Meet Tze Chun, the founder of Uprise Art, the gallery for the next generation of art collectors. As an artist and entrepreneur, Chun wanted to make the culture of art and building an art collection less intimidating and more accessible for a more vast population of people who might be new to engaging with and collecting original pieces. We sat with her to get her insider tips on what it takes to build an art collection, rules to keep in mind, and how much it costs.
When and how did you get started in the art world?
I have been a visual and performing artist for as long as I can remember. After studying art history in college, I worked in the arts for several years before starting Uprise Art in 2011. At the time, I noticed that many of my friends loved going to museums and had great taste, but didn’t own any original art. At the same time, I saw wonderfully talented artists in New York struggling to find support for their work. I knew there had to be a better way to connect these two groups. For a new art collector, it’s hard to know where to start, so I built the company to offer education, transparency, and ease, and solve many of the problems I saw in the art world.
Art collecting sounds like a daunting hobby. What do you tell someone who wants to start building their own art collection?
It’s very simple – always collect art that you love, not something to fill a space. You can collect only one type of art or an eclectic mix of mediums and styles. The only thing that matters is that the artwork makes you happy in your home. If you want help discovering artists, Uprise Art matches collectors with a personal art advisor, who can help curate artwork options based on what you are looking for, free of charge.
How much does it cost to collect art?
Historically there is little transparency in the art world (something I’m trying to change!), so it’s often difficult to understand pricing, but budgeting with art is no different than anything else. You can spend $5 for a shirt, or $500. You can spend $3K a month on rent or $30K. Similarly, there is original art at any price point and it’s up to you to decide how you’d like to invest. We have an “Art Under $800” section of our website that highlights affordable pieces (some start at $60!) that are all one-of-a-kind originals and help new collectors start collecting unique artwork.
Are there any rules when it comes to art collecting?
Finding art requires work. Decide on a budget and then set aside time to look at art. If you don’t have time to make it out to the galleries, start your search online. Read art news websites and follow curators and blogs to familiarize yourself with what is out there. Our gallery features interviews and behind-the-scenes studio visits with artists in the Uprise Art Journal.
Finding art is in many ways similar to searching for an apartment. When researching artwork, look at the construction and how it’s made. Think of the design and aesthetics of the work, its history and the period in which it was made. Above all, how do you experience the work, and how does it resonate with you emotionally and conceptually. There are endless options out there when it comes to art, so don’t settle. And when you do love fall in love, make it yours. There is only one of that artwork that exists, and once it’s sold, you’re out of luck. I always advise collectors to sleep on it, but that if they keep thinking about a piece of art, that’s when they know it’s the right one.
What are your thoughts on art in the digital world?
With so many visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, people are now more accustomed to processing visual information. They are constantly curating, even if only through online boards and feeds, and training their eye. It’s very empowering that people are more in tune with their own tastes and aesthetic interests. As a gallery owner, I think it helps people more quickly identify when a piece of art really speaks to them.
Outside of art, what are your passions?
Yoga, modern dance, Chinese home cooking, and spending time with my two-year-old daughter.