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What makes an art collector? For some, the term itself creates an image of a wealthy man or woman, quaffing expensive wine, staring at his or her treasures. The reality is so far from this, as art collectors aren’t bound by any of these preconceptions – and in some cases, income.

Not all art collecting is about attaining the most rare or most sought after pieces. While some collectors purchase art to invest, some buy art simply for joy. It is personal taste that will, at least initially, govern your choice of pieces. Of course, if you’re buying art simply to make money irrelevant of the image or sculpture, then you’re probably not making the most of your interest.

But how do you find out about different contemporary artists?

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Airplanes by Alice X. Zhang

This is the part that seems tricky, at least to start with. The best place to start is a local gallery. If you’re new to the world of contemporary art, gallery assistants and managers will be happy to discuss current and popular artists. Don’t worry about buying initially. You might see something straight away that calls out to you, or perhaps not. There’s nothing wrong with having a wander without buying first.

One of the things that’s worth bearing in mind is that you can approach art in the same way as you would books, music or films. You know the music you like, you may have a favourite author or film genre. It’s okay to not like something because it’s not to your taste.

There are different ways to buy art, and the costs can vary from format to artists. Let’s take a look at these formats in more detail.

Open edition prints

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Ocean Meets Sky by Terry Fan

Probably one of the most cost effective way of enjoying an artist’s work on your wall is buying an open edition print. These prints are produced until the printing plate wears, and have no fixed edition run. They are usually available in various sizes, suitable for your surroundings and budget. These prints are usually only available for long established artists, whereas many contemporary artists only have limited edition runs of their work.

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