Art Collecting for Dummies????

I always have considered the “Dummies” series of books insulting.   Who would really read something that called you “stupid” in the title?

But here I am entitling my first post, “Art Collecting for Dummies.”  I feel like I’m shooting myself in the foot. Who is the Dummie here, Reader?

The intention of this blog is to give non-artists who are interested in starting their own original art collection a “how to” guide on how to get started.  It will profile artists who I like.  It will give you price points – where to view their work – how to contact them – where to buy their work – how to get it at the most affordable price.  (Hint:  collect artists who show outside the gallery world.)

And most importantly,(hopefully), it will inspire you to start hanging on your walls work that truly speaks to you.  And in doing so, you will be supporting an artist, supporting the “Buy Original Art” movement and making the walls of your home more beautiful AND more meaningful.

I love this picture of Alice Neel sitting in her studio (her living room) surrounded by her paintings.  She didn’t start to sell her work until much later in life; unless you count the work commissioned by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.  She painted because she HAD to paint.  She didn’t paint to sell.  If she had, she would have given up painting at the very start.  I’m sure she would have liked to have sold.  It would have given her critical validation.  Lucky for us, she didn’t need outside validation to continue to paint.  Let the critics be damned.  There was no other choice for her.  Painting = breathing.


About buyoriginalart

I am an painter living outside of Philadelphia. I founded the artist's cooperative, MamaCita, A Mother's Cooperative in the Arts. My mission in this blog is to raise public awareness about the relevance of buying original art (as opposed to cheap reproductions.)
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8 Responses to Art Collecting for Dummies????

  1. Karen McLaughlin says:

    Great first post Melissa! You are a creative force to reckon with.

  2. Debbie says:

    Great post! Thanks for starting this. I love Alice Neel, too.

  3. karoline says:

    I think art collecting can be a lot of fun! There are so many options and approaches you can take and none of them are wrong!! I’ve seen people do theme rooms collecting all things chicken or collecting from the same artist over and over to get a unified look from room to room in their house. Theres nothing wrong with looking for something that goes with your color scheme or even to ask an artist to make some thing with certain colors if you can’t find what you need or want. I like the idea of changing up your collection during the year to suit the season or mood. Unlike milk art doesn’t go bad! (unless its made of milk, I am all for freedom of expression)

  4. Kate Darwin says:

    An incredible review! Thanks for this Melissa, I think you should add art critic to your resume!

  5. I LOVE THAT I FOUND THIS SITE! I just finished painting 98 paintings in 2010, when I was done I looked at them all hanging all the wall and said now what? I haven’t tried to sell them, in fact I don’t know if I’m going to. But just like Alice I HAD to paint and paint I did and maybe just maybe that’s okay…

    • Hi Adrienne – Congrats on an EXTREMELY productive year! I was in a similar position a few years ago when I decided I had to do something about the poor work in my studio that was sitting there unseen. There came a day when painting wasn’t enough so I started a cooperative in the arts, MamaCita, and have been showing steadily ever since. I don’t always sell but finally LOVE having my work out there; to see it hanging on a wall for the world to view is really rewarding. I think when the time is right, you will know it. An exhibition of 98 paintings by one artist would be something. Do you have a website? You can read about my story (it’s brief, but it talks about how MamaCita came to be) at

  6. glennis says:

    i don’t think one can go wrong when collecting/buying original art that you like, enjoy and want to live with each day. not only paintings and wall art, but also consider everyday useful objects that add beauty, style and enjoyment to your world. there are many craftspeople out there making some really amazing things.

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