Given the craze around buying things you love and will last, it’s no wonder younger generations have a strong interest in investing in something unique and characterful that doesn’t have was mass-produced.
But the art world is struggling to shake its elitist reputation, so if the thought of going to an art fair fills you with a nagging sense of impostor syndrome, you’re not alone. .
However, London Art Fair director Sarah Monk assured us that many of the more than 100 global galleries exhibiting this year offer modern and contemporary pieces aimed at collectors of all experience levels, with a wide range of budgets.
Everyone is welcome, she says, and all gallery owners are happy to talk to established and aspiring collectors, especially their exciting array of emerging artists – defined as young or still relatively unrecognized contemporary artists. .
The likes of Charlotte Keates, who paints beautiful interiors reminiscent of the fashionable geometry of 60s and 70s design, and Athena Anastasiou, who combines paint and textiles to extend her images beyond their canvases, are waiting. than to be discovered by anyone with an eye for freshness. Talent.
Don’t assume you can’t afford anything
Yes, this 34th edition of the London Art Fair will feature world-renowned – and exorbitantly priced – works like Pablo Picasso, David Hockney, Bridget Riley and Joan Miró, but there’s plenty more on offer as well, so don’t don’t assume you’ll leave empty-handed if your budget doesn’t stretch into the stratosphere.
The London Art Fair is proud to offer a variety of artwork at varying prices, including entry level, as well as helpful support for first-time buyers in how to engage in online discussions (there is has one on collecting and curating art for the home, chaired by freelance interiors editor Mary Weaver) and informative guided tours of exhibiting galleries.
“It’s not just for that serious collector who spends thousands, and sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds,” says Monk. “It’s also for those wondering if they can afford something – and the good news is that they can.
“Try Jealous Gallerya popular London-based gallery that sells limited edition prints for under £300, and Contemporary Kittoewhich offers amazing paintings from just £350.
There’s also Wilder Gallery, which champions emerging female artists and is itself a new gallery that was launched during the first Covid lockdown of 2020. They’ve dedicated their entire space at the fair to Amy Beager, who is reinventing the figurative painting with its bold color juxtapositions.
Starting at £500, her new collection explores and celebrates ideas of love, longing, longing, transformation, rebirth and fantasy.
Buy what you like
Investments, including those in art, will always be at the mercy of the markets, meaning a juicy return is by no means a given. Monk’s advice? Above all, buy what you like.
“Lifetime appreciation of a work of art you love can never be a failure,” she says. “Plus, every time you buy art, you’re investing in the artist who created it. You fund them professionally, allowing them to develop and grow.
“Collectors like to form a relationship with an artist at an early stage in their career and follow their journey as it evolves.”
Investment-minded? Start building relationships
If your interest in art is at least partly financially motivated, try to establish good relationships with the gallery owners who exhibit the type of art you are interested in, in order to familiarize yourself with the background of their artists.
Monk suggests asking dealers what led them to identify a certain artist as someone they wanted to champion. What is it about their history and their work that has fueled their own passion?
“Of course, gallery owners want to sell their artists’ products, but they are also excellent mentors and nurturers of talent with valuable ideas to share,” she says.
“Ask about past exhibitions an artist has participated in and ask if they are part of notable collections. If they are more established in their career, check to see if they have featured in a major institution or public gallery exhibits.
Don’t be a slave to trends
Trends in the art world are as fleeting as they are in any other sphere, so beware of hastily jumping on a bandwagon. Instead, consider what makes an artist you’re drawn to unique and ask yourself why you’ll remember them. Because at the end of the day, whether for personal or investment reasons, buying art is all about initial – and lasting – connection.
One of Monk’s memorable picks from the London Art Fair’s up-and-coming group is a Paris-born Belgian-Congolese artist called Tiffanie Delune, who creates multi-layered pieces on cotton canvas, blending dreams and travel memories with symbols of his Métis family.
“Tiffany has a solo show with Ed Cross Fine Art, who often champions underrepresented artists,” she says. “Her unusual story – she is self-taught – and her beautiful paintings are immediately compelling.”
NFTs are all the rage but paper is still king
Predictably, given the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, the act of buying art has become much less impersonal over the past two years. Consequently, there is now a lot of buzz surrounding digital art and NFTs (Baffled? Read our handy explainer).
But also, in response, Monk noticed a growing appetite for physical art and the shared face-to-face experience of visiting a gallery. “Most collectors still buy paintings, drawings and sculptures, with works on paper remaining dominant and taken to new experimental heights,” she says.
There are no NFTs for sale at this year’s London Art Fair, but several discussions of the colliding worlds of art and technology feature in the 2022 program, so it’s certainly going with the times.
“One of the things people love most about the art world is that it’s always been controversial,” Monk says. “Trends come and go, but it’s great to discuss these new arenas and show that we are thinking and involved in the current conversation.”
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
If you’re attending your first art fair, rest assured that no question is too silly.
“Our gallery owners are true experts in their field,” says Monk. “They are extremely passionate and skilled in their field.
“Part of the reason the London Art Fair is so successful is that galleries are delighted to have the opportunity to come together with a community of art lovers and collectors, talk about their artists and to present new names. So ask your questions freely.
Buying online is much safer than before
The experience of seeing art in real life is unbeatable, but the pandemic has forced galleries to become more digital savvy. Most have now developed safe and user-friendly websites and social media platforms that cater to online shopping needs.
Many galleries are now sharing videos of their artists working in their studios, allowing collectors to get a clearer picture of who they are, and on the London Art Fair website viewers can zoom in really close to examine the surface of a presented work of art and see its color and texture come to life.
Monk keeps screaming Artscape, a new digital platform for art collecting that provides a trusted environment to explore and purchase fine art. Every work of art offered for sale undergoes due diligence to ensure security and transparency, backed up by certificates of authenticity and provenance on the blockchain.
“This means that if a collector is based overseas or is unable to make the trip to London, there are always ways for them to fall in love with something in our showrooms, to enter connecting with galleries and giving the artwork a new home,” she says.
“Buying online can certainly complement physical visits to galleries and art fairs.”
The London Art Fair returns to the Business Design Center in Islington from 20-24 April 2022.