Investment in art
Buying a piece of art you like is one thing, if the art is seen as an investment, it is different story.
An art with potential is like finding a needle in a haystack since there are millions of artists in the market. The art market is a lot like the stock market, should one invest in a stock simply based on how he/she feels? Yes but there should be more. Much background homework has to be done before an actual investment should be made.
Reading reviews would be a start, but take a note that reviews and recommendations may have been written by influential people either for money or in connections. How can you justify something to be sound and trustworthy? How can we tell that someone is qualified? Or, from a different point of view, qualified by whom? Always back your instinct up with a good examination by seeing more. Yes, your eyes learn. As you see more and more quality art and speak to more artists, you would be able to distinguish the substantial ones.
Investment takes time to deliver a return, so it is obvious that your investment should be viewed from a future perspective. Picture what your collection would be like in a decade or two? Is the art a trendy style, if so, I opt not to purchase as trends go in and out? Some are only gimmicks and would not last the year. Good ones should possess a presence that sways you when standing in front of them.
To understand the art, you should get to know the person behind. Despite art fairs being the most direct venue to speak with the artists in person, the diversity could be confusing as one is bombarded by images upon images on the same day, not to mention the variety in quality. Nevertheless, it is a starting point to learn.
Email or social media are other ways to make contact. Personally, I prefer writing because of my hectic days. Becoming a friend over the net could nurture a friendship through exchange of thoughts. Through these dialogues with the artist, you get a more in depth feel to the pieces. Getting the artist to send you up close pictures or video of the art work helps when distance is a problem.
Idea and creativity
Creativity should not be the sole cause for an investment. An idea is just an idea and they are everywhere. In our times, there is no 'original' idea as copies are made and shared all over, intentionally and unintentionally. We have to look beyond and see what the artist did with that idea; idea is just the starting point, the drive, an intention, a basis, a platform for something to be built on.
Idea should be veiled under the skills and be part of the whole creative process. An idea should not be a focus for value. Without further development, idea has no life. Creativity is just the spark from zero to one; development is the work that injects history, character and personalities into a work.
We see a lot of artworks/prints that emphasize on 'limited edition' or 'collectors item', but with so many made and sold every day in every city, purchasing these would be like shooting wildly without an aim.
A label on 'limited edition' could be misleading if there is no way of telling the limit. Mass produced editions are copies to make fringe sales, most would not be worth much in decades. On the contrary, printmaking is a different story due to the master plate deteriorating after each print. A signed artist's proof (A/P) print is always a seal of confidence.
Find artists who are true to their art and examine their span of work over a prolonged period. Quality works should contain, aside growing skills, a spirit and determination for self improvement. The works should evolve in stages and reach different levels as the artist gains maturity. Examine the development and growth; the outlook and philosophy would, in comparison, be richer, confidence filled. The structure and style would speak directness effortlessly.
As a collector, you are putting faith towards your selected artist. In realistic terms, you’d also like to boost the value of the art you purchased. Collaborating efforts with the artists, the works would reach more audience. As more admirers adore the aesthetics behind the collection, words would get around. A rise in the number of collectors would in turn raise the value in the market. On the contrary, if the piece is merely put up on the wall in your living room for personal pleasure, it would simply get dusty and get thrown away by descendants.