What makes an artist Collectable?


When it comes to collecting art, personal taste is perhaps the most important factor. “Most art is bought because the viewer has a visceral reaction to it; it speaks to them, and they want to own it and live with it,” suggests conservator Gordon A. Lewis Jr. That being said, art is becoming more and more recognised as an asset class, and a valuable and appreciating one at that. So while connecting to an artwork on a personal level may drive a buyers’ desire to be able to look at it every day in their home, there are factors beyond pure aesthetics to consider when investing in art.


Academically or artistically trained

Artists who have an extensive art education are motivated, dedicated to their art practice, reliable and consistent. They have often spent the time establishing and refining a unique style and technique, and have a good understanding of the art industry. Trained artists are often associated with an artworld prestige that aligns with the values of many collectors.


Self taught 

There is also, however, a place for self-taught artists in art collecting. These artists often demonstrate raw passion, talent and originality that cannot be taught at art school. Many of art history’s creative geniuses are self taught. Much of their appeal to collectors is due to a seemingly unrestrained and unmatched creativity, an innate attention to detail and an eye for aesthetics. 


Art Fairs 

Exhibiting at Art Fairs gives artists market experience, and aligns their work with other successful artists. Art Fairs place artists’ works before broader audiences, and foster competition between interested collectors. Exhibiting in Art Fairs is often one of the first steps in establishing an artist’s career, and is a huge selling point for collectors seeking out emerging talent which will go the distance.



A portfolio of exhibitions at leading galleries is another huge selling point for collectors when deciding to support a new artist’s career. Seeing that an artist is represented by, or has exhibited at well known and respected galleries enlists trust from collectors. Knowing that industry experts and pioneers in catapulting emerging talent have backed a particular artist makes them a safer investment. Furthermore, artists who are included in public art collections such as state and regional galleries are seen to be valued on a cultural and institutional level.


Other collectors

A huge factor in the rise of certain artists in the art market is their place in prominent, private art collections and celebrity homes. Many collectors spend time researching and networking with industry experts, and falling into their hands can ensure ongoing and increasing demand for a particular artist. Recently, poulartity on social media such as Instagram has driven the success of many emerging artists, finding themselves sought after by pop culture icons and renowned collectors alike.


Historical significance 

Lastly, many collectors try to adopt a historical perspective. For example, they will often assess the collectability of an artist seen from tens or even hundred years in the future. Making well-researched and educated predictions about what will be the significant art of our time often plays a huge role in determining which artists are invested in. It may be that the most challenging, confrontational, and innovative work being made today will leave the biggest mark on future generations. 



July 11, 2022