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How To Build An Art Collection That You Love

Gallerist Tim Melville and art collector Sandra Preston share their secrets for creating an art collection you'll love forever

Gallerist Tim Melville and Wellington art collector Sandra Preston hope to “remove the glass wall” that prevents normal people enjoying the elitist art world with their talk Find Your Eyes as part of the Auckland Art Fair. Tim says “find your eyes” is a fitting quote from American photographer Alec Soth that can be applied to both individual collectors and gallerists, and is a great starting point for sharing strategies to build an art collection that you love. Viva tracked the pair down for some tips.

READ: Where To Find Auckland's Art Galleries To Browse

1. Look, Look, Look
Big art events like the Auckland Art Fair are a great place to start. All the galleries are in one place, which means you can see a huge amount of art without having to drive all over the city, or all over the country. Look with your eyes, not with your ears. Don’t just buy “names". The most fashionable art isn’t necessarily the best and it’s okay to dislike something by a “name”. The more you look, the more interesting the whole thing becomes, and the more likely you are to buy something that has real value, in artistic terms as well as in financial terms. Visit galleries and museums and go to Art Fairs and openings and art talks. Even join mailing lists.

READ: Auckland Art Fair: Emerging Talent You Need To Know

2. If You Don’t Love It, Don’t Buy It
Art is about how it makes you feel. Some people like art that makes them think hard about a political issue and ignites their brain cells. Some people like art that makes them feel calm and relaxed, or that reminds them of a time or a place or a person. If you like it and it makes you happy then CARRY ON! You don't need to understand an artwork to love it. Buy what intrigues, moves and amazes you. What you love will change as you “find your eyes” and become aware of what you really appreciate.

READ: Auckland Art Fair: Why Ceramics Are The Next Hot Ticket

3. Find Art Friends
Consider starting an art group. When you're starting out it’s more fun (and less intimidating) to visit galleries with someone else. You can compare notes on the things you like and don't like, and it’s sometimes easier to ask questions when there’s someone with you. And, by the way, there’s no such thing as a dumb question. Some dealers are friendlier than others, but give them the benefit of the doubt and don’t be put off. Dealers are always happy to answer questions. They’ll be thrilled (and maybe even surprised) that someone is taking an interest!

Find Your Eyes with Sandra Preston and Tim Melville; May 26, 2pm, Tim Melville Gallery at stand B6, The Cloud. 

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