How To Start Collecting Art: A Beginner’s Guide

Photos courtesy of Tappan

Your walls will thank you

You've always dreamt of your first ~Real Adult Apartment~. You know the one: Where the decorative coffee table isn't from Craigslist and the bar cart offers more than a half-empty bottle of Three Wishes. And don't forget the eclectic collection of art that spans the walls and shelves. It's the last checked box—starting an art collection—that can seem the most daunting, though, right? Not to mention expensive

The good news is, it's not as challenging as you think it is to trade in those band posters and Ikea art for meaningful, original pieces. Thanks to art collecting experts Cristina Salmastrelli and Chelsea Nassib, we've got all the advice you need to start your own collections right here.

While Salmastrelli has spent 10 years directing art fairs (currently New York City's Affordable Art Fair, which kicks off March 30), Nassib is the brains behind Tappan, an online gallery for emerging artists that aims to make art more accessible to young buyers. Both began purchasing art in their early 20s, and have since spent their careers connecting artists with new collectors. We got their advice on first-time art buying, from how to hone in on your personal style to why you should always keep the receipts.

But these women aren't just eager to share how to start collecting art—they're also quick to emphasize why it's worthwhile. 

"There’s a level of identity that comes with collecting, similar to the clothes that you wear, the way you design your house," explains 28-year-old Nassib, who, in addition to running Tappan, is an artist herself. "Anything you buy really is a reflection of who you are and your individuality, so that is ever more expressed through the art that you buy."

Salmastrelli says she sees art collections as a timeline of the collector's life. Often, the meaning of a piece changes over time. In fact, the first piece of art Salmastrelli purchased—a blue and green line drawing from an adult art therapy center when she was 24—now hangs in the room of her soon-to-be-born baby son. 

"Your collection becomes a chronological map of who you are and how you are evolving as a person," Salmastrelli says over the phone. "This is your diary, and it’s all visual, and it’s in your home, and I just can’t think of anything more magical than that."

Sounds convincing—now what? Scroll through the gallery (no pun intended) below for eight art collecting tips on where to look, how to prepare, what questions to ask before buying, and when to trust your gut.

#1. Have a plan
The immense amount of art on the market is both a blessing and a curse for collectors. Whether you’re starting your search online, in a gallery, or at an art fair, Salmastrelli warns, “it’s going to be overwhelming.” Counter that by deciding on an art medium, price point, and the dimensions of the space you’re hoping to fill ahead of time. “You can then [look for art] with a detailed eye and only focus on the artworks that meet your criteria,” Salmastrelli says.

To start developing a personal style, Salmastrelli recommends that first-time art buyers flip through an art history book to explore different mediums first. “When you flip through the pages, you will see yourself going towards gradually liking one medium over the other,” she explains.

#2. Be honest about your budget
Tappan was founded on the principle that art can be found at any price point—on the site, some pieces are as low as 40 or 60 dollars. “So don’t feel like if it’s not expensive, it’s not a real piece of art,” Nassib explains.

On that note, if you’re having trouble finding art that won’t break the bank, it’s probably not your fault. “There is a lot of room for overpriced pieces, overvalued work,” Nassib says. “Make sure you do your research before spending to understand why something costs that much.” Nassib suggests reading the artist’s CV, which is essentially a resume, to find out what galleries have represented the artist, what shows they’ve participated in, and other details. You can also compare the cost of work by artists with similar CVs to make sure you're getting market price.

#3. Get involved
But planning your budget and the wall space to fill can only get you so far. The best way to get familiar with art collecting is to get involved—whether that means going to gallery openings, roaming through art fairs, or scheduling visits at open studios in your area to meet artists. "Essentially, the more you see, the easier it will become to understand what you like and dislike," Nassib says.

You might want to ask gallery managers about emerging artists, too. "It’s a very welcome question, because usually, emerging artists are those artists [galleries] have just signed on and that they’re most excited about," says Salmastrelli. At the Affordable Art Fair, for example, a "Young Talent" section showcases artists who have graduated from art school within the last three years.

#4. When in doubt, ask
On that note, don't be afraid to ask questions—in fact, you probably should. For starters, Salmastrelli recommends asking galleries about the artist's background ("how has his or her career evolved?"), and why the gallery has chosen to represent the artist. "Ask away," Salmastrelli urges. "If you don’t, you may be missing out on an artwork that you’ve fallen in love with."

