How To Start Collecting Art

Step 1: Don’t overthink it.

by Bustle Editors

If you want to start collecting art but have no idea where to begin, then why not try photography? That’s the case made by Ellen Stone, CEO of Public Offerings Ltd, a London agency seeking to showcase new talent from often-unseen perspectives.

Image: "Powder Perfect" by Jordan Rossi

"Becoming an ‘art collector’ sounds lofty and unachievable but we’re overthinking it,” says Stone. “The reality is that you simply start buying pieces which you identify with and say something to you.

“Photography is the most accessible art form because it captures a time in history; a human evolution; a movement; a feeling.”

Image: "SELF SERVICE 2" by Micaela McLucas

Many celebrities collect photography, including Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Alicia Keys and Swizz Beats, and most prominently of all, Elton John, who’s collection of modernist photography was exhibited at Tate Modern in London in 2016.

Image: Emmanuel Robert Owusu-Afram

“I often go around private galleries and collections and I see all the big obvious photographs by the masters, which are great, but I’m thinking, where is your personal selection? Where is the art that cost $150,” John told the Guardian in 2016.

“That’s the great thing about photography – you can walk into a gallery and see something that’s really beautiful and inspiring and it will cost you, well, 500 quid. I do that when I travel. I seek out new work.”

Image: Lee Jameson

The relative accessibility of this price point makes collecting photography a good place to start. “Art collecting shouldn’t belong to a small club, we can all be doing it,” Stone says. “We don’t think twice about sharing Instagram posts which resonate with us, so why should we think any differently about the art we put on our walls?”

Image: "Bitch" by Serena Jara

On Public Offerings, many works start at £125, with works by celebrity photographer Rankin going for £500.

Image: "Deconstruction 03" by Tyrone Williams

“The work by these artists are incredible in their own right, but they also speak to the world we’re living in right now,” Stone continues. “2021 through a non-traditional lens exploring gender, identity, beauty ideals and domesticity, to reclaiming their sexuality.”

Keep reading for a few examples currently on sale.

Image: "Panther" by Patty Carroll

London-based photographer Wilkinson-Steel uses a "candid yet staged style" to create images inspired by memes and internet culture.
In this series, de Silva continues her preoccupation with “portraying women as they become overwhelmed with obsession to achieve so-called perfection.”
Produced for Photo London 2021, these images focus on "exploring the gestural, femininity and the relationship between food, fertility and depictions of womanhood."

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