By Carolyn Edlund
Who is collecting your art? How much do you understand about your customer?
My friend Ann lives in Orange County near Los Angeles, and has been collecting art for the past 12 years. Volunteering as a docent at a nearby museum has not only educated her and exposed her to a large variety of work, but has enabled her to become personally involved in hosting art-related events where she has the opportunity to meet artists personally and on a regular basis.
This background makes her very different from East Coast collector Marsha, profiled here.
Through her experience, she has become interested in acquiring landscapes by California painters, and she focuses mainly on this niche. She says, “I fell in love with the beauty and spontaneity of plein air painting.” Her budget allows her to consider artwork in the $350 – $1,000 range.
Through her connection with the local Plein Air Painters Association, Ann met painter Greg LaRock, and she has come to know him as a friend as well as an artist. She owns four of his paintings, and intends to collect more.
“There’s a sense of peacefulness and warmth to his work that I love. He has a unique way of capturing light on canvas that is especially appealing to me,” Ann says, “Plus he’s a really nice guy.”
What is the value she finds in her art collection?
She responds, “This may sound corny, but it adds a great deal of happiness to my life. I love experiencing the ‘presence’ of the artist in the paintings; not only through the smell of the oil paint itself, but the texture and thickness of the artist’s brush strokes–the way they painted it quickly to capture the ever-moving light to capture that exact moment in time. It is so much more meaningful to me than just having a print or photograph of a beautiful scene.”
There are other benefits to being a collector. “I think my appreciation of plein air art has rubbed off on my family as well. My husband, who previously was not a particularly artsy guy–really stops to look at the paintings we have now and comments on the light and color and other elements of art. Wherever we go now, he really “sees” and appreciates plein air art. I would say that these paintings have been a great addition to our home and definitely add to the warmth and happiness of our lives.”
Do you have educated buyers who appreciate and collect your artwork? Do you work at building friendships and driving repeat sales through personal connection? How would you approach this type of person differently than someone who was just beginning to collect?