By Patricia Frischer
Brain Candy: The Art Collectors - A Virtual "Salon Series" presented by Vanguard Culture with a lineup of collectors, gallerists, appraisers was a discussion about the 'ins and outs' of art collecting in an ever-changing world. This event was geared toward aspiring art collectors and artists with work available for purchase. With Sonya Sparks - Sparks Gallery, Elsie Arredondo - Arredon Art Gallery, Johnny Tran -Thumbprint Gallery, Alexander Salazar - Alexander Salazar Fine Art, Jon Stock - NFT / Gallery Professional and Patricia Frischer, San Diego Visual Arts Network facilitated by Susanna Peredo Swap. More info: Bailey Gillis
Before the panel, questions were asked of the participants in order to prepare. The following were my answers giving you a reduced view of the entire panel. I tried to make my answers short, but there is a full book of articles on SDVAN’s Smart Collector. The full panel is archived so please listen to all the participants through Vanguard Culture.
Our SDVAN feature Smart Collector has a whole section on Collectors Business Basics. It also has sections on The Collectors Marketplace (where to find the art), Meet the Collector (interviews with locals) and The Published Collector (bibliography of collectors’ resources) and Collecting Insights for Artists (marketing and resource lists). We wrote a table of contents for an art collectors advice and commissioned articles to help with any and all questions.
- What is trending right now? What artists or styles should collectors be paying attention to?
I don’t really believe in following trends. Buy what has meaning for you. Right now I see an upsurge in interest in African American, Latinx and Indigenous. In San Diego, cross border art is always of interest and all four SD Art Prize recipients this year are addressing these issues. We are having a renaissance of equity issues and when this much attention is paid to a subject, prices can go up. There is also new interest in P & D artists. Pattern and Design in San Diego include Kim MacConnel and Kelsey Brooks from Quint Gallery.
- How do I ensure the artwork I purchase is original? What types of questions should I be asking the gallery?
Ask for a certificate of authenticity when you buy. It should state the work is original and if an edition what edition number. This could be signed by the artist or by the gallery selling the work. You can also ask to see the provenance of the work which should list other owners and where the work has been on public display.
- What does the appraisal process look like? What types of resources are available for authentication of artwork?
You need an appraisal mainly for insurance, or if you are giving a work of art to a non-profit and want a tax deduction. Official appraisals which are long and expensive, look at the published market for the work i.e. auction prices mainly, but also any secondary market that can be documented. It is harder but possible to present sales invoices from private galleries. Work is compared to other work in the same category (size, medium, style, period) We have a complete SmartCollector article on appraising the work of living artist.
- Is purchasing art a good investment? Why or why not?
You should buy art you love. It can be a sound investment once the art prices are documented in the public auction records. In 2017 Sotheby's Acquires Mei Moses Art Indices, an Analytic Tool that rates artists with a point system. France had used a point system for years an artist had a point value and that was multiplied by the subject and size. But this was more for the convenience of pricing the work as it traveled to different galleries. There are vaults in Switzerland where art for investment is stored and no one every sees it except when it is exchanged from one owner to another. But if you want that, why not just buy stocks?
- What exactly are NFTs? Should I be investing in them?
NFT is a way to authenticate a digital image. But it very energy expensive and only time and the future of bitcoin will tell if this is a good investment.
- What are red flags when it comes to purchasing artwork?
If it is by a well know artists and seems like a bargain, watch out.
If it is a high price by an artist without a good resume, watch out.
If the provenance is not established, watch out.
- What do I need to know about insurance?
For expensive works the insurance is expensive so maybe insure for repair cost if work is damaged, or to pay for a private investigator if stolen. You can insure just part of a collection. There is a one time fee for Title insurance in case ownership is in question. Remember to insure art in transit.
- Should I hire an art attorney?
If you have legal documents to sign, of course, you need someone knowledgeable in the field.
Artists with Art available for purchase:
Our SDVAN feature Smart Collector has a whole section on Collecting Insights for Artists.
- What kind of a relationship do collectors want to have with artists?
I find collectors in San Diego are very envious of artists and want to meet them in person. They admire the life style and innovation or creatives. Most don’t want to hear art speak so don’t worry about talking the talk. Collectors can use artists to find other artists they might like so be generous with your introductions. But be loyal to your galleriest and don’t forget their percentage if sales occur outside the gallery space.
- What is the best way to approach a gallery? What should you never do when approaching a gallery?
Scout out which gallery you might fit into and visit it first. Talk to other artists in the gallery. Go to openings and meet as many people as possible. Never bring your work to a gallery without an appointment. Respect that clients always have priorities over artists.
- Are NFT's something I should be paying attention to as an artist?
Pay attention to everything! Curiosity is one of the main strengths of a of good artist.
- How can I increase the value of my art?
Make better art. If appropriate, make larger art and try to make art for public places and get commissions. Raise prices slowly as your resume improves. Never jump prices too high too fast. Encourage your art is eventually sold on the secondary market so there is documented proof of increase in price.
- How do I price my art? Smart Collector Collectors Basics Pricing
Demand – Do you have a waiting list? Do your shows sell out? In general scarcity and desirability make for demand.
Expenses – Is your process expensive, are your materials rare?
Quality – How does your work compare in price to others in the similar categories with similar resumes?
Scarcity – Do you work slowly or can you churn the work out? Are early series which are popular now limited in quantity?
- Are there resources out there for those who want to sell their art online?
Read a book first, then take a workshop. Choose a book that fits your style of learning: antidotal or bullet point lists. We have a bibliograph online in Smart Collector under Collecting Insights for Artists.
Patricia Frischer has taken on the roles of gallerist, curator, writer, teacher, website coordinator and artist. She is founder of the directory and events calendar San Diego Visual Arts Network, which funds the SD Art Prize . She has curated exhibitions including Movers and Shakers: Who’s Who in SD Visual Arts, Little & Large, Art Meets Fashion and DNA of Creativity. Currently on the board of North County Arts Network, she is also an advisor for Encinitas Friends of the Arts, ArtsBusXpress and Synergy Arts Foundation. She holds an MFA in sculpture from California College of Arts and Crafts. Her own paintings and sculptures has been shown internationally. She was director of a London gallery, assistant professorship at Humboldt State University and head of the art department at Southbank International School. She is author of The Artist and the Art of Marketing and has lectured extensively on marketing for artists. Frischer writes A+ Art Blogs editorials monthly as well as art reports on current events. The SmArt Collector is an entire section of the San Diego Visual Arts Network dedicated to art collectors. Articles were commission on all aspects acquiring art works from collectors business basics, to marketplaces, to interviews and articles about collectors and even tips for artists wanting to sell their work.