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An Inside Guide To Starting An Art Collection

Posted on February 11 2016

For first time art buyers, starting an art collection can be a daunting task.

To find out how you can avoid the pitfalls of art buying and build your dream collection, we caught up with Nick Campbell, Founder of contemporary art consultancy Narcissus Arts


Starting Your Art Collection

How did your career as an art consultant start?

Around 6 years ago I came across an increasing number of friends and acquaintances who had a desire to buy art under £10,000, but on the whole didn't have the time or knowledge to find the work they were looking for. Through my experience in the art world I knew that art consultants were a dime a dozen, however they were generally for helping people with more substantial budgets. There was no consultancy in the UK designed to aid people with lower budgets for buying art, so I created my art consultancy Narcissus Arts, and later Narcissus Interiors, to cater for this global market.

Tell us about Narcissus Arts? What’s your ethos

Narcissus Arts' ethos is simple; be the leading art consultancy in the UK to help individuals and businesses find and acquire the best art for under £10,000. Along with sourcing the right work for each client, we also strive to make the whole experience both fun and informative, breaking down various barriers that art buyers face all too often.

Where can people start their search?

The art world is vast, and the endless works on offer can indeed be daunting. I would firstly suggest trying to narrow down the search by identifying what in particular you love the most, like photography for example. From there you can then start looking up galleries that specialise in that medium whilst also searching for art fairs, exhibitions and prizes. Another great place to look for any art work when starting out is degree shows.

What things should people consider in their art buying process?

There are a number of areas people should be aware of when buying an artwork. If you are buying secondary market works from a gallery, auction house or dealer, it's important to consider aspects such as condition, authenticity and if possible, find comparable art works in order to make sure you are getting a good price. If you are buying prints or photography, be aware of edition sizes and how they can effect price.

Any do’s and don’ts?

Rule 101 when buying art is only buy something if you love it. All too often people are swayed by external advice, or false promises of financial again. At the end of the day you will be the one living with the work so if you are going to get joy from looking at it everyday then that's the reason to buy.

Your top piece of advice?

The art world can be a murky place at times, and important aspects such as condition, authenticity and price need to be properly researched and considered. I would strongly advise speaking to a trusted art world contact or established company to aid you with your purchase.

What art trends should we look out for in 2016?

For sometime now the art world has been going through a rather interesting shift, especially at the lower end of the Contemporary market, so I am little unsure of what trend we will be seeing this coming year. Regardless of this, I would always advise people not to be too influenced by trends. 

What’s your personal art style?

I have to say that I really do not have a personal style, and will tend to buy anything that catches my eye from 19th Century engravings all the way through to artworks from graduate shows. My most recent purchase was a beautiful, large black and white photograph by a talented young artist called Nicholas Feldmeyer.

After All by Nicolas K Feldmeyer



The Curator's Choice: Nick Campbell's Top 10

1. Untitled - David Shrigley - I love his basic, playful works.

Untitled - David Shrigley - I love his basic, playful works.


2. Elephant - Ugo Gattoni - interesting animal print. I also collect images of elephants.

Elephant art by Ugo Gattoni


3. The Cranberries - Storm Thorgerson - a favourite of mine for a long time. The master of surrealist album cover artwork. Excellent!

The Cranberries - Storm Thorgerson4. No Brilliantly Coloured Birds - Martin Boyce - I just really like it.

No Brilliantly Coloured Birds


 5. Winter - Hey - a sort of Gary Hume type landscape.

HEY STUDIO, Winter, OUTLINE EDITIONS. Limited Edition print.


6. Franklin Summer - Yoko Ono - beautiful abstract lithograph by a 20th Century icon.

YOKO ONO, Franklin Summer, BALTIC. Limited Edition Lithograph Print


7. Misty Trees - Bob Marshall - stunning, slightly spooky sepia landscape photography.

BOB MARSHALL, Misty Trees, OBSIDIAN ART. Original Art


8. Grayson Perry Scarf - highly entertaining and for a brilliant price.

Grayson Perry Scarf: British Museum Map


9. Slim Aaron's - The New York Picnic - an all time favourite of mine, this work could be almost taken from the pages of Great Gatsby.

SLIM AARONS, New York Picnic, GETTY IMAGES GALLERY. Photographic Print



10. Plate Lick (red) - Mary Ramsden - Brilliant British emerging talent. I love this little abstract work.

MARY RAMSDEN, Plate Lick (Red), WHITECHAPEL GALLERY. Limited Edition Etching.


@narcissusarts1 @narcissusinteriors.




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