top of page
  • Writer's pictureAdam Millward

🎨 My Top Art Investing Tips!

🎨 Art Investing Tips I've Learned From My Own Experience

Let's face it - if you've ever considered buying an original piece of art, you probably hoped in the back of your head that one day, it might be worth more than you paid for it.

Believe it or not, I was actually an art collector and investor before I was an artist myself. So far almost all the art I've invested in has gone up in value, some by 10-15X in only 10 years. So, what do I look for when I invest in art? These are some things to look for that might indicate a good investment opportunity.

My #1 Strategy

Personally my strategy is I look for art by emerging artists. That means artists who are still making a name for themselves. They're the biggest gamble, but, they'll also have by far the highest potential return usually. If you buy 10 paintings for $500 you'll probably have a better chance at making at least one good investment than if you buy one painting for $5000.

When it comes to investing in emerging artists, you want to try to get their art directly from the artist themselves before they get into galleries. Galleries need to make money too, they have rent and staff to pay and utility and advertising bills AND need to make profit to stay in business, so artists prices will usually go up quite a lot when an artist starts to get regular gallery shows. And by then it will be too late to get a good deal buying direct from the artist, because they will have agreements with their galleries that prevent them from selling pieces for a lower price.

So, how do I pick who to invest in?

You'll want to look for artists that are super dedicated, creating new work all the time, ideally doing it full time so they have no choice but to grind and hustle, produce more art and make contacts, and become more well known to keep going. Look at their social media accounts. Do they have lots of active followers? Do they post often? Do they reply to people's comments? Do you see them posting about art they sold? Do you see them doing small events, and making things like stickers and prints with their art?

One important thing is to look for artists whose work is consistent in style. If an artist makes a mishmash of different styles, you'll never know which one will become their signature style, or if they'll ever even develop one. While it is possible that an artist working in different styles can become well known, it's rare. As an investment strategy, look for consistency and a signature style.

And what about the art itself?

As far as the art itself, look for a title, date and signature on the piece. An art piece with that information will always be easier to resell compared to the exact same piece without that information. Imagine a painting named "Where Sky And Sea Meet" signed Bob Prince, dated 1978 vs the same painting listed as "Mid 70's modern, Untitled, unknown artist" - if you had to choose, which one would you want? I bet you even pictured something in your head when you read that title, name and date!

And in the art world there is a hierarchy of value at least partially based on materials used. Generally, bronzes and marble sculptures are near the top, because it's super expensive just to get into, forget become well known for. So, the few artists who do become known, generally get well known in wealthy circles.

Next comes paintings, there are some artists who use old fashioned materials like egg tempura on linen canvas, and those might be considered the most valuable. Then oil paintings are often perceived as being worth more than acrylics, however as acrylics prove their long term durability and more and more artists are using them, that gap is slowly closing. After that would come watercolors and at the lower end would be pastels, colored pencil drawings and inks etc.. There's too many possible materials to cover every one but this covers the most common ones you'll encounter. One thing to avoid is art that's made with experimental or very fragile materials.

OK, what else?

Ideally, it's a huge bonus to get a picture of the artist themselves with the piece, even better if you can get a pic of you with the artist and the piece. They call that provenance and it proves the chain of ownership and that you actually got it directly from the artist. Especially once the artist dies, that will really help verify the authenticity of a piece, because no one can send the artist an e-mail and ask "Did you do this one yourself, or is it a fake?"

If you're buying art online/through social media, one even better thing is to ask the artist for a signed letter of authenticity/receipt specifically mentioning title,date, dimensions, materials, date of purchase etc.. And maybe even ask if the artist can do a drawing or doodle on the letter. It'll just add extra "flair" or whatever you want to call it compared to a piece without that extra direct connection to the artist, which again will make it more desirable than having the exact same piece without that flair. Don't be afraid to ask, tell the artist it's because you think their art is awesome and you consider it a good investment and most artists will consider it a great compliment and be happy to do that for you.

Anything else to consider?

One other thing to take into consideration is to go for the biggest piece of art you can afford size wise. Bigger pieces are always more valuable long term, like 40 inches and over because they can be displayed in bigger homes, and office and building lobbies, boardrooms etc... Big companies like insurance and pharmaceutical companies actually have very knowledgeable art curators on staff that invest in art for the companies portfolio, and of course for decor. So for the same reason an artist is best to create big art as much as they can for their long term success, an art investor is best to invest in big art.

That being said, if you can afford a smaller original VS a big print,go for the smaller original. Originals will almost always be worth more than a print no matter the size. Also, a collection of small pieces by the same artist can be displayed together as one collection making a similar impression to one big piece. So, sometimes buying a few small pieces when you can over time is better than not buying anything because the big ones are out of your price range.

Have any other questions about investing in art?? Reach out to me and I'll be glad to share my thoughts and experience. And please share your opinions and art investing stories in the comments! -Adam

I invite you to visit my website @

143 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page