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Investing in a fine art collection is one sure-fire way to know we’ve made it to adulthood. We’ve long been having visions of grandeur that involved strolls through our favorite galleries, gazing and stopping with a slight sway of our pointing finger while whispering, “I’ll take this one” to an attractive, over-educated art dealer. Or perhaps we’ll skip the gallery entirely and send the hot artist a direct email, because one day we’ll be rolling like that. If you want to really nest, originals by Chad Muska or even prints by Matthew Brandt can cost you upwards of $6k. Add that to the down payment of that DREAM apartment and take a look at your status quo.


“This Hollywood” by Gregory Siff

Ivan Illan boasts the real-deal scoop: mixing the classic “collector” experience with new-school attainability. We garnered the attention of Aligne Wealth Preservation and picked his brain for a few short minutes to have him dish on budgets, the strength in making ‘dem gallery friends and how patronage expands thy art eye:


“Eyes As Dark As Egypt by Louis XXX

LA CANVAS: When did you start collecting art and how did you discover the art pieces that you have purchased?

IVAN ILLAN: I started collecting at a very young age, perhaps, 15 years old. My mother is a fine artist, so I grew up attending art fairs and gallery exhibits. We were always going to museums when I was a kid. The “real” collecting began in my mid-twenties, when I stopped creating my own paintings and mixed media work due to having less time from increased success in my chosen career. I had a little more money that I could allocate to buying pieces that I enjoyed upon first look, and artists whose work I wanted to support. The art I’ve collected was discovered through personal relationships built through my involvement as a MOCA patron over the years. Once a fellow patron shares with me a recent discovery, I’d visit the gallery to see what else was going on. Developing relationships with art advisors and gallerists is a vital part of being a collector.

LAC: Can anyone be a patron of the arts? How does one get to a point of financial health where you are able to start collecting art?

II: Being a patron can start as easily as joining a local art museum, Los Angeles has many long-standing museums that send invitations to their members regularly to exhibit openings and other special programs. Being a member can be dome for as little as $65 for annual membership, and the return on that investment from an education and access perspective is well worth it. If you can afford your coffee shop latte, you can afford being an art patron.

LAC: How do you determine how much is reasonable to spend on art? Do you set aside a certain budget?

II: I’ve never set a budget on art collecting so to speak. It’s because I never know when I am really interested or excited by something. That being said, a great way to get started is buying limited edition prints of emerging artists, prices can start as low as $350-$500 for “A” class emerging artist prints. Even if it’s one piece a year, you’re now in the game, and are part of the art collecting community, playing an active role in shaping the art world’s future.

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