What Motivates Art Collectors? | Artsy Shark

by Carolyn Edlund

How collectors gain from appreciating and purchasing your art.

Art and Craft Gallery

Heather Davis Studio Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina

People who purchase art or handmade work must be motivated to do so. A sale is made when the collector feels that owning your work has more value than the money it will cost to make the purchase. And buying art is most often an emotional decision. Artists should know this and be able to present their work in a way that emotionally resonates with their target audience.

Who buys fine art and craft? Is wealth the primary factor in becoming a collector? Not necessarily. Level of education is actually more relevant than net worth. Well-educated shoppers are more sophisticated and tend to be more likely to select original art and fine craft over mass-produced items.

People tend to find a way to afford art that holds great value for them. Those who understand the techniques, purpose and quality of original art and handmade items want these things in their lives. They may purchase lower-priced pieces at first and move up as they earn higher salaries. Or, they will find another way to own art that is meaningful. They may make payments over time, or pursue a creative financing method.

What Acquisition Says About the Collector

A collector’s purchase sends a message to their friends and social circle. Owning art may make the statement, “Look what I can afford” in an effort to achieve a certain status. We see this in the behavior of buyers who frequent high-end art fairs and auctions.

Often, people will say they want to own art as an investment that will appreciate in value. Art bought solely as an investment is risky, though – as your broker will tell you. Devoted collectors truly appreciate the value of art in their lives, and want to live with it and appreciate it. Art not only has monetary value to these collectors; it has emotional value that enhances their life and helps them create an environment where they live or work that pleases them. Art makes them happy.

Some people purchase art or handmade items to show the world that they have good taste or value the good things in life. Ownership may support their social views or show that they are supporters of the arts. This provides personal satisfaction as well.

Acquiring art or fine craft often gives collectors something special that they alone have. A one-of-a-kind wearable art dress will be an attention-getter. Statement jewelry is exactly that. It says a lot about the wearer and what they want to convey to the world.

Enhanced Value

When people buy your art, they are not just buying a thing. They are buying your talent, inspiration, and hard work. Each piece may have your fingerprints on it, and probably your signature. This says to the world that your work is more than. It isn’t stamped out, mass-produced or unremarkable. It is special, made with care and love. Your work may be rare, especially if it is one-of-a-kind. It reflects the skills you have mastered. Art has an element of humanity to it, which is a most valuable trait.

Small touches, such as signature design elements or a surprise add value, too. Does your handmade jacket have a beautiful fabric inside the pockets that only the wearer knows is there? Have you written a word or poem on the bottom of a ceramic vessel as a surprise for someone to discover? Does your painting have secret images hiding in the composition, or a written message on the back? All of these are extras that artists can incorporate in their work as a source of delight for the purchaser and a reason to collect.

Sharing your story and your technique with the buyer definitely adds value to their purchase. They will re-tell your story when showing other people the piece of art that they acquired.

When you sell a piece of your art or handmade work, the buyer is receiving a piece of your creative spirit. Fortunately, creativity, like love, doesn’t run out. Gift your creative spirit to everyone who admires your work through expressing the passion you have for what you do.

Share the Joy of Ownership

Most people really enjoy art and handmade work. They find the buying experience to be memorable and satisfying. They may even say “I love this” when talking about their purchase. And every time they see the work they have collected, it will engender the same good feelings.

When you create marketing messages for your art business, use every opportunity to emphasize the excitement and joy of ownership. Your authentic message will ring true and resonate with potential collectors.

In this way, offering your work isn’t a hard sell but rather a natural extension of the passion you have for creating. You are enhancing other people’s lives with beauty, joy and the delight of owning art or craft that is made with love and will become a treasured belonging. When you come from that mindset, marketing isn’t a chore. It can actually be a pleasure.

Collector is a heady word. Not many people think of themselves as an art collector, even those who have purchased more than one piece of art. Referring to your customers or clients as collectors elevates them to a higher level in your business relationship. It honors their understanding of the value of your artwork and reinforces their decision to purchase your work. Refer to your customers as collectors as often as you can!

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