The same goes for online art shoppers. If you can't find answers to your questions on the web, Nassib recommends reaching out to galleries to set up a studio visit. But there's really no way to go wrong. "I think that a lot of people are intimidated by art in general, and it’s important to know that there’s no wrong interpretation of work, and there are no stupid questions," Nassib says.

#5. Get the back story
It's easy to be swept away by a piece at first sight—after all, art is visual. But both Nassib and Salmastrelli find that often, it's the story behind a piece of art that can make it a must for your collection. "I cannot detach the visual from the artist," Salmastrelli explains. "Whenever I’m looking to expand my collection, I always need to read up on the artist, talk to the gallery about the artist, and really just know them."

A good place to start is by searching online for interviews with the artist or asking gallery owners directly for more information. But if you're having trouble finding info on the artist behind a piece, try speaking to the gallery about setting up a meeting with the artist him or herself. "It just makes it that much more intimate and that much more special when you take [the artwork] home," Salmastrelli says.

#6. Ask about a payment plan—yup, they exist
If you're on the hunt for art, chances are, you're going to fall in love with something a bit outside your budget. But that doesn't mean you'll be going home empty-handed. What many millennial buyers don't realize, Salmastrelli says, is that galleries often offer payment plans, where collectors are charged incrementally on a month-by-month basis. 

"Something that might be at the tip-top of your budget, they’ll say, why don’t you give us 25 percent now, 25 percent next month, et cetera," Salmastrelli says. "Always ask."

#7. Show us the receipts (literally)
Congratulations—you've bought your first artwork. But we're not done just yet. Before taking off, Nassib recommends that young buyers document the purchase in as many ways as possible. Not only does this ensure that what you're getting is an authentic work, but it will also become important if you choose to sell or trade the piece down the line.

“The more information you have on the context of your purchase, the better,” Nassib says. “The history of where the work has been, what show it was a part of, the note the artist wrote you, will always increase that particular piece’s value."

#8. Just do it
One of the most difficult parts of starting an art collection is learning to trust your instincts. Salmastrelli says the biggest mistake she often sees new buyers make is talking themselves out of a purchase. "You might be afraid to trust yourself, but more often than not, you should," she says.

If you're truly unsure about a piece, a good rule of thumb is to sleep on it. "I wake up the next morning and say, 'Are you going to regret not buying that?'" Salmastrelli explains. "If I say yes, I know that I have to purchase it." 

Sooner or later, though, you'll have to take the plunge. The good news? It gets easier with time.

"Once you start buying art, you’ll become more comfortable with the process and you’ll begin to see what direction you want to take," adds Nassib.

We also see Margot Robbie take on Sharon Tate

The new trailer for Quentin Tarantino's upcoming movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood gives a look at the Manson Family. In the previous clip, we saw Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio at their funniest. Now, we get to see Margot Robbie take on actress Sharon Tate, Lena Dunham become a cult member, and how the fictional and real-life story lines will intersect in the film.

Per a press release, the film—that follows a fictional story set around the time of the real-life Manson murders—"visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore."

In this clip, after being introduced to Dalton and Booth, viewers get to see how the latter ends up mingling with the Manson Family. As Booth picks up a girl (Margaret Qualley) on the side of the road, he unknowingly welcomes a Manson family member into his life and begins to visit their ranch. The fiction and real-life stories intersect when we find out that Dalton lives next store to Tate, who was murdered by the members of Charles Manson's cult in 1969.

Watch the new trailer for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood ahead of its July 26 theatrical release, below.


Photos by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

This photo proves that they are the chillest onscreen family

Sophie Turner just posted a photo of herself, Maisie Williams, and Isaac Hempstead Wright—aka the Stark siblings—to her Instagram, showing just what the three used to get up to when the Game of Thrones cameras weren't rolling.

The photo shows Wright looking quite pleased with himself while sitting on a makeshift throne, wearing no pants. As he should be, seeing as (spoiler) his character, Bran, won the Iron Throne this weekend. Williams, meanwhile, is looking way too cool to be involved in the shenanigans, wearing a pair of black sunglasses and staring absently off-camera. As for Turner, she's looking away from her onscreen brother, too, nervously smoking a Juul.

