Chicago-based contemporary art writer and curator, Claudine Ise, speaks from experience in telling us to begin collecting art ASAP. While most people would think to wait (until gaining a more extensive knowledge of art and of course, having money to collect expensive pieces), Ise gives advice about how and why to begin an art collection as early as possible (i.e. in your early 20s!!!)
She makes a good point in saying that your mid-20s may be the only time you will have any disposable income to spend on what YOU want, and that it's a time when you won't have to ask someone else (like a spouse or partner) before purchasing a piece of art. But as someone in her mid 20s, I'm not sure what "disposable income" she's referring to (especially in this economy). However, after reading the entire article, I do see how it's possible...
I agree with Ise that developing ones own tastes over time is important. Beginning an art collection early is a good (and unique) way to stay independent and formulate individual opinions on what you like and don't like. Her notion of beginning a collection in your mid-20s as a way to create a narrative of one's personal history dating from early adulthood is idyllic: an art collection acting as a visual diary of sorts.
Ise also gives practical advice for how to afford an art collection in your early 20s (by purchasing art instead of the newest ipod, iphone, Mac computer, etc). This is definitely easier said than done for some - but art does last longer than many tangible items, so your investment will pay off over time.
She concludes by saying,"You don't have to buy expensive work to have a 'real' art collection," which pretty much clears up my monetary concerns. She claims a "good" collection for 20-something year olds could simply contain several small-scale drawings (less than $20 each, purchased from art benefits, holiday art school sales, etc.). Her advise is to frame the pieces as soon as possible, display the art with "flair," and look at it frequently.
Good advice... now go out and start collecting!