TEN. magazine

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STARTING A COLLECTION


How/where should potential art-buyers start? What sort of legwork/research should people do?

  My advice would be to spend ample time looking. People who wish to start collecting should see as much art and as many different types of art as they can - it’s important to train your eye. Attend exhibition openings, visit museums and artists’ studios, read catalogues, scroll the internet and connect with other observers via social media. In the context of buying art, it is important to start building relationships with reputable galleries. Talk to artists, curators and gallerists to become - and be kept - well informed. But most importantly, learn to trust your own instinct

 

Is it best to start small?

  I don’t think size is really relevant here. Start with a work that truly fascinates you and look to determine the direction of your collection early

 

How should you decide how much to spend?

  This depends entirely on the individual budget, but it should be said that some of the worlds most notable collectors aren't necessarily those with the deepest pockets. Many works of art which may initially seem out of reach can be more easily acquired if purchased through schemes such as 'Collectorplan', the Arts Council of Wales' interest free payment plan. Through Collectorplan, approved galleries can facilitate loans of up to £5000 to purchase the work of living artists. The whole purpose of the plan is to encourage people to purchase the work of contemporary artists - and it’s well worth taking advantage of if you are looking to start a collection

 

Should buyers be thinking in terms of a good investment? Or should they just buy art they love?

  I remember reading a quote from Valeria Napoleone, a London based collector, that said the best collections are those that grow over the course of a lifetime rather than those that are amassed at speed. Today, as the global art market is moving so fast and names in the art world are forgotten as quickly as they are made, it is reassuring to know that there are still those who take their time with an artist's work. Many people do buy art as a speculative investment and in a way there is nothing wrong with that. However, it is more credible to build a personal collection of work that is meaningful to you rather than amass a series of investments pieces to 'flip' for profit

 

Is the ‘print’ option a viable way to go?

  Absolutely, in the gallery we have many artists that work with various printing techniques, from woodcuts and mono-prints, to limited edition lithographs and screen prints. Prints can often be a young collectors first purchase, but I would shy away from mass produced giclee prints of original artworks as these hold very little financial value or artistic merit

 

Should people consider sculpture too (and why)?

  Certainly, some of Wales most notable artist are excellent sculptors. It might seem a bit more daring to collect and the practicalities of doing so can be restrictive, as sculpture demands space but, if the three dimensional is what attracts your eye, then go for it. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ type of art to collect, you’ll find what naturally draws you - whether it be the work of female artists exclusively, or mid-century Danish hanging mobiles - each good collection should - and will - reflect the collector

 

Should you buy art to match your furniture? 

  I would strongly suggest to not do so exclusively!

 

What are the advantages of buying art online? 

  The Internet has and will continue to revolutionise the way art is bought and sold across the world. after operating as a traditional 'bricks + mortar' gallery for many years, we have adapted to changing times and are putting much more effort into our online presense. we do however still offer the option to view works in person and in the context of an exhibition as this does adds a depth, both conceptually and aesthetically, that can sometimes be lost on a computer screen. As a gallerist, developing relationships with clients, understanding what they collect and why, is key. Equally having a good relationship with a gallery also has its benefits - from being the first in the know when new work is available to having the opportunity to meet the artists + discuss their practice

Being an advocate for an artist’s work is also more than just being on hand to sell it. I often find myself engaged in conversation with clients who are looking to better understand the work of my artists. The opportunity for this sort of dialogue is not usually so easily available to online purchasers, hense why we developed 'by invitation' which allows our clients to access a side of the art world that is usually only reserved for a select few

I see the Internet continuing to impact both the primary and secondary markets where live streams at auction houses can be viewed remotely from smartphones or PCs. The process is convenient and nonthreatening and people of all walks of life are now engaging with the internet on a daily basis. what is becoming more obvious for businesses is the need to stand out from all the noise + differentiate yourself from others in a way which is more engaging, both in terms of your online following but more importantly to your customers

 

How do you know if a piece of art or sculpture you like is any good?

  This is a tricky question as it opens up a much wider, much debated theme of what is ‘good’ art, what is it that makes a particular piece ‘good’ and who decides what falls into the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ category. My advice is to - above all - buy what you love

 

Is there a secret to buying good art? Do you need to be an expert?

  You most certainly do not need to be an expert to buy - but having knowledge does help to back-up initial attraction. Having detailed knowledge of the artist, as well as an understanding of wider art history becomes hugely important as you continue to collect - it will help inform and confirm your decisions. Those works which are considered important in an artist’s practice - whether an excellent example of the artist’s work, particular work which signifies a certain period in an artist’s career or a piece that has won awards etc. - these become cornerstones of a collection. My advice is to talk, ask questions, enquire - the gallerist is a fountain of knowledge on those artists which are represented and knows the ins and outs of the art scene, so ask

 

What would be your ultimate tip for art-buying newbies?

  I have three - all equally important - be informed, be brave and learn to trust in your own opinions