Like many artists, I have a growing art library with hundreds of books. For most of us, it takes time. Art books are costly. Many of the books have been purchased used or on sale. Countless times, as I have exited through the gift shop, browsed the books at the museum and have had to exercise restraint. Not purchasing everything I want or even anything.
10 years ago I was on a whirlwind visit to London cramming in as many museum visits as possible — Everything from the old Tate, to the new Tate, to the National Portrait Gallery, etc. I bought a few books and saw so many more I wanted. And then there were the artists I discovered like John Wonnacott. I would have bought a book had one existed with his work. I had to satisfy myself with a few postcards from the museum shop. I bought quite a few postcards during that trip in lieu of art books.
The stack of postcards was growing when I returned home. I decided to buy a simple binder/photo album and began adding the postcards as I collected them. 10 years later my personal art reference book is nearly full and it will be time to start a second one. If I counted all the cards purchased for the book I might be a little shocked by the investment, but I don’t regret it.
Creating your own art book in this way is a way to save money and also add works to a book when a published book may not exist. It is also so much more. It is somewhat of a journal of art you have seen and appreciated. As you look back on it, you may even ask yourself, “Why did I select that one?” It is a record of your taste and how it may change over time. The only difficulty is when the gift shop has a paltry collection of postcards. And for the record, I would not recommend collecting coffee mugs instead of postcards.