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  • ART COLLECTION 101: STARTING YOUR COLLECTION

    by: Kwami Merzier

    We know that collecting art can seem intimidating, but in reality any one can do it. As the internet continues to shift into our main medium of communication, more and more resources are available to the general public. This means art collecting is becoming less exclusive and easier to accomplish. Here are a few tips to get you started on your art collection.

    PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE

    First and foremost, collecting art requires patience. Though you may be tempted to add any eye-catching piece into your collection, the best approach is to take a step back and think on it. Research and background information can save you a lot of money (and needless to say, save you the headaches). Many impulsive buyers fall victim to overpriced or even fraudulent pieces. When considering a piece, it is important to look around and read the accompanying documents to make sure you are paying the appropriate price for the work. Visit galleries and exhibits to get an up-close and personal view of the work.

    HIRE AN ART ADVISOR

    Consulting an art advisor can be another route to take when building up your art collection. In addition to their expertise and working knowledge of the market, art advisors have a useful network. They have relationships with galleries and sellers who are a little more exclusive. Sometimes art advisors can even get you discounted prices with sellers they have rapport with. You can find information on the benefits of an art advisor can be found here.

    BUY WHAT YOU LOVE

    As an art collector, you should buy what you love. Many amateur collectors make the mistake of buying for profit. Because of the complexity of the market, only insiders know what piece is on track to bring in a return. Consequently, the best pieces to add to an art collection are ones you enjoy. This way if you don’t get a return , you still end up with a piece you love.

    BUDGET

    Your budget is a deciding factor in how difficult or easy starting your art collection will be, but there are options if you don’t want to spend too much. If you are looking to save, prints and editions of an artist’s work can be bought for significantly less. Another option is to finance through a financial service or the gallery you are purchasing from. Though they may not advertise the fact that they offer financing, most are open to setting this up if you are serious about it. Keep in mind, however, just because financing is an option, it is not advised to make such purchases unless you can afford to pay for the art in a reasonable time frame.

    DEVELOP YOUR NETWORK

    Even when first starting out on you art collection, networking can prove to be essential. Be sure to step out to local galleries, exhibits, and events and introduce yourself. Sometimes relationships can be built before your first purchase is made. This can give you access to more galleries, valuable advice, potential discounts, and a leg up in the market. Be on the look out for local student and emerging artists. Sometimes these artists may have some unlisted works which they can sell to you at a reasonable price. Relationship building will not only provide you with access to art pieces, but will also give access to a wealth of knowledge and people to learn from.

    Though the art market is vast and always changing, collecting art is something accessible to everybody. Keep these tips in mind and remember that the most important part of art collecting is to have fun and stay inspired.

  • THREE REASONS TO CONSIDER AN ART ADVISOR

    by Kwami Merzier

    Whether a greenhorn or a veteran, getting access to the art you want to purchase can be stressful. As the art market continues to grow, more and more collectors are flooding the market. These collectors are buying limited pieces from some of the more well-known and well received emerging artists. With the vast amount of options and competition from other buyers, many collectors opt for an art advisor.  To get a better understanding of the benefits of art advisory, lets look at a few reasons to consider one:

    REFINE YOUR ART TASTE

    Before you can successfully begin you art buying career, you must identify what type of art you want to buy. A qualified art advisor will initially give you an interview to get a better understanding of what type of art you have a tendency of leaning towards. In addition, they can then take this knowledge, decide if your taste is profitable or not, and/or push you in the direction that you need to go. Not only can one help you unleash your inner art aficionado, but they can also educate you on the business side of the market. You can develop a great grasp of auction sales and the inner workings of the market working with them. Being more knowledgable allows for a more enjoyable and profitable process.

    ACCESS NEW DEALERS

    Unfortunately, many galleries won’t do business with a collector who does not have an established presence. In fact a lot of galleries save some of their best works for some of their most loyal clients.  An art advisor is a great way to circumvent this problem. Throughout their years of experience,  art advisors will have developed a large network of collectors, galleries, and sellers. This means that when they are working with you, their resources are within your reach. They can pull strings and get you access to more elusive galleries allowing you to get your hands on work that you otherwise wouldn’t.

    SAVE MONEY

    Part of an art advisors job is to manage and limit the transaction risk associated with buying art. Due to their understanding of the market , they can easily tell if a piece of art is overpriced or is a feasible investment. They are more suited to act as your advocate and negotiate for you. Advisors can also let you know what pieces are more profitable than others through market analysis. Advisors may sometimes have additional discounts with certain galleries which could allow you to receive certain pieces for a fraction of what they were priced for.

