PEDESTRIAN.TV have partnered with our pals over at Set For Life to help you with your very first fancy piece of art purchasing. FYI, if you’re a bit tight on cash atm why not give entering our comp with these guys a whirl? You could find yourself with a cool $20k in your pocket. Get entering at the end of this article (after you’ve read it, of course).
So you’re getting to that point where you’re actually nesting, and not just settling for the cheapest possible share house room and storing your clothes in a “wardrobe” made of stuck together milk crates. And now that you’ve bought all the nice furniture, you’ve realised there’s a whole other element to your fancy pad missing – art stuff.
Credit: Fever by Skulk / Art Pharmacy.
Yep, we’re talking fine art – and not the “movie poster” kind. This is the real deal, where you can bring a date home and tell an actual story about the stuff on your walls that will 100% impress them. But how do you even go about buying that stuff? The real art that costs real, proper cash is a lil’ more complicated than the nice, but not authentic, reprints you might find on Etsy.
RESEARCH THE ARTIST
Just say you visit a local art gallery and find an amazing piece. Before you drop serious cash on that baby, check ’em out online. You don’t want to be swindled, so it’s always a good idea to know someone is legit before paying.
“It’s definitely important to research an artist,” says Emilya Colliver, Director of Art Pharmacy. “Look into their background, what they studied, what their influences are, and the kinds of projects they’re involved in.”
A very established artist or photographer is of course going to have a more premium price on their work as opposed to an up and comer, and while it’s rare, sometimes people are the worst and charge OTT prices for something that isn’t yet worthy of it. So know who you’re buying before you buy it. Want something insanely famous like a Lichtenstein or Warhol? Ooft, can they go for some big money.
“The best place to start with those kinds of pieces is art auction houses such as Sothebys and Christies. These auction houses have a big presence on Instagram, so if there’s a particular artist, like Andy Warhol, whose work you’re interested in it’s worth following them, and signing up for their e-newsletters so you know which works are coming up for auction,” explains Emilya.
Credit: Campbell’s Soup Cans by Andy Warhol / MoMA.
“For a really famous work of art you can expect to pay in the millions, but it’s important to remember that these works weren’t always worth such massive amounts of money. In 1962 Irving Blum, a Los Angeles art dealer, purchased 32 of Andy Warhol’s now infamous hand-painted canvases depicting Campbell’s soup tins for $1000. He later sold the collection for $15 million.
The point is, buy what you love – one day you might have a multi-million dollar artwork on your hands!”
Credit: Poolside Glamour by Slim Aarons / Galerie Prints.
SUSS THE DOCUMENTATION
A piece of true art will come with documentation, and that’s important because it tells you this is a legit piece and not a gussied up fake.
“Keep the invoice for insurance purposes,” says Emilya. “Or ask for a certificate of authentication. The gallery will always be happy to send you something with letter-headed paper confirming the authenticity of the work”.
By the way, you know when you see those little numbers at the bottom of a painting or sculpture? Like “1/45”? That means it’s part of an ‘edition’.
“Any work that can be reproduced, such as photographs, prints, or sculpture casts etc, will have be numbered and are part of an edition. The edition is at the discretion of the artist, however the larger the edition, the lower the price point,” explains Edward Woodley, Director of China Heights Gallery.
And editions have a bit of a different authenticity system.
“For reproduction works like photographs, prints, or sculptures casts, an additional authenticity certificate may be provided to denote what number of the edition it is. There is no industry standard for this, but it is best if it can be signed by the artist or gallery directly associated with the artist,” explains Edward.
Buying authentic art isn’t like jumping from stall to stall in Bali, so trying to wrangle 500 bucks off the listed price of a piece is not gonna fly.
“The listed price is the value of the work, so if you manage to purchase the work at a lower price, it would fundamentally devalue the work too,” says Edward.
Obviously, like we said above, it’s always good to do a little background research on the artist and previous sales prices before committing. But if you’re buying from an established art gallery it’s highly likely the price they’re asking is the price the art deserves.
GET SAVVY ON YOUR OPTIONS
So your dream artwork is thousands and thousands? Don’t let that deter you from making the investment. Edward praises Art Money, which China Heights Gallery uses. It’s essentially an interest-free loan service specifically for buying art, so you can create a payment plan. Some galleries will even set up payment plans with you direct, so you can manage the cost financially.
Credit: Crystal Mary 3 by Kylie Montgomery / China Heights Gallery.
TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR NEW TREASURES
We don’t have to tell you that expensive, authentic art needs a bit of TLC. But what are the rules when it comes to taking care of your pieces?
“Avoid hanging the work in direct sunlight or areas of extreme temperatures, like above a heater or fireplace, in a bathroom, or outdoors,” explains Edward.
Also – if you’re moving, there’s a surprising rule for wrapping your works.
“If you are wrapping in bubble, make sure the bubbles are facing out and away from the artwork. The bubbles leave little dimple marks/dents on the surface of the work and usually can’t be repaired.”
So there you have it. Now you can go ahead and fill your home with fantastically fancy paintings and sculptures. Still not so sure you can afford the $$? How ’bout entering our lil’ competition with Set For Life right here, and giving winning $20k a try:
Just don’t become one of those people that snootily go on about their art in an assholey way OK? No one likes that guy.
Image: M-Maybe by Roy Lichtenstein / Museum Ludwig.