When it comes to art, the prevailing advice is buy what you love. And it’s true, you should buy what you love. But art isn’t just about buying; it’s about uncovering new ideas, perspectives and even, yourself. Sometimes, despite all the pictures, a collection can lack a big picture.

With this in mind, here’s our guide to finding the direction behind your passion. Art isn't after all a fling, it’s a lifetime affair.

Why think about the Big Picture?

The best collections tell some kind of story. This doesn’t have to a literal story; in fact, literalness can curb a collection. When famed art collector David Walsh first started collecting, he fixated on ancient and antique objects. The museum he built off this collection, The Moonilla Museum of Antiques, was a flop. Why? Because, David had not yet uncovered the big picture behind his collection. When he did eventually uncover and embrace his unique sense of taste, he built a collection that spurred MONA, one of the world's most celebrated galleries. 


Patricia Piccinini, 'Stem Cell'

Creating your Big Picture collection

Finding the big picture behind your collection is an ongoing process that is best managed by instinct. Rather than yield to trends or social pressures, take a punt on your intuition. That’s exactly David did, when he literally bet MONA on the Melbourne Cup to win it back from bankruptcy. Now that’s a Confident Collector!

When acknowledging what you're attracted to, also consider why. Some people like to collect art as a kind of visual diary, where each piece corresponds to a moment from their life. Others are interested in curating a certain mood like fantasy or tranquility, while others are invested in specific artists. Regardless, heed the sage advice of Rumi and “unfold your own myth”.


Anne Marie Hall, 'Rebirth'


Deciding to collect art with a big picture in mind, is to start purposefully buying. The benefits of this are clear – when a collection is built to last, it becomes a testimony to sheer love, commitment and a life lived. Stand back and you just may find, your collection is picture of you.