Just like everything else, art collecting has drastically evolved with Generation Y and Z, especially for the young collectors who are in the weird, abstract viscera between these two generations. I’m 21: too young to be a Millennial but too old to be Generation Z. These generations are operating in a limited job market and an economy that’s only just now on the rise. Our generations prefer apartments and leases to purchasing homes, and many people my age opt to live at home out of college to save on rent and pay off their student loans faster. But despite limited space and limited funds, research shows that our generations have driven up the value art because the value we attribute to it. Our generations see art as both a financial and personal investment and believe in its aesthetic power to better our lives. Our generation is buying art for the sake of art, but it’s also an effort to support community and friends and even exhibit a little rebellion. I know I feel like a badass every time I take a new piece home despite the dent in my bank account. The pride in my collection is worth it.

from the collection of Lily Tischner

The real evolution in purchasing art comes from the age of the internet. Our younger generations have begun a trend in purchasing art online instead of visiting a gallery. The online marketplace is so valuable for galleries and artists and has made art so much more accessible to diverse and younger patrons. Following artists on Instagram provides insight into their personality and inspirations that inspires collectors of younger generations. Becoming invested in the artist as a person has now become a staple for collectors. I know there’s no art I value more than the art I collect from friends.

from the collection of Lily Tischner

However, I work in an art gallery. I am surrounded by artwork almost every day. I have the privilege of watching patrons’ faces transform in awe and appreciation for the beauty on the walls. There’s nothing more special than experiencing artwork in person before making your purchase. Browsing art online is a great starting place and an invaluable resource but for the true magic of collecting, seeing the work in person is second to none.

from the collection of Lily Tischner

Interestingly enough, another evolution of art collecting is the trend in the uprise in women in the world of collecting. While men still make up a greater percentage of collectors, with the way the numbers are growing, women will soon take over the majority of art collectors. Ergo, I asked five women in their twenties to illuminate for me what art collecting means to them.

from the collection of Lily Tischner

Paiton McDuffie is 25 years old and works as the marketing coordinator and lead web designer at the Woodshop. She is also a former dk gallerina. Paiton says that one of the reasons she’s attracted to art is because it humbles her but also instills a passion for knowledge-seeking: “For me personally, collecting art is important because it is something that has intrinsic value. It not only brings me happiness and joy, but it causes me to think. Most of the art that I have collected challenges me to consider the artist as a person, the circumstances, the message, and the purpose that surround the creation of the piece. When you intentionally bring an object like that into a space that you inhabit on a daily basis, it changes your perspective on any number of things, and that is important to me. I never want to reach a point in my life where I’m under the delusion that I know everything, that I’ve seen everything, that I can’t be taught anything new. Art does just those things.”

from the collection of Lily Tischner

Paiton says that art, like love, is blind. It doesn’t discriminate. And as for starting a collection young? “Why not? When is a person too young to collect art? I love art. I always have. If I had the means when I was younger, I probably would’ve made a point to start collecting sooner. Again, art is for everyone – regardless of age, gender, race, religion, etc. If it touches you, challenges you, if you fall in love with it, do what you can to hang on to that. I know that I will continue to cherish the pieces I have currently, and cannot wait to expand my collection in the future.”

from the collection of Lily Tischner

Krista Moase is 22 years old and our head gallerina at dk Gallery. She currently attends SCAD where she’s pursuing a Masters in Business Design and Arts Leadership. Krista describes the relationship and occasional disconnect between art and design: “Most of the people that I surround myself with are purchasing art for arts’ sake because it’s something they love. Whenever I purchase anything, I don’t think about how it would match perfectly with my pillows. No matter what, if I love the piece, I will find the perfect home for it. But then I feel like there are a lot of people who want the perfect HGTV apartment or house. But there’s a balance between not caring and caring down to the pens. I guess it’s basically the difference between art and decoration.”

