Collecting Art | How to find out what art you like

Knowing what you like is a peculiar challenge. On one hand, the problem seems moot - you know what you like, because you like it. That simple. But as anyone who’s ever tested this theory knows, the situation is far murkier. When it comes to art, not only do we face endless options, but making sense of your artistic intuition can feel akin to self-discovery. To ease the process, we’ve devised some practical hints for figuring out what art you like.

Begin with some questions

The world is filled with art - a lot of art. From gallery walls, to websites, through to auction houses... knowing where to start can feel overwhelming. One way to handle this, is to set a scope.

Ask yourself questions like - what do I want this work of art for? How much am I willing to spend? Do I like bright colours, abstract shapes or moody self-portraits? And do I gravitate towards new or old things? While you won’t know all the answers, setting a rough criteria will help steer you in the right direction.

Plot the land

The art world relishes more than pictures - it celebrates stories. While you don’t need an art history degree to collect art, engaging with the stories behind movements and artworks can help develop your sense of taste.

In Arthur Boyd’s lithograph, ‘Untitled (Diving Man)’ gentle lines evoke the Australian bush. Heralding from a family of artists, Boyd was known was his deep social conscience. Because of this, Boyd’s outback is not just bushland. Instead, it’s a stage for his engagement with life, love, loss and shame. Learning this, adds a layer to work that spreads beyond the page.  

Use your eyes, not your ears

Once you’ve set a scope and done some investigating, all that’s left is to look. This is where your intuition kicks in. Browse online, go to galleries, talk and ask questions - but don’t let yourself be steered by others. Developing your taste is after all, inevitably personal. If you find yourself out of love with a work after buying it, you can always resell it. Tastes evolve - that’s part of pleasure.   

Happy Collecting!

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