When it comes to collecting art, everyone has different ideas. Many people might think of centuries-old paintings with price tags in the millions. Others might picture simple prints by obscure artists, or works they’ve commissioned. Some even might have NFTs in mind.
Just as the meaning of collecting it is subjective, so too is art itself, as we all know. Maris Holopainen, co-director of Qube Gallery, is no exception, explaining that the works in her collection usually have to tick this first big box, regardless of medium, genre, or artist: “I buy artwork that speaks to me. Hence, the works I have bought are quite a mixture of genres.”
With the nature of her work, it’s no surprise that her passion for art has seeped into other parts of her life. “I started collecting art to decorate my living spaces. Then, as I filled my walls, I slowly became more discerning and confident in my taste in art,” Maris shares.
Much of Maris’ collection sits in an apartment in the city—a little secret spot for her to unwind. Walking into this quasi-gallery, I was stunned. Paintings lined the walls right from the entryway, which led to an open space completely filled with more art and beautiful furnishings. I asked her why she didn’t live here, and her reply was simple: “The building doesn’t allow pets.” Enough said.
Still, that hasn’t stopped Maris from making a home for her collection. Keeping such beautiful art in storage is almost wasteful, after all.
Even though she doesn’t exactly frequent her personal gallery, she actually keeps more of her favorite pieces there than at home. These include some sculptures, paintings from her time in Indonesia, and other works by beloved Filipino artists.
Even with such an impressive collection already, Maris still keeps an eye out for new talent: “I do have favorite artists, but I love discovering new ones too. But now, I tend to buy from artists who have a solid body of artwork and not one-off works.”
“You have to love it at the point you purchase. There may be periods in your life that the work won’t be your favorite, but if there was love in the first place, the work will always be valuable to you.”
Entering the art world as a first-time buyer might seem a little daunting, but Maris reassures that there’s really not much to it. So if you’re looking to start your own art collection, but don’t quite know how, Maris shares these three simple tips to keep in mind.
Buy what you love
“That should be the bottom line,” Maris says. “You have to love it at the point you purchase. There may be periods in your life that the work won’t be your favorite, but if there was love in the first place, the work will always be valuable to you.”
Do your research
As with any big purchase, you’ll want to make sure that you know every last detail. “If you are buying as an investment, then I suggest [you] do your research. Look at the different galleries dealing with the artists or visit auctions.”
More than just knowing the when and where of it, consider looking up the artist’s other works as well. Maris shares, “Read up about the work and the similar series. Study if it is a major piece representative of the artist’s oeuvre or a deviation. If the artist is no longer around to provide authentication, buy from reputable galleries and agents.”
Support artists with gallery representation
“This gives you the added provenance of being part of an exhibit with documentation,” Maris explains. “Support galleries that practice transparent pricing, [and] galleries that invest in online apps and promotions.”
Anyone interested in starting an art collection can feel intimidated by the intricacies of this pursuit. Maris Holopainen makes it look easy, but it’s important to remember that such an impressive collection takes time and effort to amass. With a little forethought, research, and genuine enthusiasm, you might end up sitting in your very own gallery sooner than you think.
Photography Pat Zosa | Hair and Makeup Artist Arnauld Echevarria