” which transformed a space in Islington into satellite versions of artists’ studios, featuring Alexandria Coe, Rose Electra Harris and Isabella Cotier. Every day they were in the space creating work live, and people could drop by and speak with them and better understand their process. It was so amazing to see how much more this brought to the experience for collectors, as they felt a connection to and appreciation for the artist.
Ricard I - "Rose Electra Harris" - Acrylic, ink, gouache
Don’t feel like you have to buy art that fits into your colour scheme. Some of my favourite pieces of art at home are not immediately “pretty”, but they continue to stimulate and challenge me and don’t ever get boring. I have a limited edition screen print “The Khoisan Kween Mother” by the trailblazing South African artist Lady Skollie above my fireplace. It’s erotically charged, and confronts not only racial politics, but also what it means to be a woman in South Africa. It’s an incredibly powerful work, and is certainly a statement piece, but it never gets boring.
Hester Finch - "Burning hand on orange" - Soft pastel on paper
I think it’s important to rehang your art every few months. It refreshes things and makes you appreciate it in a different way. I love thinking about how art can have a conversation in some way with other elements of my home. Don’t be afraid to hang off-centre; an element of surprise can make the artwork much more eye-catching. If you’re on a budget and you’re wanting to create a “gallery wall” hang, then mix your original artworks with more affordable prints, exhibition posters and framed postcards. I also collect artist-made ceramics, and wall-mounted ceramic plates can also help to add interest to a wall.
Partnership Editions' Autumn Drop is now live, featuring original artworks by artists including Hester Finch, Julianna Byrne, Jonathan Schofield, Rose Electra Harris, Venetia Berry, Petra Borner and many more. Please visit www.partnershipeditions.com to view the full collection.