There is an obvious difference between an appreciative art collector and an impostor who wants to look artsy. The previous one seeks for meaningful pieces of art, and the latter is more tend oriented.
While it is true that art is a complex and vast subject that cannot be discussed in only one session of excitement. But with enough common sense and a willingness to release the inner artist in ourselves, anyone can at least grasp the safe basics of collecting art.
Here, you are going to learn how to avoid looking pretentious and desperate of showing off when it comes to purchasing arts.
Know yourself to know your arts
Do a reflection of yourself and see what aesthetics you can appreciate the most. Are you more of a rebellious thinker than a law abider? Do you feel the urge to violate or embrace the common convention? What does it mean for something to be artistic? These questions are the heaviest ones to ask, and when you think you know the answers, that is exactly the time you do not know anything and have committed an overgeneralization toward art.
Contemporary arts appreciate authenticity above anything else, and that is why, sometimes, some contemporary arts harbor elusive beauty that needs a sharp analytical mind to unveil. Classic arts, on the other hand, are simpler to appreciate. Works that resemble the presumed reality (mimetic property) deserve utmost appreciation.
Consult art history book
There is nothing more sensible to understanding art than approaching the subject chronologically. Art history book can show you how one artistic creation is related to another. Regular exposure and pondering on the subject will, without doubt, create associative abstractions between artistic pieces. This process is vital to nurture an organic taste of art, instead of pursuing the trend and becoming a victim of the art capitalism.
By reading books, you will know how Classical Arts of the West were very different from the East, and how it all has developed into the ones that you find on the contemporary art exhibition. It is crucial to know the distinction between contemporary Japanese art and its traditional root before you put a Shizuko Greenblatt’s work on your collection.
Show yourself in more art gigs
The previous two suggestions are all embracing you to have a firm theoretical background. But the efforts shall not end there. You should be more active with participating in art-related activities, name it exhibition or seminar. Direct contact and discussion with critics can also develop your art collecting instinct.
But always remember to know the limit of your knowledge and respect other people’s thoughts, especially the critics and veterans in the business. Be a good listener and mimic their thinking formula.
Then, after you have had enough confidence and collected some arts, dare to show them to other enthusiasts. Be open to what they say, but do not be afraid to argue and stand your ground.