If you’re looking to make your space feel more like a home than just a place to lay your head, St. Louis native and art aficionado Jacob Laws can help. His early experience with art, interaction with the art community and passion for personality represent what it means to own your space — and it doesn’t have to be monetarily restricting.

“Art is a reflection of the person that lives in the space. It’s your sanctuary [and] a visual representation of what you respond to; that cultivates your personal style,” says Laws, whose experience has landed him on the junior board at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis. “First, I would suggest doing your own research. If you want to start collecting, when you see a piece and it interests you, research that.”

Laws, an art connoisseur from a young age, has since accumulated a collection of intimate pieces, but he is aware that some collectors are just beginning. In order to start a collection, it takes a bit of knowledge to train your brain into understanding what works well together and is a reflection of your own style. “When you don’t know the market, it’s easy to fall for things just because they’re buzzed about. I recommend you learn about art and artists so the choices become your own. When you invest in something, that is your choice and you actually respond to it. When you know it feels good, then you really can’t go wrong investing in a piece, even if it’s $100.”

It’s imperative to not rush when buying art. “Collect slowly; art should be curated as opposed to taking more of a rushed, decorative approach,” says Laws, who believes a collection takes time to build. “It can take years to get an art collection together.”

Laws suggests art should be dispersed throughout a house equally. “I don’t think there should be one space that’s art heavy and then a space that is devoid of art. I’ve never followed the rule of thumb that art belongs in a specific space.” He also mentions that if you decide a piece is outdated in your house, store it away and rotate pieces to keep your house looking fresh. “It should be a piece you inevitably want to bring back out.”

For anyone wondering where to start, Laws recommends looking no further than the River City. “In St. Louis, we have great brick-and-mortar art institutions that are available to all; visit these places. I would recommend joining a young patrons group. Becoming a Young Friends member at the Saint Louis Art Museum is also a great place; a membership is invaluable.”

Laws explains it’s the community — specifically the art following in St. Louis — that can truly help a newbie learn what is important when choosing art. “When you go to [Contemporary Art Museum Young Friends events], it’s casual and approachable. It’s a great way to start dialog with other young collectors,” he says, adding these events also help to develop a relationship with art, the community and learn your own personal artistic style. M