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One of my goals with this page is to share ideas that will make the art world experience more fulfilling while eliminating any perceived barriers of entry for those interested in buying art for the first time or becoming a collector. The “Collector Tricks of the Trade” series of articles is specifically intended to do just that by offering ideas and inside scoops that anyone can use immediately and will ideally prove invaluable the next time you find yourself in the market for art.

Whether you are new to collecting or a seasoned pro, one element stands out as a key factor when getting serious about buying art, knowledge. Simply put, the more you know is, well, the more you know. And as G.I. Joe so eloquently put it at the end of every cartoon episode, “Knowing is half the battle.”

There are many ways to learn about art, the art world, the art market or specific artists. Books, journals, magazines and blogs are certainly great resources. Documentaries can be both entertaining and educational, particularly where historical information is sought.

Museums, galleries, trade shows and art fairs are also essential resources and provide valuable points of contact with people who are well versed on any type of art or particular artist you might be interested in. Keep in mind that there are no bad or dumb questions so don’t be shy when trying to gather information or better educate your self.

One of the very best ways to gain an education is to bypass the experts, critics, art historians or even dealers like myself and learn directly from the artists themselves. This can happen in many different ways, from researching their websites to speaking with them at art openings, open studio tours, art fairs and if you’re feeling emboldened, by offering to buy them lunch or dinner. I know I like to eat, so anytime anyone offers a free meal just to hear me ramble on about why or what I like to paint, well, giddy up!

Another great way to hear from the artist them self is to attend artist talks. Here the artist will typically talk for an allotted amount of time on a specific topic, namely their art work, their personal history, influences or perhaps how their art fits the larger landscape of the arts in general. The tone, formality, and structure of a talk is dependent on the artists style and manner of discussing his or her work, the venue and the nature and goal of the artist talk itself as defined by the venue and the artist.

Most artist talks consist of the artist’s presentation followed by a question and answer section. It’s here that those in attendance get the opportunity to ask the artist their questions. A social hour following the talk can round out an evening and affords those in attendance another opportunity to talk with the artist and to mingle with the other guests.

I can’t say enough good things about attending artist talks and their value as learning opportunities. A number of benefits stand out and make artist talks both unique and invaluable resources for anyone interested in the arts.

Most notably, while the Internet is a wonderful place to learn about the arts, nothing can replace the energy and atmosphere created when gathering in real life with real human beings. The sense of a tangible community that is created among people with shared or similar interests is something that is absent online. For me these moments, like art openings themselves, are like church (in a good way) in that like-minded people are gathered together to share in a same cause where an underlying mood of celebration is present. If you are new to the art market, this kind of social validation goes a long way in curbing any nerves or self-doubt where buying art might be concerned.

The question and answer portion of an artist talk is especially beneficial. Listening to the questions posed by other people has the potential to open ones self up to entirely new veins of thought and information that one may have never even considered before. It isn’t uncommon that a real conversation among the attendees and the artist is possible as a result.

Ancillary benefits to attending the artist talks are the ability to network, develop friendships with like-minded individuals and to learn from their experiences and perspectives. I know many people who have made solid friendships by coming to openings and artist talks. I also know a handful of people who met their significant others here. Which brings us to a bonus perk… If you’re looking for a cool date idea to impress your partner with, nothing says class and sophistication or willingness to expand ones own consciousness like attending an artist talk. 🙂

If this article has got you pumped to go to an artist talk, you’re in luck as the Rogue Buddha Gallery will be hosting one this coming Friday, April 20th at 7pm for our current artist Adam Little!  He will be joining us from Davenport Iowa!  More details can be found on the FB event page here:

Regardless if you can make it to the talk Friday evening (although you really should) I hope you found this article useful and perhaps inspiring to get out to more art events and soak up all the culture the arts has to offer. Keep an eye out for more articles dealing with collecting and buying art in the near future. Cheers!


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