Buy My Art Please

Many artists cling to the idea that selling art through an art gallery is the best way to move their stock, but it isn’t.   In today’s digital environment, artists have more control over who sees their artwork and how collectors purchase original and limited edition pieces which means that art galleries are now just one distribution point for an artist’s work not the only distribution point.

Because more channels are opening up, art curators and art critics with a solid knowledge of art history and contemporary art are becoming an invaluable resource for collectors focusing on emerging and regional artists.   By using the resources available, collectors can visit galleries and art studios feeling more secure in their art collecting strategy.

Showing artwork once, twice, a million times

Images on the internet are a great way for artists to showcase their artwork but they are not sufficient to make a purchase of artwork above a certain price point.   Seeing the work of an artist in person and getting to know the artist’s style is important to make sure that the art piece is not a fluke but representative of the artist’s body of work which is why I’m usually visiting the art studio and asking the artist about the work he or she has created.

I’m not alone in this attitude.  When I worked with the curators at the Singapore art museum, curators were busy visiting artists and sharing information about what was happening in the art scene.  Curators discussed current artwork and what pieces the museum could afford to buy.

As collectors of emerging art or regional art, we must ask the same questions when evaluating what to purchase.  Luckily for collectors artists are learning how to use social media and the internet to strengthen their brands but today collectors still need to think about the following when building an art collection filled with emerging artists.

  •  Is the artist productive?   As a collector of emerging art, you want to make sure that you are not the only person collecting that artist’s work and that if you mention the artist to someone, the artist will have enough work in stock for the person to find a piece they will like.
  •  Is the art unique?  All artists can make an abstract.  Just plop some paint down on the canvas and there you go.  What makes an abstract special is how the artists creates it.  If you want to see interesting abstracts, look at what Simon James creates.  His abstracts are interesting because the way he makes his art is interesting and, different.
  • Does the artist want to sell?  There are more than 3,000 registered artists in the Munich area.  Three thousand.   Make sure you are collecting art from an artist who makes it easy for collectors to buy their art and who wants you to buy art.  There is no need for you to deal with an attitude or to jump through hoops to buy art.  As the collector, you have the money and there are plenty of talented artists to choose from.  Make sure the one you pick is one that you can easily promote.
  • Is the art worth the price? – Emerging artists sometimes have no idea what they should charge for their art.  This isn’t necessarily their fault.  They are taught at the academy that they are making fine art and therefore their artwork must be expensive.  The problem with this mindset is that no collector wants to waste their money on an art piece that will not increase in value.  If the artist doesn’t have a body of work sold or a strong collector base, their art should be priced in the impulse purchase price range no matter how fine the art.  As a collector, you have the right to ask for artwork to be reduced in price.  If you are buying from the artist directly, ask for a discount.  If you are buying art from a gallery, 40 to 50 percent of the purchase price is going to the gallery so wait and buy a piece directly from the artist.  If the artist refuses to give you a discount, walk away.  There are too many artists worth collecting and I know the ones looking for you to buy their work.