Interested in collecting, but not sure where to start?
As part of our conversation with Russell Tovey and Rob Diament of Talk Art, we asked for their best advice on how to start a collection with minimal budget, but maximum enthusiasm. From framed vintage Hermès beach towels to limited-edition prints and puzzles, their answers were inspired.
“If you love an artist, then buy one of their books,” says Tovey. He suggests that a targeted eBay scroll will usually reveal some older publications, too. “There’s also collectable books,” Diament adds. “Artists sometimes make a book almost as an edition, it might even be signed by them. Ok, it might cost £100 or £200, but they are so beautiful and they’re artworks in their own right.”
“Put a Picasso postcard on your mantelpiece and you’ll see it every day – that changes you,” says Tovey, on the power of a pocket-sized print of one of your favourite artworks. Diament suggests looking out for charity postcard sales, too, for a fun and rewarding way to collect. “Like the RCA Secret postcard sale, Russell’s done that over the years and he’s ended up with some amazing little paintings and drawings, for around £250.”
Limited-edition prints are a great entry point to falling in love with collecting art. “Museums and institutions often have editions programmes – such as Studio Voltaire, and Counter Editions – where you can get a print edition of 50 or 100 for around £50,” Diament explains. “As do South London Gallery, Camden Art Centre, Whitechapel Gallery, Tate – if you can push yourself a bit on budget then editions are just an amazing thing to do,” Tovey adds.
“There’s an art fair that happens in Miami called NADA and they often make editions to celebrate each launch,” Diament continues. “They once made an amazing puzzle with artist John McAllister, which you could put together yourself and frame.”
Ps. You can find limited-edition artworks here on Lymited, too.
4. Beach towels
A wild card that makes total sense, Tovey has recently discovered the joy of a limited-edition designer beach towel. “Hermès release beach towels every year that are incredible and they go back for years. If you go on eBay, you can find vintage Hermès beach towels (unused of course, they don’t have suntan lotion all over them!) for really cheap – frame one of them up, they look amazing,” he suggests. “You’ll find ones that are really Art Deco, Postmodernist, or Brutalist; they are brilliant, elegant pieces, all designed by the fabric and print makers at Hermès. And they’re all limited editions. Hang one in your bathroom – there’s something really exciting about that.”
For Diament, it’s the smaller-scale, but no less exciting, tea towel that’s got him hooked. “Companies like Third Drawer Down, who are based in Melbourne, Australia, release these amazing tea towels that are literally art works, you could frame them,” he shares. “They probably cost about £30 or £40. You can get one by Louise Bourgeois, for example, that’s an embroidered recreation of one of her unique works, they’re so beautifully done. They’ve also done great ones with David Shrigley, eg. the ‘Be Nice’ rainbow on a tea towel, I’ve seen people frame those. They’re beautiful and will become really collectable later down the line.”
Read more about Rob Diament and Russell Tovey’s obsession with collecting, here. Meanwhile, their book, Talk Art: Everything you wanted to know about contemporary art but were afraid to ask, is out now.