With stock market investments hardly the go-to choice that they once were, investing in art has been steadily growing in popularity and becoming a more mainstream choice over the past decade.
The art investment advice we hear most regularly is to buy art you really love, rather than art you don’t really resonate with, but you believe will gain in value. This is really great advice and illustrates the primary advantage of art as an investment – you get something to display in your home or business premises that gives you real joy and pleasure over the years, whether it gains in value or not.
Graduate art is the cheapest to buy. You may not every sell the piece you buy for millions – but there’s a chance that you might, and the initial investment is low enough to be worth the risk. Art by famous and well-established artists is expensive to buy, and the net returns are lower, but the investment is a far surer one.
A couple examples among the hundreds of artists who have gone from little-known graduates to multi-million sellers within their lifetimes are Peter Doig and Tracy Emin. Doig sold little work when he graduated, but is now Europe’s most expensive living painter. Emin’s crude and sketchy style may have been passed over by many visitors to her graduate show, but uber-collector Charles Saatchi recognised the challenging shock value of her work early in her career, and helped propel her to fame and fortune. She’s now one of the world’s top-ten most expensive living artists.
So with this in mind, how do you go about choosing your investment from amongst the many new and undiscovered artists practicing at the moment? Two elements are important; one involves your emotional response to a piece, and the other involves a bit of practical research.
In terms of the work’s appearance, as I noted earlier, you have to like it and be able to imagine living or working with it on your walls. But secondly, undiscovered art which has the potential to go *really* huge at some point in the future will have an, if not shocking, then arresting sense of originality. It needs to be something that is just really, really different –this shows that the artist has a well-developed visual identity and is ahead of his or her time.
The second and more practical consideration is the work’s longevity. Paintings, for example, should be properly stretched and use professional quality, lightfast paints. This is something you can determine when you speak with the artist, agent or gallery.
With installation and sculpture, think about how you will store and preserve a piece if the material or execution are unusual. Mark Quinn’s “Self”, for example, is made in frozen human blood, and its owner (currently the National Portrait Gallery )must keep the freezer switched on at all times, to avoid this multi-million pound piece simply melting into a puddle.
Ready to invest in a piece you love by a new or emerging artist? Visit Art2Arts’ Latest Artwork section to see the newest of the new.