"The pack survived," Turner captioned the photo.

This photo just goes to prove that the Stark siblings are the chillest onscreen family. (It also proves, yet again, that Turner's social media is an absolute delight.)

We're actually a little sad that this footage didn't make it into the final season, considering how many modern-day objects have been spotted in the show's last few episodes.

Photo via @mileycyrus on Twitter

Meet Ashley

Miley Cyrus shared the trailer for her forthcoming Black Mirror episode, and it's basically Hannah Montana set in a dystopian future. Cyrus is a pink wig-wearing pop star named Ashley who is rolling out an in-home virtual assistant, named Ashley Too, that looks like her and shares her voice. But, as is the case with every Black Mirror episode, this technology is not as cute and fun as it's advertised to be.

In the trailer, we get the idea that Ashley is all about wanting fans to "believe" in themselves—but underneath that pink wig, maybe she doesn't feel that same self-love. After Ashley Too introduces herself to fan and new owner Rachel, promising to be her friend, we get a look at Ashley's darker side. She's depressed and tired of the pop star life. A record label executive says to several people in the room, "She doesn't understand how fragile all this is." As they consider upping her dose of medication, Ashley's life is on a downward slope. "It's getting so hard to keep doing this," she voices over glimpses of a police car chase, performances, and breakdowns backstage.

But back to the technology: Does Ashley's breakdown also mean the breakdown of Ashley Too? Looks like it. We see Rachel's virtual assistant screaming, "Get that cable out of my ass! Holy shit! Pull it out," breathing a sigh of relief as soon as they pull it out. A title card then reveals the episode name, "Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too."

Watch the full trailer and get a full view of Cyrus' cyborg-esque pop star look, below. Black Mirror returns to Netflix on June 5.

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Photo by Paras Griffin / Stringer / Getty Images.

Several actresses allegedly had "issues" with him

Lena Waithe's Showtime series, The Chi, just lost one of its main characters. Jason Mitchell, who was also set to appear in the Netflix film Desperados, has been dropped from both projects following multiple allegations of misconduct. He has also been dropped by his agent and manager.

Hollywood Reporter heard from a source "with knowledge" of The Chi, who says that Tiffany Boone, the actress who plays Mitchell's girlfriend on the show, is just one of several actresses who had "issues" with him. She eventually told producers at Fox21 that she could no longer work with him after filing several sexual harassment complaints. Apparently, her fiancé, Dear White People co-star Marque Richardson, would join her on set when she would shoot with Mitchell.

While news of Mitchell's alleged misconduct is just now beginning to surface, it looks like the ball started rolling on the fallout weeks ago. He was dropped from Desperados and replaced by Lamorne Morris before filming began. A source from the production team said that the producers received "specific information" that they reviewed and acted on quickly. Similarly, a source familiar with Mitchell's former agent, UTA, said the decision to drop him a few weeks ago was very quick following the allegations.

Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images

Prior to the college admissions scandal, she said she doesn't "care about school"

Apparently, Olivia Jade wants to go back to school despite all those YouTube videos that suggested otherwise. Back in March, it was revealed that her mom, Fuller House actress Lori Loughlin, and dad, Mossimo Giannulli, had scammed Jade's way into the University of Southern California. Now, Loughlin faces jail time, and Jade lost out on plenty of lucrative ad partnerships.

According to Us Weekly, "Olivia Jade wants to go back to USC," per a source. "She didn't get officially kicked out and she is begging the school to let her back in." Another source though ousted Jade's real motivation to the publication. "She knows they won't let her in, so she's hoping this info gets out," they shared. "She wants to come out looking like she's changed, learned life lessons and is growing as a person, so she for sure wants people to think she is interested in her education."

Jade previously shared in a YouTube video she's in college for the "experience of like game days, partying" rather than the education. She also said, "I don't know how much of school I'm going to attend... I don't really care about school, as you guys all know." Though these statements were made prior to the scandal coming to light, her brand partnerships didn't come into question until her parents were indicted.

Right now, despite previous reports that Jade and her sister would both be dropping out of USC, Jade's enrollment has been placed on hold—meaning she cannot register for classes, or even withdraw from the school—until her parents' court case comes to a close. Then, the school will make its own decision as to how Jade will be affected. I think, either way, she should have to pay off a few of her classmates' loans for all the BS she pulled.