Collecting Art on a Millennial Budget

Brooke Friedman

“I think there’s a general perception that art isn’t affordable for younger collectors, which simply isn’t true,” Kathleen Hamill, Director of Contemporary Art, says; “Art collecting can be a part of your life at any age and at any budget.”

A common myth about art collecting is that it’s much too expensive for the “Millennial” price point. As a “Generation Z” art professional, beginning art collector, and working artist myself, I’m here to tell you that that is not true. If I’ve made it happen, so can you!

Maybe you’ve considered collecting art before, and felt it wasn’t accessible to you, or maybe you are just looking for something to spice up the walls of your first apartment. Regardless of why you’re interested in building an art collection, you can find a way to do it within your budget. Intrigued? Read on for my best tips on how to get started.

1). Set a budget. Know what you are willing and able to spend on your art collection, and have a plan on how to execute your collecting goals! That budget may mean saving a bit of each paycheck you get, and setting it aside to buy an art piece, or it may even mean planning some artists or art styles you like and building from that. Whatever your personal goals are, know what you want to prioritize! It will make the process of collecting so much easier. Keep reading for an assortment of works in our upcoming December 14th auction, many with opening bids of only $150.

2). Develop your taste. Before you buy anything, familiarize yourself with the art market! Whether it’s scrolling Instagram or visiting art museums in your area, make a list of what you like and build from there. Most importantly, be honest with yourself about what art you are passionate about; your taste can be defined by art periods or styles you like, favorite colors and patterns, or even subject matter. Maybe every art piece you love has a bit of your favorite shade of yellow in it; or, you just really love sunflowers. Personally, I’m often drawn to artwork that has a sense of humor in it; whatever draws you to an art piece, follow it without hesitation.

Some of my favorite quirky pieces in our upcoming auction are listed below.

Lot 1094, Charles Fazzino, “Under the Boardwalk”
3-D serigraph collage
Starting price: $300








Lot 1116, Guillaume Azoulay, “Cavalcade I, II AND III”
Serigraph triptych
Starting price: $150






Lot 1065, Joan Miro, “Plate 8, From Album 19”
Starting price: $600








3). Start small. Especially for a tighter budget, there are two different (and not mutually exclusive) ways to start a substantial collection: one, buying small works, and two, buying prints. Works that are smaller in size, logically, are often less expensive. So, if buying one-of-a-kind, original works is really important to you, consider shopping small. Buying prints is another good approach, as original art prints are often priced accessibly because they are produced in multiple.

There are a variety of high-quality prints by unique and noteworthy artists in our upcoming December auction. Here are my personal favorite prints from this month’s sale, including some reasonably priced works by Picasso and Roy Lichtenstein (no, I’m not kidding).

Lot 1053, Pablo Picasso, “Cote D’Azure, 1962”
Offset lithograph, unsigned
Starting price: $150









Lot 1047, Roy Lichtenstein, “Still Life with Picasso”
Offset lithograph exhibition poster, ink signed lr
Starting price: $250









Lot 1160, Barbara Jones-Hogu, “Oh Freedom!”
Starting price: $250







4). Buy local. Buying local isn’t just for produce. Works by local and emerging artists are a great fit for a smaller budget, in that they are often available at a lower price point. Plus, by buying from local and emerging artists, you are supporting your local art economy and contributing to the community of artists in your area. (Win-win!)

Our upcoming December 14th auction features a few budget-friendly works by local artists, including Lots 1180 and 1181, both beautiful photographs of Midcentury Baltimore by A. Aubrey Bodine, opening at $150 each.

Have a slightly higher budget? Check out Lot 1063, a Modular Sculpture by renowned local artist Norman Carlberg, opening at $400.
5). Have fun. You’ll enjoy the process and your collection so much more if you embrace purchasing what you love and avoid buying works that you feel you “should” be buying. Resist the urge to exclusively shop based on market trends, as you don’t want to end up investing in work that you don’t truly love. Buying art is not only a financial investment, but an emotional one as well! Strive to fill your home with art that brings you joy, and you’re bound to love your collection for years to come.

To see the rest of the art from the upcoming December 14th Gallery Auction, click here.

Jackie Andrews
Research Associate in Contemporary Art
& Content Creator


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