We’re a creative group, here at Dansko HQ in West Grove, PA. We work beside a living wall, under a vegetated roof, and beside beautiful paintings and sculptures, the majority of which arrive from artists in our community.
But for Dansko co-owner and COEE (Chief of Everything Else) Peter Kjellerup, collecting art stands for so much more than creating an attractive workspace, or following modern trends. For Peter, art symbolizes a relationship, a means of fulfilling our mission of improving people’s lives by supporting local, up-and-coming artists. And, as a result of Peter’s passion, our workspace cultivates comfort and happiness (much like our shoes).
Peter’s appreciation for art got us thinking: How can we go about building an art collection at home? Check out our five tips below:
1. Define your style
For many budding art connoisseurs, the beginning stages serve as the most enjoyable (and least intimidating) part of building an art collection. Start by making day trips to local art museums and galleries to investigate a variety of paintings and prints. Jot down a few notes, and be sure to take your time—it may take a few visits to nail down your style!
2. Locate your dealer
Experienced buyers often build their repertoire at local auction houses, though this doesn’t mean you need to start your collection by visiting a higher-priced venue. According to many experts, local galleries—and even online shops—provide the best value. Before you buy, start building a relationship with gallery directors, engage with local artists and visit a preview event or an artist spotlight.
3. Ask thoughtful questions
Once you establish your style and budget, continue to “get your feet wet” by asking yourself a series of key questions. Is the particular piece signed? If so, where? Are you the first, second, third or tenth owner? Do you notice any damages to the piece? These questions will help you set a baseline for future art purchases.
4. Start small
Sometimes, entry-level collectors immediately “go big,” buying original pieces from newer artists. While there’s nothing wrong with jumping right in, you may want to invest in a series of prints from well-known artists first. As you learn the ropes, and further develop your style, start experimenting with bigger-ticket items.
5. Think long term
Because art collecting typically serves as a long-term investment, only purchase paintings or prints you genuinely love. Of course, you can always “flip” paintings later if your style evolves, but the most value often lies with collectors who hang onto their paintings. So, take your time, shop wisely and purchase timeless paintings you’ll cherish forever.
With these tips in mind, don’t forget: collecting art is a personal quest. No matter how you start your collection—whether you go right for an original Mona Lisa, or start the process slowly—don’t take yourself too seriously!
Artist credit, from top right to bottom left: Mark Rowland, Irma Shapiro, Kelly McConnell-Cox, Stan Smokler