Where To Start: Curating a Personal Art Collection

Curating a Personal Art Collection | Robin Colton Studio Austin TX Blog

Have you ever asked about the art hanging in a friend's home only to discover there was a fantastic story behind it? It was a surprise 10-year anniversary present from their spouse, they found it roaming the streets of Monaco, or they bought it after meeting the artist, while the paint was still drying. It is no accident -- art that has a story has a soul, and you can sense it. 

When friends ask about your art, you re-tell the story and are automatically transported to that special time and place - and your friends get to come along for the ride! Those memories, the stories, the art, stay with you through the years, through the moves from city to city. They even get passed from generation to generation.

Warhol Art | Curating a Personal Art Collection | Robin Colton Studio Austin TX Blog

Whether you are starting from scratch or adding new pieces, one of our favorite ways to curate your own personal collection is to visit local galleries. You don’t have to make it to Monaco or Paris to acquire a piece with a special memory or story (although we would love to join you when you do!).

When you visit local galleries:

You can discover up-and-coming artists. Not only does it feel good to support emerging artists, you can watch them grow into established names. That just adds pride over your pieces when you can say, "I discovered them when...."!

You can find a wide range of price points. People have the perception they have to invest in super expensive pieces in order to have nice art. But galleries have smaller pieces and art from emerging artists that are more affordable. So you don't have to own the Taj Mahal to start a collection - it's more about what resonates with you and what it means to you in that moment.

You can get personal attention. Most gallery owners are happy to have visitors who are not art aficionados. They are ready to help you begin your collection and will gladly show you around and tell you stories of the art, the artists, and the process.

You can see it in real life. There is no substitute to seeing the depth, texture, and dimension of art up close. When it's right in front of you it can speak to you. You'll know right away whether a piece resonates with you and finds a special place in your heart.

Austin is known for its music scene, but also has an incredibly vibrant art scene. There are plenty of places to start - here is a list to get you started!

Photo: Big Medium, Instagram

Photo: Big Medium, Instagram

Robin's Top 5 Independent Austin Art Galleries

  1. Russell Collection Fine Art Gallery In addition to offering everything from the Masters (Picasso, Dalí, Chagall), to local art, to custom framing, Russell Collection knows how to throw an unforgettable event. Like one event we attended that paired art with food. Local chefs were teamed with local artists to create a tasting dish inspired by the art and artist.  The inspiration piece was hung at each chef's table, and the inspiration came through loud and clear on each one.

  2. Wally Workman Gallery You are sure to crack a smile at Wally Workman. This contemporary gallery is a great place to find variety among local artists - from stunning paintings, to amusing sculptures, to light-hearted collages. Regular shows let you get to know multiple artists every month.

  3. Davis Gallery & Framing Davis also offers custom framing, along with a wide range of art mediums. You'll find paintings, prints, sculptures, ceramics and more here. Staff are happy to host you, whether you're coming to shop or just to meet a friend in an interesting locale. Visiting one-on-one with someone who has a vast knowledge and passion for art truly brings pieces to life.

  4. Canopy This collective of galleries is a co-op space where artists work and show. You'll discover someone new with every visit. Nothing compares to seeing where an artist works, hearing their story, and seeing them at their craft. With a wide variety of mediums and perspectives, you are sure to find a new favorite.

  5. East Austin Studio Tour | West Austin Studio Tour While not technically galleries, you definitely want to put these tours on your calendar. The free, self-guided annual events often let you step foot inside artists' studios - and even their homes! - to meet them, hear their process and inspiration, and see their tools and techniques.

There are many more fantastic galleries in town. Keep exploring with this list of Austin galleries and nonprofit art spaces. Let us know which are your favorites, using #austinartfaves on Instagram and Twitter!

For more inspiration on choosing and hanging art, watch Robin's TV interview on House Proud!