Many people ask me, how do I start collecting art? What comes easily to me as a professional whose entire career has involved interacting with the arts in various capacities—as a gallery assistant, an exhibition manager for museum exhibitions, an artist and curator/art producer—it is easy, but for a majority of people it can be intimidating and daunting.
I am lucky to be surrounded by art and having to look at art everyday for my work. Looking at art is the first step to becoming a collector; visit your local museums, go to gallery openings and artist open studios. There is a popular thought that to look at art, you need to understand it. I disagree with that consensus. Think about looking at art as if you were shopping for clothing, or anything else you may be interested in buying. Often times we buy something because we simply just like it, it looks good on us, we feel good when wearing it and happy when we do it. The same logic can be applied to both looking at and buying art. Go with your gut, view a lot of art, then ask yourself what trends emerge in the style of art you find yourself drawn to and why.
Working in the museum field for many years, I have a deeper appreciation for art that does not align with the style of works I collect but I have a deep appreciation for the artistic intent, and the larger social and historical meaning of a work after I read about it. You can develop this sense of appreciation with too, but first just simply go look at it and observe. I also continuously read a lot about collecting art, and wanted to share some great sources I have read and listened to recently:
Most importantly, collecting art and looking at art should not be a stressful process. Start in a approachable fashion and the rest will come along.