There are many reasons to buy art. The best reason to buy art is because you love it. But if you plan on becoming familiar with the art world I highly recommend you learn a little about artistic technique and that you buy the best that you can.
Recently we had a potential client come to the studio to view several works by Artist Jess Black. He appeared enthusiastic about several pieces, he was familiar with the prices when he made the appointment, but at the end of the viewing he stated that he needed to measure his available space before he commits. We have been showing art for years and have learned that serious art buyers already know their available wall space or simply don’t care. Several days later he sent an email explaining that he discovered a warehouse art sale where he would purchase his art for as low as $40 and thought it might be something that Jess Black should explore when showing his own art.
Does anyone believe that a mass warehouse sale is where one will be able to buy high quality art? It’s not impossible, but it’s not likely. Is it likely that an artist who is rendering works considered important in the contemporary art market and receiving international press will be selling at a warehouse with works by hundreds of other artists? Again, not likely. This comes down to becoming educated about art before making your first major purchase.
Years ago I considered an abstract painting an abstract painting because they were all the same to me. I rarely recognized talent in them and had no visceral response. An artist I worked with who rendered stunningly beautiful figurative pieces explained to me that abstract is the most difficult of all art styles. I thought this was impossible. Anything can be an abstract where as his paintings looked like photographs. He told me that in abstract there are no rules, nothing to tell you if you are doing it correctly. To render a high quality abstract one must be a master at composition, understand the interplay of colors and be brilliant at blending. For it to be good one must bare his soul or the painting will look boring. He stated that he paints from a photograph and that anyone who was good in art school can do what he does. In time I learned how to recognize talent in abstract paintings. I learned that abstraction is visual emotion. Each painting is a small part of the artist’s psyche, which explains why some artists have a difficult time selling certain pieces.
By contrast, most of these warehouse sales are filled with poorly rendered and mass produced paintings. However, they do not appear poorly rendered if one is uninformed on art and this is a first time purchase. In a few years the purchaser will be like how I was and will no longer want these items on his or her wall. The art they should have purchased from the artist’s studio is no longer available and has likely already increased in value. There will always be emerging artists out there with fair prices so all is not lost, but it goes back to buying the best that you can. Buy quality and be happy.
Art varies in price due to the cost of producing it and by client demand. A new artist who has no gallery shows under his or her belt will likely have lower prices, but the art will not typically be as mature as it’s going to be. Personally, I enjoy buying from brand new artists. I speak with them, learn about their artistic goals and I follow their career paths. To me art is personal. If I do not like the artist, I will probably not like the art for long. This is a very American attitude because in older countries the more eccentric the artist the more coveted the art. Artists like Jess Black are still fairly new but now have a handful of solo shows in art galleries, local and national press coverage, and are demonstrating an upward career trajectory. These artist are safer to buy from from an investment perspective because their art has already increased in value but the career has not piqued. These artists also have more sophistication in their work because they have been doing it for a while and are learning who they are as an artist. One should also look for these artists to continue to evolve. Collections should change. If year after year the artist is producing identical looking works then that career may be stagnant until a little reinvention occurs. Stagnation is a career killer.
Jess Black is about to release a new collection that explores the oppression and conflicts he felt as a child being raised a Jehovah’s Witness. This is very bold for him and he has already received international press interest after sneak peaking only one piece. The greatest artists in history all went through phases and artistic periods. Today’s artist should be no different.
Something else that has validated my belief in Jess Black’s talent is that he is now copied. Artists that I have been watching are familiar with Black’s work and occasionally comment on the Jess Black Fine Art Facebook page. I have also noted that many of them now incorporate some of Jess’s signature style into their own paintings. What I take from this is that Jess is so good that other artists are copying him and that some of these other artists are out of ideas. Again, the more immersed in the art world you are the more of these discoveries you will make.
Finally, another category of art is the Blue Chip artist, also known as “Dead Artists.” These artists are names with which many are familiar. These works are typically priced in the five digit range up to seven digits. People buying the works of these artists are usually well versed in the art industry or simply want to buy what is perceived as the best. Examples of blue chip artists include Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, and Roy Lichtenstein.
Again, one should buy the art they love and can afford. The more you learn about art the more your taste will become discerning. Art collecting can become a passion and it can be an exciting world to be part of. I would be happy to answer any questions that any of you may have. If I do not have the answer I will get it from a qualified source.