Emma Howell

Building an Art Collection: It’s a Meditative Journey

Emma Howell
7 February, 2024

I felt the need to write words today, so here’s what happened.

Are you an art collector? Perhaps you aspire to be one.. or maybe you’ve never thought about it. Well, you’ve reached this post for a reason, so let’s take it as a sign. It’s time to expand your collection.. or start one. 😏✌🏼

Collecting art requires a certain curiosity

Being a collector of original artwork is more than just an investment, a hobby or to fill up your empty walls to match the cushions. It’s a life-long, personal journey that can be deeply meditative, often rewarding and an opportunity to reveal a little of your soul to those who would ever come across your collection. Just like meditation, collecting art requires curiosity, patience, focus, an open mind and a willingness to turn inwards and ask yourself questions. You know.. really get to know yourself.. and be open to learning about who you are, what you’re about, why you do what you do, why you like what you like.

Your art collection isn’t just about bringing colour into a room.. it’s also a way to tell the world what you really give a sh*t about. For example, say you purchase an artwork that displays a hilly landscape of a view from your hometown – this could tell people that you like where you live, that you’re an outdoorsy guy or gal and/or you’re quite sentimental about things.. perhaps the landscape triggers a certain memory or is a reminder to appreciate where you are. Another example – your most recent purchase is a chaotic, bold and aggressive abstract that you’ve displayed next to your dining room table. This could show that you’re energetic and bold in character, open to controversial conversations and/or somebody that deliberately wants to ‘make an obvious statement’ in your home.

Your art collection shows the world who you are.

Take your art choices seriously

The art of collecting paintings begins with simple observation. Each piece of art is a visual representation of the artist’s thoughts, feelings, traumas, experiences and ideas. As the collector, you’re not just acquiring a physical object; you’re buying a window with a view of the artist’s mind. And this process of observing, understanding, connecting with and then finally choosing a piece of art can be a meditative practice in its own right – similar to that mindfulness meditation we do (yes, do it every morning!) where we focus on the present moment and/or the cool breath running in and out of our nostrils.

Ok, so if you’re really serious about your status as an art collector, that very act of choosing and trying to work out which piece to get can get emotional. It requires self-reflection; you need to tune in to that inner dialogue, much like meditation mentioned just now. You must ask yourself why you’re drawn to that certain piece, how it makes you feel, and what it means to you.. what connects you with the artist and what would it mean to you to support them? This introspection can help you learn more about yourself and your tastes, just as meditation leads to self-discovery, inner calmness and a readiness to evolve.

You’re supporting a life

Collecting original artwork also means that you’re supporting the life of the artist (if they’re still living) – this in itself is a gratifying and profound achievement. You should be proud that you’re in a personal/financial position to be able to purchase real artwork and contribute to the life of the artist – you’re enabling us to continue our craft, you’re helping us purchase materials, you’re getting our work seen and you’re validating our existence.

On a personal level, not a day goes by where I don’t feel that flutter of gratitude towards those of you who collect my work across the world. There are quite a lot of you out there nowadays – some of you I talk to on really regular basis, some of you have become dear friends, some of you have built up a rather extensive collection (you know who you are), some of you are saving for your next piece, some of you are still deciding on your first.. whichever stage you are at, I’m so grateful to you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

A concluding note

Art. Oh, art. It has this monumental power that sparks all kinds of conversation; it stirs up emotions, triggers memories, catalyses fresh thinking patterns.. the list goes on. By engaging with it, collecting it and surrounding yourself with it, it makes you a special kind of person, you know. I’m not trying to butter your bread; I’m being real here. You’re creative, you’re courageous, you care deeply, you’re in tune with your inner self, you’re supporting lives of others, you’re open..

The next time you add another painting to your collection, take a moment to appreciate the meditative journey. It’s not just buying a print from IKEA. It’s so much more than that. Remember that collecting art is not just about possessing beautiful objects, but also about enriching your soul and supporting the life of another human.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Are you interested in a totally bespoke artwork/a commissioned piece? Perhaps an emotive abstract, a Matisse-style still life, a holiday snapshot or large landscape? I’m pretty open to the majority of briefs, so please do get in touch now and I’ll book you into my spring schedule.