Why You Should Collect Art by Emerging Artists
by Hilary Harkness for Huffington Post
As an artist, I've never thought of myself as a collector, but on a spring day in 2006, I crossed over to the other side, lured by Kalup Linzy's gouaches. At the time, my studio was down the hall from him in a loft building in Tribeca, but I didn't know him well. He wasn't famous yet as a performance and video artist, and he only occasionally drifted out of his studio -- from what I could tell as his neighbor, he was working 16 hours a day.
One afternoon I knocked on his door, and saw him leaning over a large table painting. He had a western exposure and the heat inside was stifling; the sun was baking the studio through the paper he had taped to the window. Kalup just kept painting as I looked at his 50 or so paintings pinned to the wall.
Kalup's paintings were simple, abstracted storyboards -- the product of organizing feelings and ideas for his videos. Like Rodin -- who created drawings to prepare for his sculptures -- Kalup's paintings were powerful because the marks on paper were made to think through larger projects, rather than an end in themselves. I decided I wanted some of these small paintings that made me feel connected to the process I saw unfolding in front of me.
Both as an artist and -- thanks to Kalup -- a collector, I've seen that many people are hesitant to start collecting art. After all, when you picture an art collector, you're likely to think of a New York magnate building a high-priced trophy collection. But the truth is, you don't have to be a millionaire to collect good art. If you care about the artistic process, collecting works by emerging artists -- those at the start of their careers -- can be one of the best (and most affordable) ways to engage. It's a form of angel investing: a way to identify and nurture talent at its earliest stages. I certainly owe my career to the collectors who were willing to take a chance on me more than a decade ago, when I was first establishing myself as an artist.