When it comes to art, the form is both subjective and personal. For those looking to get into the art game, the good news is that it is now more accessible than ever. Thanks to galleries like Art Works, which curates inexpensive quality art pieces from around the world, buyers today can find an affordable art piece to adorn their home.
With the pandemic forcing many of us to spend more time at home, some have taken the initiative to spruce up their living space. An art piece presents a great way to accent a room or living space. More than that, a piece of art also helps express the personality of the homeowner and define their living spaces.
For first time buyers looking to foray into art, Art Works, a leading fine art investment gallery in Singapore, is a good place to start. It brings to the market a diverse and unique selection of contemporary art pieces ranging from paintings to photography, prints and sculptures.
To find out more about the realm of art, especially the appreciative nature and value of art pieces, we speak to Troy Sadler, the Managing Director of Art Works.
Are people today more accepting and open to appreciating art?
For centuries, art has been inaccessible and reserved for the elites and prosperous families to distinguish themselves from the common mass culturally as well as to preserve one’s status. Those days are long gone as art intersects with popular culture and becomes more intrinsically relevant to our daily lives.
With that, many are becoming more accepting and open to appreciating art. They are being exposed to different kinds of art across different genres globally. As the global demand for fine art grows at an increasing rate, more opportunities have also been presented in the contemporary art market. Further, with more affordable art pieces available across various mediums, art collection, investment and buying have also become more accessible in tandem with the growth in consumers’ purchasing power.
At present, while the COVID-19 pandemic has upended lives and disrupted major economies around the world, the art market has remained relatively resilient. Fine art has and continues to be one of the most stable and reliable tangible asset classes in the alternative investment market. As more people are educated on the security of art investment, we are starting to witness a growing sophistication in the appreciation of all forms.
Art is highly personal. But for a novice, what are the qualities they should look for in an art piece?
From an investment perspective, we usually advise our clients to go with mid-career artists. These are artists that have gained some attention and may have won prizes and have something of an auction record. Their work is being collected, and there have been some notable recognition from the press and industry insiders.
For instance, an example of such an artist we work with is Danny Minnick, who is a multi-faceted, fast-rising American artist born in Seattle, Washington. Minnick’s works are collected by high profile characters and A-list celebrities, including Robert Downey Jr., LeBron James, Nick Cassavetes, Cash Warren, as well as Jessica Alba, who collaborated with Minnick to create a mural for her ethical empire, The Honest Company.
On the other hand, for first-time art buyers looking to buy a decorative art piece for their homes or workspace, it’s important for them to connect with what they are going to potentially buy. Besides curating accessible decorative art for our online gallery, we also help to commission and source decorative art pieces that suit the customer’s budget and style.
How big is the affordable art space currently and what spurred you to start this venture?
Seeing the opportunity to take my passion and expertise in art investment to the next level, I relocated to Singapore in 2014 to join Art Works. As Managing Director, I’ve expanded the company’s art investment portfolio and scaled up the business model by offering decorative, more accessible art through our gallery representing over 35 international artists.
With leisure travel still nowhere in sight, customers can easily visit our online gallery to browse art works from all over the world in the comfort of their own homes or wherever they may be – with the aim of democratising art for all by creating a comfortable and welcoming environment that makes the process of buying art accessible and enjoyable for every level of art consumer.
Aside from that, we also launched Art Works Design, an interior consultancy arm that specialises in sourcing and providing art and all furnishings to commercial and residential properties, which has been timely as more people are spending more time indoors and looking for ways to refresh their living and workspaces.
How do you go about sourcing artists and these pieces to list on Art Works?
There is more of a business approach to the decision when it comes to art investment. At Art Works, we deal with mid-career artists who are essentially already successful. We would say that they are established in the market to take away the risk, yet there is still room for growth. While loving the works ourselves, we also speak to them about their marketing plan and where they are evolving artistically such as the next collection that they are working on. We like them to be represented in key markets around the world, and more importantly, to make sure that their output is not too high i.e. not having to paint too much – lesser paintings in the market but high demand for their works. Just like any investment, it is all about supply and demand.
Is art worthwhile to invest in beyond just personal interest?
While collectors are more cautious with their funds during this period of economic uncertainty, many look to art as a long-term stable investment and a cultural jewel.
Along with this, fresh and established collectors are using art as an avenue to diversify their investment portfolios, especially during a period of economic downturn. This focus is more directed towards artists with proven auction track records.
From our team’s experience in the field of art and investment for over 35 combined years, we have definitely realized that art is one of the safest and most exciting ways to diversify a modern investment portfolio as it allows people to enjoy low risk fixed returns, and the art market provides a superior option to diversify in times of economic uncertainty as it is largely insulated from the volatilities of the stock market.
From your experience, or what you have seen thus far, do your consumers favour a particular genre of art?
There is a reason why the aphorism “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is often used. That is because we can never tell what an individual like as it is very diverse and subjective. I would say that most of our Singaporean clients gravitate towards Chinese Contemporary art while the Westerns usually go for works by our European artists, and this could be largely due to cultural connection.
What would your advice be for first-time buyers?
We understand that buying your first artwork can be rather daunting especially if you do not know what to buy, where to buy, or how to buy within your budget. All it takes is an open mind and some curiosity. If you are looking for a contemporary statement piece, or wish to invest in art for your home, there are many ways to build an impressive art collection without breaking the bank.
Setting a budget is the first step for new art collectors. This will allow you to make decisions on what is available for you to buy and where. Having a goal in mind plays an important role as well. A good approach is to buy what you love and brings you joy. Since you will have to live with the art that you purchase, it is better to invest in something that will inspire you every day.
On the other hand, while the art market has always remained resilient, it is also important to know which stage of an artist’s career to invest in as this contributes to the price and how much room for growth there is in an artist’s career.
At Art Works, we usually advise our clients to invest in mid-career artists. A mid-career artist is in the early stages of their professional career, with their work mostly being sold on the primary market.
Discover Art Works’ gallery and artists here.
(Images: Art Works)