In Depth

How to invest in emerging artists

Alice Phillimore, lead curator at Artfinder, explains everything you need to know about getting started with your collection

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Buying art used to be an intimidating prospect, but that’s a barrier that has really been broken down in recent years, particularly with the rise of online art sites, plus artists’ own presence on social media sites like Instagram through which it is now easier than ever to discover, research and buy original artworks and limited edition prints. 

Eleonora Sher

Where to go?

If you’re new to buying art, investing in emerging artists is a great place to start, and this time of year is perfect, as it’s the start of the art degree show season. Up and down the country art schools open their doors to the public to see displays of final works produced by artists at the end of their BA and MA degree courses. These are a great opportunity to see some of the best new emerging artists in the UK and abroad and to support artists at this early stage of their careers.

If you need a bit more guidance, there are also several exhibitions that highlight their pick of recent emerging artists. One highlight of the year is New Contemporaries, an exhibition which supports emerging art from British Schools. At Artfinder, we will also be launching our online graduate exhibition later in the summer, to highlight our pick of the best BA and MA graduates.

Mikéla Henry-Lowe

What to look for in an emerging artist?

Look for artists that are producing artworks which are dynamic, critically engaged and have a coherent style. It’s also important that an artist is motivated and engaged in the art world, such as involvement in exhibitions or residencies. But most importantly trust your own intuition and buy an artwork you love. There is nothing like buying your first piece of contemporary art, especially knowing you are supporting an artist at this crucial time in their career.

If you’re looking for more affordable options, original limited edition prints or smaller artworks are a good entry level way of investing in an artist. 

Courtney Heather

What next?

Once you have bought an artwork by an artist or discovered one you admire, take an active approach and follow their careers. Follow them on social media, sign up to their mailing lists, or those galleries or sites they may join. 

Alice Phillimore is lead curator at Artfinder. For more, go here

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