Young, broke, and ambitious: How to start your art collection in your 20s

Young, broke, and ambitious: How to start your art collection in your 20s

Collecting art is a thing of rich and, well, older people. As young professionals who have just started climbing the very first step of our career ladder, art is not something that our 9-to-5 (maybe even low paying, for some) can’t afford. I mean, a fancy dinner with my friends already hurts my wallet. Then, just imagine me at an art auction: a young, broke person wearing thrifted clothes in a sea of rich people toting designer bags like bayong in the market.

Art is often associated to the rich, especially when we think of art in terms of artists like Fernando Amorsolo, Juan Luna, Ang Kiukok, Elmer Borlongan, and Ben Cab. Their works cost millions of pesos and a broke 20-something like me can’t afford any of it. Well, I don’t even have a million. But building a beautiful art collection isn’t just about age and money. Even before you earn six digits monthly, you can already start your art collection.

It’s not just about paintings

We often think of art collection with paintings in mind. Most of the time, these paintings are oil or acrylic on canvas. But art isn’t limited to the confines of painting. You can start your collection slowly with photographs, works on paper, and edition prints. According to Artsy, these works often cost lower than other works. While you’ll see these in the numerous art events we have in the Philippines, you can also find edition prints on sites like Saatchi, ArtPal, and Art Finder.

Support young artists

We are young, and it’s just logical to also start collecting works from young artists. In a sense, the art older people buy are expensive because they are works by the masters and big names in the art circuit. When you buy from a young emerging artist, it may generally be more affordable than those who have been in the scene much longer. If you have artist friends, this is also the best way to help them sustain their art.

Talk to gallerists and curators

Gallerists and curators are somewhat the gatekeepers of the art world. So when you visit an exhibit, try to talk to the curator. Aside from the fact that you’ll receive more insights about the works being exhibited, this is also a way to hone your taste and understand what’s hot in the art scene.

Think of it as an investment

Lately, I’ve been interested in investing in the stock market. I don’t fully understand how it works yet. But it’s not really to look at graphs and tables. Art, on the other hand, is also an investment like stocks. But unlike stocks, the good thing about art is it’s beautiful to look at. In a way, it enriches your space. On that note, buy the art that you like. These works will be hanging on your wall, anyway.

Set a budget

Okay, so you’re now on your way to the Art Fair and you’re ready to spend all of your savings on one single piece of art. But remember, your art collection can’t feed you. That piece of art will be up on your wall for quite a while before its worth increases. So, it’s best to set a budget that you’d willingly spend on art. Don’t spend more than what you’ve set. In this way, you’ll be more careful in selecting the work you’d purchase.

If you want to know more about starting an art collection, Ricky Francisco of Sanso Museum is holding a talk titled “Artful Living: An Introduction to Understanding and Collecting Art” on Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. Visit Art Fair Philippines’ website for more information.

Art by Renz Mart Reyes

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