Wednesday, January 28, 2009

NBC5 story featuring Marty Walker Gallery

Last week we worked with reporter Brian Curtis on a story about how art can be an enjoyable and often sound investment alternative. The piece also featured one my clients, Casi Bowers, discussing the purchase of her Douglas Cartmel piece and its appreciation. A special thanks to Casi for participating and doing such a fantastic job.

If you'd like to see the story, CLICK HERE, then to view the video click on the b/w painting shown.

I am appreciative of how Brian and the crew at NBC5 stayed true to the intent of the story, that art CAN be a good investment, but it is important to buy what you love, as with anything else these days you never know for sure if it will hold or appreciate in value. Art collecting is not a passive activity and should not be considered an investment alternative for the masses. That said, I DO think there are ways one can be smarter about buying art. Here are some of the tips suggested for those new to buying art but didn't make the final edit, not in any particular order.

1. Buy what you love, start with smaller purchases by lesser known artists. Upgrade your purchases when you become more confident and knowledgeable.
2. Educate yourself by going to reputable gallery openings, art fairs, (such as upcoming Dallas Art Fair), studio tours, talk to artists, dealers and other collectors. If you live in DFW, familiarize yourself with the local galleries. A great place to start is Contemporary Art Dealers of Dallas' new downtown space on Main St between the Joule and Neiman Marcus (MAP). Become a member at a local museum such as the Dallas Museum of Art or the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and attend their lectures and educational opportunities, read art books and magazines, sign up for a few art history classes.
3. Art is not a passive activity and takes time and legwork to develop your eye and learn about the field. If you do not want to spend the time, I would suggest that you locate a reputable art consultant who can help guide you.

I would also like to share that I have never had a client come in and ask me what artist or which artwork would be the best investment. Nor do I ever encourage a purchase with speculation. From my view, supporting artists earlier in their career (pre-auction activity) has potential to hold its value or achieve significant gain should the artist's career take a favorable path. It is not that uncommon for an artist's work to increase in value at this level, you just don't read about it because the media tends to favor the drama of auction sales. Many of my clients have made very good decisions on works of art not only purchasing from mine as well as other galleries, but supporting artists even at a pre-gallery level. SOME of the factors and/or combinations of any of the following that often cause contemporary art to increase in value are:
  • museum purchases
  • inclusion of artist in important exhibitions and collections
  • publications, press, monographs and catalogs
  • supply and demand
  • prestigious grants and awards
  • artist gains entrance into higher profile gallery
  • favorable auction results

Some pros and cons of collecting contemporary art:

  • enjoyment from beauty and intellectual stimulation
  • the joy of collecting and creating a new social network
  • excitement of the hunt
  • diversification potential of art in a portfolio
  • supporting and contributing to the cultural fabric of your community

  • art has less liquidity than most financial assets
  • the owner enjoys the work so immensely that he/she is less likely to sell it
  • requires a bigger investment of time and effort than money

Recommended reading for beginning collectors: