Surrounding oneself with art isn’t just for the affluent, uber-privileged. With a keen eye (and a little insider know-how), you too can amass an enviable collection of art. We reached out to Tony Allegretti, former executive director of the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville and an avid art collector (especially of the local variety), to get some pointers on how to be an art collector.

  1. Start by finding where you like to browse art. Is it as an art walk? Is it the arts market or festivals where you can meet the artist? I love the collectives like CoRK, Southlight and Art Center for broad looks at diverse artists. Or do you like galleries where a dealer can show you works of many artists? (They have wine!) Find your sweet spot. You may like doing all these things. Find your aesthetic. Talk about what you like. People will turn you on to new-to-you artists. And you can do the same. 

“We don’t hesitate to buy crap, why can’t we be impulsive with art?” Photo: Cole LoCurto

  1. If you see something you can afford or almost afford, get it. We don’t hesitate to buy crap, why can’t we be impulsive with art? There are pieces that you’ll cherish for a lifetime that cost the same as a couple beers at the Jags game. Everything we purchase, unless it’s art, ends up in a landfill. Art is something we move with us. I see the same paintings and photos every day. They make my jazz records more vivid, my coffee more robust. Collecting also lets you get to know artists and the stories behind the work. 

 

  1. I’m no expert in the investment part, though I’ve sold work that people flat out asked for. My father-in-law made an offer on a Reese Foret painting that I loved but he had to have it. It was more important to me that he would get so much out of it than the actual ROI. I think you can make art into a long-term investment, but you’d need real expertise and it’s a volatile market that’s impossible to predict. My personal approach is that I’m giving it to my kids. I have a lot of my grandfather’s work and other art that has been passed down. 

“I see the same paintings and photos every day. They make my jazz records more vivid, my coffee more robust.” Photo: Cole LoCurto

  1. As for how much art is too much, tastes differ. I’d put it everywhere. My bride likes more whitespace, almost gallery style. My studio is completely covered wall to wall because it’s my space. But I don’t know if you can have too much.

This feature originally appeared in Void Magazine, Vol. 9, Issue 6, The Arts & Music Issue.