How to Include Urban Art in Your Collection

Urban art is a different breed of animal for many art collectors. However, it has exploded in popularity along with the increase in the display of large-scale public artworks. It is easy to understand why collectors, both young and old, would want to add these fascinating pieces to their homes and offices. There is a big difference between a work of art on the side of a bur or abandoned manufacturing plant and artwork in one’s office or living room.

However, before you give up on the dream to add urban art to your collection, here are a few tips to help you accomplish this with ease:


Be clear about your space limitations. Since urban art can be larger-than-life, make sure you have an appropriate location for the work you have found. If you want to purchase the wall on which artwork has been painted, that’s another story. This has been accomplished many times but can be a costly endeavor. Obtaining prints or photographs of urban artworks in public places (legally and ethically, of course) are a great way to get impressive art into your home and collection.


Determine if the content of the art suits the display. Since many works of urban art offer a message, you may decide that the message may affect the atmosphere in which it is displayed. This is especially crucial in commercial uses, where an inciteful work may not generate the kind of feelings one wants in the business. Don’t discount a work whose message doesn’t ring true to you, or you don’t subscribe to. If you love the work for its aesthetics, that is reason enough to display it.


Review copyright laws. The Visual Artist’s Rights Act gives artists minimal protection for original works of art, so before you take a high-quality photo with the intention of creating a print from it, make sure you are not infringing on copyright protection. One option is to work with the artist directly to get access to the work in its original location and then recreate the work in another, more mobile, format. Work placed on private property in a public location is usually owned by the property owner, so purchasing the real property (or improvement) gives you ownership of the artwork.


Purchase prints offered by the artist through a gallery or online platform.  Galleries and professional art companies who sell works have already done some of the legwork and stand behind the pieces they sell. By working with a professional, you can be confident that the work has been obtained or reproduced legally, and its provenance and authenticity have been proven. Some urban artists sell the works through galleries and other sellers, while others only sell their artworks independently. Art can be illegally duplicated with such ease in today’s technical world, so look for numbered editions to protect the value.


Consider purchasing pieces from emerging urban artists. When you begin buying works from them early in their career, you may establish a relationship with them where you have access to not only additional pieces, but they may be willing to create works specifically for your needs. If markets are controlled and reproduction limited, you can purchase a new piece which in a few years could skyrocket in price. The artists themselves likely want to restrain the number of duplications to maintain (or increase) the value.


In the early stages of any art genre, there are risks and unknowns. Will urban art truly become a collectible type, similar to collage art and digital photography? As long as there are art enthusiasts who enjoy a specific style of art, it will be a collectible. As in any other type of investment, there is no way to know for sure how successful a collectible urban art will become.  However, at the heart of art collecting is a collector’s love for art; therefore, whether you are looking for art as an investment or for something to display in your home or office, choosing an urban artwork should come down to selecting a piece you want to see in your life.


At Sybaris Collection, we understand the desire to find the perfect at to fit your budget and taste. Let us guide you in the journey to find works of urban—or any other genre—art to suit your individual need. From discovering works from emerging artists, arranging for delivery of artworks to your home, and even offering guidance to managing your growing art collection, our experts can help you be successful in establishing a satisfying art collection.