I don’t believe that many collectors start buying prints with the long-term notion of one day owning a print collection. I think they fall into it. And when I say they, I actually mean we (and perhaps more honestly, I mean me).
The most important thing about collecting is that you must love what you collect. With prints - and art in general - the more art you see, the more informed you'll be. The more informed you are, the more you'll know what you naturally gravitate towards. This will in turn help you understand what you love and more importantly, what you want to live with.
So, my first suggestion is to go see art. Lots of it. Go to museum shows, private galleries, graduate shows and art fairs. Art fairs like the London Original Print Fair at the Royal Academy have works spanning centuries and price ranges. Sometimes galleries and museums release prints to accompany a show, and it’s always good to sign up to newsletters from galleries, websites and museums you love as you’ll be one of the first people to know about these releases.
Now let’s talk about money. You don’t need thousands or even hundreds to start an art collection. Prints offer a somewhat more affordable and egalitarian approach to art collecting, and will allow you to own a signed work by an artist.
The internet is a great way to source the prints that you’re looking for and to learn more about the artists that you follow. You will start visiting galleries to see the art you enjoy and one artist will lead to another in the galleries roster.
In short, collecting prints is important as it is not. By that I mean they can provide a lifetime of enjoyment and pleasure, perhaps give an insight into different points of view and an understanding that other mediums may not.
An art collection is something that is built over time and as such, will grow and develop. It will even go off into different directions that you might have never considered.
Collecting for yourself is the most important thing. It has to be honest and truthful, and with that ethos you can never go wrong.
- Dario Illari
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Cover image via Carolynne Coulson