If you have the opportunity, invest in art. especially in these formative years when you are working to network with other emerging creative professionals. Buy, barter, and trade. Art is not just an inspiring thing to have around your home, it can be a serious investment.
Art dealing is a complicated market, but to start out, start with what’s in your own backyard. Think about the people you know; who is doing work you like? Do they work hard? Is it likely that they will continue to make art? I suggest investing in work you like so you can enjoy it even if it doesn’t make you millions. (If it makes you millions one day, then it’s a bonus.)
The value of your piece goes up as an artist has more shows, and sells more pieces. You should consider whether the artist you’re supporting has the staying-power required to forge a career as a professional artist. Say your neighbour an electrician who paints in the garage for fun on weekends. If you like his work then go for it, but don’t expect that the piece is going to appreciate in financial value.
Buy: Price out any pieces you are interested in; maybe they’re not that far off. If they are, see if the artist is willing to work out a payment plan, where you can pay in instalments over a period of time. Or see if they have a smaller edition that costs less.
Barter: Use your services to earn the artwork. Maybe building a website is worth a painting. Maybe use of your cube van is worth a 7×7 pencil drawing. Maybe cutting 300 mats is worth a print. Think about what you have to offer in lieu of payment, but make sure you’re both getting a fair deal.
Trade: (Especially convenient in a school environment). If you love the landscape photograph your classmate just presented, see if she wants to trade for a piece of your work. Students often devalue their work because it’s “just student work”, so you can get a great deal.
Art is worth it. Do you already own a piece you love? You may not be the next Peggy Guggenheim, but if you know what you like you can have a collection you will enjoy, if not profit from in the future.