ArtInfo Offers Three Tips for Novice Art Collectors
From the years preceding the current financial crisis, it'd be pretty easy to get the impression that art is only for a small percentage of the world's wealthiest. Thinking this way, however, could lock you out of the greatest art buying opportunity in nearly 20 years. Even great art is relatively cheap right now, so if you've been looking for a reason to enter the market, you've just found it.
If you get creative, you can make your art investment stretch even further in today's tough market. Artists and galleries are desperate for the sale, so they'll generally find a way to work with you (as long as you're within the current definition of "realistic").
1. Join an "artist of the month club"
It's not as crazy as it sounds. There are several clubs that will send you emerging artist pieces for a few hundred dollars a month (just remember that this can mean up to 12 new pieces s year ... make sure you have space for them). Invisible Exports' Artist of the Month Club, which is run by a Lower East Side gallery, sends members a piece every month for an annual fee of $2,400 a year. If prestige is an issue, this is a gallery buy, so you can puff your chest when explaining to your friends how your gallery helped.
[Photo of glass artist Charley Keila]
2. Cruise the art fairs
As we saw at ArtHamptons this year, the galleries are eager to move product, and art fair attendees just aren't buying as much as they once did. Since artists and gallery owners still need to eat, you could take advantage of these events to beat them up (even more) n prices. And, since they've invested in having a presence at the fair, they will be desperate to get a return.
3. Find an artist, go direct
Galleries and fairs and auctions all involve middlemen. In addition to paying your artist, you have to pay a premium for the role of an "expert." This can be helpful in digging up cool emerging artists and getting some sense of the investment history associated with a particular artist, but it is costly (sometimes a 30 percent premium over what the artist would charge – sometimes more). Go directly to the artist to save a boatload of cash. Even better, the piece you buy will mean more to you, as you'll have a better sense of the person behind it.
How do you find an artist? Most cities have art districts or art-walks. Word of mouth helps, as well. And, you can harness the power of the internet. Check out sites like Etsy and even eBay to find new and virtually unknown artists. Hey, if you contribute to the start of a trend, you'll only see the value of those pieces rise.