Undivided by Valerie Ng. All images courtesy of The Artling. 

When it comes to styling your home, one of the best ways would be to dress it up with art. And with the rise of multiple art fairs over the years, accessing a diverse range of art has never been easier. However, for those of us who are new to the world of art buying, it may still be daunting to begin. Kim Tay, gallery director of art consultancy and online gallery The Artling, takes us through some key considerations to kickstart our personal art collections. 

Gallery director of The Artling, Kim Tay. 

1. How does one decide on a budget?

Everyone’s budget is different. Think about how much you can afford to spend on art – starting an art collection shouldn’t drain your bank account. Start small and see where your tastes take you, as you begin building your collection.

2. How should one choose an artwork? 

Choosing an artwork is an incredibly subjective experience. Sometimes you can be drawn in to the piece because of the aesthetic, or sometimes it can be the artist’s concept or process behind the work. It’s always useful to find out more about the artwork and the artist, but ultimately, only you will know if it’s the piece for you.

BE86Sen by Yan Sen

3. Should one buy the works of emerging artists? How to discern the value of their works?

Yes, always! Collecting artworks by emerging artists means supporting their career and allowing them to grow in their artistic practice, and often means the artworks are at a more accessible price point.

Look at which art schools the artist attended, what exhibitions they have been present in, and if they’re represented by any commercial art galleries. This all affects the pricing and value of the artworks.

4. When should one stop buying and growing one’s art collection?

I wouldn’t say there’s ever a point where someone should stop collecting. This completely depends on the individual. Personally, I would say that if you have more artworks than can fit in your home, it means you’re no longer able to appreciate the artworks on a daily basis, and that’s a big part of the art buying process for me. But this is just my opinion. If you’re starting out, go with what you’re comfortable with and don’t overspend your budget.

YHPTG#00001008 by Yao Hai

5. Where are the best places to look and shop for art? 

If you’re looking to dip your toes in the art scene, start visiting your local museums and galleries. In Singapore, we have the Singapore Art Museum (that is currently under renovation but will be reopening in 2021), the National Gallery, and the ArtScience Museum. Visit independent art spaces like STPI, the Substation and Objectifs, and your best bet for galleries would be to go to Gillman Barracks.

There are various art fairs in Singapore and the region which can give you a good overview of what’s current in the art market, and gives you a chance to talk to artists and galleries directly. And of course, year-round, you can visit online galleries like The Artling, where we have artworks listed from emerging and established artists all over Asia.

6. Final tips for art collecting novices? 

The journey of growing your art collection is a learning experience for all, no matter if you’re a beginner or seasoned collector. Art enriches your life, and collecting should be enjoyable to you. Stick with your gut feeling when considering an artwork purchase, it’s usually right and avoids you getting buyer’s remorse.

The Artling is an art consultancy and online gallery focusing on the best of contemporary Asian art and design. Since launching in 2013, theartling.com has grown to list over 200 galleries and 2,000 artists from around the region. Apart from the online platform, The Artling works with private and corporate clients to source for and commission artworks for a variety of projects.