Art Collecting 101: Finding Gems (Without Breaking the Bank)

Apr 3, 2017

Art is one of those investments that pays off in the future and you can enjoy it in the here & now. While you should choose pieces that speak to you, it’s also wise to consider their potential to appreciate in value. But where to start?

Julia Wehkamp and Amanda Dunn are co-founders of One Art Nation, a platform that empowers both emerging and established art collectors to make confident and informed purchasing decisions. By providing accessible and relevant education about the art market, they’re nixing the jargon and cutting out the intimidation factor – so you can get closer to the art collection that works for you.
We asked them how to proceed.

Is an art collection a wise investment for a twenty- or thirty-something woman?
Sure! You’ll always have walls to fill and most women in their twenties and thirties are starting to think about planting some roots by either renting a place on their own or buying their first home. Instead of heading to IKEA, why not think outside the box?

Limited edition prints are a great way to start your collection without breaking the bank. You can also pick up original works for a bargain at satellite fairs in Toronto. Or, if you are up for the challenge, it’s always fun rummaging through the stalls at antique markets looking for gems.

I want to start an art collection, but I’m on a limited budget and have limited space. Where should I begin?
There are ample avenues to start your collection, but art fairs are always a good entrance. You can find art fairs pretty much in every corner of the globe and we have a few great options right here in Toronto. The smaller fairs such as the Artist’s Project that just happened and the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition are great for finding less expensive works by offbeat and emerging artists.

Whether your interests lie in paintings, sculpture, photography, or prints, there’s bound to be something that will fit your budget and can work within your space. Additional to art fairs, get on local gallery mailing lists to receive invitations to their openings. It’s a great opportunity to connect with like-minded collectors as well as meet the artist in person. Here is a great video where our experts share strategies for emerging and experienced buyers.

What art trends are you noticing in Toronto?
One of the biggest trends we are noticing is how technology is changing the art world, not only in how artists are creating their work but also in the way collectors are buying and selling. Technology is connecting artists, collectors and experts like never before, whether it be through sourcing platforms or social media channels. At Art New York on May 5 at 3 p.m., we are hosting a panel discussion that will focus specifically on this topic – How Is Technology Changing and Shaping the Art World?

Should we pay attention to these technological trends when developing our own collections?
The art world is getting more innovative as the years pass, so it is in your best interest to tap into the online resources available. From collection management sites to buy/sell platforms, there is no shortage. These new outlets eliminate boarders and provide collectors with access to emerging artists and reputable experts outside of their local markets. One Art Nation is great resource for providing easily accessible, high-quality content by international experts, with a goal to create greater transparency in the art market.

I want my next trip to be heavy with art. Any recommendations?
New York City in May! Not only is it New York Auction Week (when all of the big contemporary sales take place) but Frieze and Art New York and a bunch of smaller satellite fairs also come to town! It’s the perfect time for fair hopping, to attend auction house previews, to visit local gallery openings and of course, hit up all the other great stuff New York has to offer. If you are in town, make sure to stop by Art New York for the One Art Nation Symposium from May 5 to 7, starting at 2 p.m. daily! We offer a whole roster of talks that cover art collecting from A to Z.

One Art Nation’s next event (Buying from an Art Gallery) is on April 13 @ 6 p.m. at Olga Korper Gallery. Reserve your spot!

The original interview was published on She does the City.