    With all these factors in mind, an art advisor should be on the top of your list if you want to minimize risk, have a better art selection, and have access to more art.

    Sources:
    Art Demystified: What Do Art Advisors Do? | artnet News. (2019). Retrieved from https://news.artnet.com/art-world/art-demystified-role-of-advisors-596927
    Why do I need an art advisor? |. (2019). Retrieved from https://winstonartgroup.com/faqs/why-do-i-need-an-art-advisor/
  • INFLUENCE, HOMAGE, AND ORIGINALITY IN THE ART WORLD

    By Alexandra Herrmann

    There is no lack of influence in the art world. Artists have been influenced by the work of their predecessors and contemporaries for centuries; as well as by certain themes, subject matter, and styles that reemerge with the flow of trends. Although these trends and similarities in the art world are inevitable, great artists know how to take inspiration from their influencers and create work that’s truly unique. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “There is much difference between imitating a man and counterfeiting him.”

    We have all heard the saying that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but where is the line drawn between imitating and counterfeiting in the art world? The answer is simply originality. While an artist can have technical skills and an aesthetic presence, if their work lacks creativity or originality, then it also lacks artistic merit. An artist should be able to break down their influences, discern what inspires them, and allow that inspiration to evolve into its own creation. Consider the belief that, “good artists copy while great artists steal.” If an artist is able to take an influence and make it completely theirs, in other words “steal” from it, then they can be respected as a notable artist in the art world. While influence and imitation can be evident, so should the artist’s originality.

    What is Originality?

    Originality does not dictate that a concept has to be completely unique. In fact, this may be near impossible because nothing is created without prior influence. For example, think about style; Just because an artist decides to sling paint, does not mean that they are necessarily copying or honoring Pollock. While Pollock may have influenced an artist, how that artist decides to apply that inspiration to their work can greatly affect their final creatio

    Influence can also come in the form of subject matter, where certain themes are commonly observed in the art world.  For example, an artist is not counterfeiting or paying homage to Michelangelo by creating a Pieta because the influence of the subject comes from Christianity, not Michelangelo. Artists are able to have common subjects in their work while allowing their personal style and design to create artworks that are original. However, if an artist were to completelycopy another artist’s work then that would be a counterfeit.

    So why do individuals create counterfeits of another artist’s work? The reasons vary, among them: the artist’s influence, financial success, aesthetics, or a myriad of other motivations. Art forgeries have always been present in the art world, with the intent to “rip off” or plagiarize the original artist. Forgeries have turned up in museums and have been sold on the art market, passing off as the original work.

    While forged works are not respected, the same is not necessarily true for works that are paying homage to an artist or their work. Paying homage indicates that the intent is not to “rip off,” but to honor. Artists who pay homage to another’s work will still show evidence of their own originality; think Manet’s Olympia to Titian’s Venus of Urbino. While the imagery or style may be the same, works of homage are often able to be discerned as an individual unique artwork, and can convey different meaning than that of the work it pays homage to.

    Homage Outside of the Art World

    Artistic counterfeits and works of Homage are not limited to the fine arts but are also found in pop culture. Famous art can be recreated in media such as in television shows, magazine photographs, and music videos. While this artistic appropriation can connect to the audience, it is ultimately a borrowed concept if it is not presented in an original fashion. Lady Marguerite Blessington believed “Borrowed thoughts, like borrowed money, only show the poverty of the borrower.” This is where, once again, originality is a vital part of the creative process in order to gain artistic merit. If the concept is simply borrowed, it cannot be considered the art of the borrower.

    In addition to pop culture, the modern age has made art increasingly available to the public. The promotion of art on the internet, Instagram accounts, and the ability to look up just about anything makes it very easy for artists to discover and draw inspiration from others. While artists have an endless source of inspiration, there is also an endless source to borrow from. When artistic concepts are so easily borrowed, it can be a challenge for artists to maintain a sense of individuality in the art world. Simply put, for an artist to be respected, they must have originality in any form of art they create. An artist should not borrow if they cannot make it their own.

    Influence, homage, and originality are important factors to keep in mind when you are both viewing and collecting artwork. As a collector or patron of the arts, you must understand the artist, what inspires them, and how they are respected in the artistic community to ensure that you are looking at a truly creative and original piece of art. New works of art will always be influenced by existing artworks, the singularity lies in how the artist chooses to use that inspiration in creating a true original. Support the artist that creates something new, admonish the artist that forges for profit.