from the collection of Krista Moase

Caroline Long is 20 years old and in her third year at the University of Georgia where she studies landscape architecture with a minor in horticulture. She is also a bartender at the famous — or should I say infamous — Centro. Caroline describes how art isn’t just a reflection of herself but also the outer world and how expanding that worldview affects her own mindset: “By nature I am someone who takes a lot of joy in being surrounded by beautiful things.  It’s very important to me that places I’m going to be spending an extensive amount of time in, whether that be my bedroom in my apartment or my desk in the design studio, are not only comfortable, but aesthetically pleasing.  Collecting art doesn’t just allow a space to feel more your own; it connects that space to other people, places, ideals and cultures.”

from the collection of Krista Moase

Caroline describes that there’s something extrasensory about art collecting, like every moment has converged perfectly for you to discover this one piece: “I’m so guilty of being an ‘It’s a sign!’ person, so finding art I love and then going down the rabbit hole of who made it, what made them make it, and what they had in mind for it to represent is another one of my favorite parts about collecting art: the connectivity a piece brings between you and someone you may or may not ever meet.”

from the collection of Krista Moase

KC Nugent is 21 years old and studies Art Education with minors in Art History and Gender Studies. KC points out something I never considered before: Art is oracular. There’s a quality to it that gives you insight not just into who you are today but also who you will be. She explains, “I started collecting art before I even knew what I was doing – from sketches my sister wanted to throw away to photographs I found in my basement – and it allowed me to surround myself with these found treasures. My collection is even more important to me because it helps me see my future: this piece in that kitchen I want, that piece over the bed I dream of, and this series in the hallway that I see myself walking down. My collection brings me peace in showing my past and future selves all at once. I believe everyone deserves that.”

from the collection of Krista Moase

Camilla Grayson is 22 years old and is a self-titled “beer wench” at a brewery in New York City. Basically, she handles packaging, sales and distribution of local craft beer. Camilla collects art for personal and political reasons, citing art as a form of revolution: “A lot of my art consists of screen prints and photographs, mostly pulled from DIY community shows, zine fairs, and friends. I like the connection my art feels like it has with my community, and its punk origins are a lot more accessible for a post-grad budget like mine. Collecting art, especially in these spaces, supports creativity, outspokenness, and even radical revolution — all important values that I think we need most in this current political atmosphere.”

from the collection of Krista Moase

As for how the art affects her space and her mental and personal mindset, she says, “It feels like a special, fun investment into creating my own space and building my personality. I think I’m in the period of self-discovery where I’m learning what I like and don’t like, and when I find something that uses words or strokes or just general expression to describe a feeling or part of my personality that I couldn’t yet put into words, it’s a satisfying find. When an artist finds a way to speak for parts of me or about our general existence on this planet I didn’t even think to recognize, it’s really exhilarating.”

from the collection of Paiton McDuffie

She expands on how each piece of art affects each other: “I like seeing all my pieces come together and seeing them displayed together. I don’t have much space in my tiny New York apartment, but when I add a new piece to my collection, I like how it can sometimes transform the art around it too. It’s all about how the art works together in the space grows with the other pieces around it. There’s something symbiotic about how the pieces in the collection interact with each other; Art can take on such different meaning depending on how it’s displayed, and I think that flexibility and growth is cool.”

from the collection of Paiton McDuffie

Camilla believes in the importance of starting to collect art at a young age: “I think when you’re young, you’re in such a crazy time of growth, and finding pieces that can either guide that or strengthen that can be really valuable. I also just moved to the city, so the older part of my collection can represent where I’ve been, and the newer inspires me to discover New York’s culture and build it. There’s never a wrong time to start collecting art, but if you’re waiting to be an old fart with a lot of money to make your move, I urge you to think differently about the art world.”

from the collection of Paiton McDuffie

Art is essentially a reflection of who we are at the moment. If you start young, an art collection is like your youth behind glass — always there for you to look at and experience, even as you mature.

from the collection of Paiton McDuffie

By Lily Tischner

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