You will often hear the phrase that art is an appreciating asset. This is largely true, because, by its very nature art is something that is original, one off, hand made, unique and most likely to hold its value or rise as time passes by. Sometimes this is true of the strangest looking, ugliest items in history; most often it is true of pieces of old art that have a story to tell, an era to reflect, a concept to convey – indeed sometimes a piece of art of archival, historical interest will become valuable for many different reasons. Often in terms of contemporary artists, their rise in value can come down to nothing more than clever branding, good pr or an interesting client list. There is no magic formula for guessing, but one thing is for sure, the most talented and competent artists will always rise, like cream, to the top.
So I guess investing in art is like investing in anything, one never truly knows – well, apart from a very knowledgeable minority – whether an investment will pay dividends or not. So if you are hoping for a financial return, art buying is a bit of a gamble (or, if you do your research, a somewhat more calculated risk). In this vein, the first bit of advice if you have already found a piece, is to do your research on that particular artist – what is their back catalogue like, who has bought them already, what is their career trajectory looking like?
The second bit of stellar advice is to love a piece personally before you buy it. There are some serious art investors of course, whose purchases will never hang on their own personal walls and will either go on long term loans to public collections or be locked away in a temperature controlled safe, but outside of that group, the vast, vast majority of us, will have to live with this piece of art in our homes or offices, until we decide to sell it or indeed pass it on to a loved one etc. So really and truly, for most of us mere art loving mortals, you should be really drawn to a piece before you invest in it.
This involves your heart obviously but for the mores serious among us, it also involves trusting your own eye somewhat. Being able to spot an artist whose work is competent and whose knowledge of their medium and how to apply it screams out from the canvas in front of you.
There are generally many hits and misses in peoples personal collections (thats what makes a collection interesting) hopefully more hits than misses in yours, but the most important thing of of all is to really enjoy it. Buying a new piece of art that you have fallen for, or had an emotional reaction to, is exhilarating – taking it home, placing it, moving it around the room, placing it again, staring at it for long periods of time and sharing it with others who visit. Building a collection, enjoying it and appreciating it for what it is – and all the while having the potential for added value – is an addictive practice!
Its exciting and we hope you have fun on your this, your art investment journey.
Featured Images: Adam Pomeroy, Padraig McCaul, Kaye Maas, Gillian Murphy, Diana Marshall, Kaye Mass (2) – full online catalogue at KILBAHA GALLERY