On Collecting Art

The Huff Post recently posted an article on how to buy art in the marketplace today. It discusses prints, and various forms of giclees, and hand embellished prints as well as original works. It touches on buying from local galleries, making payment over time and other information when dealing with a local gallery and emerging and seasoned artists. Many of the artists may not be well known beyond their geographic area and or gallery representation, but it is not unusual as an appraiser to see this sort of entry level art in some of our client's collections.

The Huff Post reports
Fairly recently, a well-known artist friend of mine, was having a special release of her work to help raise money for a worthy cause. There were pieces priced for every level of collector to be able to own something special and unique. This was the point, to make the work and event accessible to all. Despite this fact, and the fact that even the more one of a kind and original piece of art were very low priced, in my experience and opinion, there were still people complaining about the price. I see this often on social media. People commenting that they wish they could own a piece, but they cannot afford their prices, and again, their prices are often very low compared to much of the market, and for an original piece. In seeing this so often, it dawned on me that people do not realize that there is an art to buying art, and that you can collect and grow a collection on any budget. The problem is that people don’t understand the process, their options, and the types of work available to them. They think collecting art means that they can only buy original pieces, so they are deterred by sticker shock.

To start, let’s define different types of work you can acquire from an artist. You can buy a high-quality print. These are not the posters of days gone by that you are thinking of. These are images of their originals, done on high quality paper, and that can be very attractive. Also, don’t forget the many art books you can buy, that allow you access to a multitude of works by your favorite artists. There are also the toys for grown-ups they design, that are incredible. Later in this article, one of the gallery owners mentions that there is only one original, and that could not be truer. Prints (above image is a print) are an affordable option to own your favorite image, your favorite artist, and to allow you to sit with several artists’ works in your home, and decide who really speaks to you over time. A next step up might be a Giclée, which is a slightly higher quality fine art or photograph reproduction using high-quality printers. From here you might want to move up to a Signed print or Giclée, that are slightly costlier, are made in much smaller series (they are signed and numbered), and are more sought after.

A next wonderful step up that you can take, and that I love, is the Hand-Embellished Prints and Giclée’s. These are almost always signed, are exceptionally small batches, and are each unique in their own way. The artist takes a Print or Giclée, and they embellish it with paint, glitter, mica, leaving, anything that gives it a little “bling,” and an extra special touch. When I have the chance to own a hand-embellished piece, I jump at it. The next step is your first big move. You have decided that you are absolutely in love with a certain artist, and that you simply must own an original piece of their work. If you feel like this, you absolutely need to. That is part of living with different prints and artists, to get to the point of confidence in the investment of an original piece. To feel that any saving or sacrificing is worth the effort. It took me almost a full year of monthly payments to own my first Gary Baseman original (hint: most galleries will work out at least 3-4-month payment plans to make the investment more feasible for you), and there was never a moment where I doubted the effort or expenditure.

Several galleries, such as Corey Helford Gallery (which also has an amazing print side I showcased an image of earlier), hold “Art Collectors Starter Kit” shows 1-2 times per year. These are shows where some very well-known artists, make pieces of work that sell for about $800-$1200 each. A Huge discount from their typical original works which can cost many thousands more. I buy from these shows to continue to expand my collection, and to be able to own original works by a greater variety of artists. Again, even at these low rates for an original piece, galleries will let you split these payments up to 3-4 months on average, making that splurge, much less of a sacrifice. From here, you can decide if you want to be on the look-out for pieces of work by certain artist that go the next step up. Get to know gallery owners and Directors by e-mail. Let them know your lists of loves and must-haves, and the will reach out of something comes across their path in your price range by that artist. This is how I acquired my second Gary Baseman original (I had an obsession early on in my collecting), and tapped into the resources that these professionals have. My next original was a Camille Rose Garcia (something Jan Corey and I had in common). They can often locate pieces from private sellers, that you would otherwise not have access too.

To emphasize, and support this method of collecting and building your assortment of art, I interviewed the owner, Jan Corey, of Corey Helford Gallery, to get a professional take on the art of art collecting. I was pleased to hear that Jan’s journey and path mirrored my advice. Corey Helford has both an original art side, a print side to the business, as well as holds, “Art Collector’s Starter Kit” shows each year. Here are some of Jan’s thoughts:

“My first foray into art collecting started with buying comic books. I think they were only 25 cents when I started. Oh, how I wish I still had my early issues, but who knew comic books would soar in price. I was especially drawn to the covers of the books. I was collecting art by incredible artists and being entertained. These artists included, Jack Kirby, Frank Frazetta, Frank Miller, Alex Schomburg just to name a few. Much later in my art-collecting journey I could pick up some original artwork by a few of my comic book heroes. I think comic books are a great way to start collecting art. I still collect comic books. I buy specific series to read and I also buy comics just based on a great cover.

I started added toys and prints to my collection next. I love prints and add them to my collection frequently. There’s only one original after all. My first big print purchase was one of Camille Rose Garcia’s hand embellished prints. Camille was also my first major painting purchase. Before I found pop-surrealism, I collected a variety of genres. Photos were my first love …and then one day I saw a postcard with a skull headed man driving a colorful vehicle that resembled an ice cream truck, but it had a piece of meat painted on the side. Children ran excitedly toward the odd man with a skull for a face and an Abraham Lincoln hand puppet. The palette was bright and cheerful and the feeling of, I found my home, washed over me. It was my first introduction to the crazy wonderful world of pop-surreal art! I exclaimed to my husband “I have to go to this show!” and he said, “Nah, I don’t like the meat.” Ha ha. Of course, Mark Ryden is one of his favorite artists now. A very important note about collecting is buy what you love and don’t listen to the peanut gallery. I don’t buy art for investment; I buy art that I want to love, and want to look at every day. If the work increases in value someday, that’s wonderful, of course.” Please visit Corey Helford’s site to see Brandi Milne’s (top photo) current show, to sneak a peek at their show that will open in a few weeks, as well as to view all the prints that have available, which composed many of the images of this article to make a point.

I hope this article shed light on the MANY options that you must own works by your favorite artists, to explore work by new artists, and to start to discover what art you love and that speaks to you. As you can see from Jan and I, we still buy books, prints, giclée’s, and hand-embellished pieces. We care more about if the work evokes something in us, than if it is by the biggest name you can find. We are grateful for the many options that are available to us, and that make making art a part of your life, and your home, within reach for just about anyone. Many artists sell prints for as little as $15-$35 ($250 on the very high end), so it is not as hard as you may have thought to quickly build up your collection. Believe it or not, artists WANT to offer these options, as they want their work to be accessible to anyone who it speaks too. They appreciate each fan, from a print owner, to the owner of one of their originals. We also must remember, that creating a painting or work of art takes a great deal of time, expense and very hard work on their end. This is their living, and they deserve to be able to thrive at it. In return, they make sure that their work is something we can afford and enjoy within our means.
Source: Huff Post

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