SE FLORIDA STYLE & DESIGN sat down with top gallery owners and artists to get their thoughts and perspectives on art collecting and where the industry is headed, how social media factors into the collecting process and how Millennials are changing the landscape.
Q: How has working with art collectors changed in the past few years?
A: My unusual art medium of creating art with up-cycled computer keys caught the interest of Ripley’s “Believe It Or Not!” in October of 2010. The major shift in collectors came in December 2017, when I stepped up to the plate to participate in Art Basel Miami. This was a very successful event for me, having top sales at Spectrum Miami and being named in the show’s Directors’ Pick. My first large sale went to the award-winning Guarisco Gallery in Washington, D.C. Much of the sales and commissions draw from the gallery’s seasoned client base. Strong sales have also occurred from annual art fairs, and jewelry, art and antiques shows.
Q: What do you wish collectors knew that you find yourself repeating to them?
A: Collectors always have questions about my art and the unusual medium of computer keys. They are always caught by surprise when approaching the art, not knowing what the medium is, and they always love to hear the backstory of how and where I collect my up-cycled medium. For the patrons, it's a fascinating discovery because they've never seen anything like it. I'm currently the only mosaic artist working with computer keys on this scale in portraiture.
Q: What trends do you see taking place with collectors?
A: Since my Art Basel experience in Miami 2017, I see sculpture and heavily textured art being very popular. Large sculpture and large statement pieces seem to find a place in homes and businesses in the past three years. The theme of up-cycled art is very appealing and trending. Avant-garde, ironically, is almost classic in the sense that patrons are hitting the refresh button with Salvador Dali, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Chuck Close, Andy Warhol and many others.
Q: According to a survey of collectors on Instagram, 51.5 percent have purchased works from artists they originally discovered through Instagram. Collectors are not only consuming but are also actively engaged. What role does social media have in your business?
A: Because of the internet and social media, artists have been able to successfully be and remain their own agent. The world is now the artists’ market.
Q: Do you think Millennial collectors are shopping online for art or do they want that in-person experience?
A: Millennial collectors do both. At some point soon, though, I think we are going to go full circle with the online cyberspace experience. The internet is the lead-in, but getting the cultural experience of the art world can’t be missed by any Millennial. That remains where the rubber meets the road.
Q: Are young people spending enough money on art?
A: Young people in college or the under 30 demographics are probably not spending on big-money art yet, but rather prints and smaller, local art. I think that’s a great segue into significant pieces later. Supporting local artists is vital, for they, too, are hopeful to emerge into the next great chapter of their art endeavors. I believe the heaviest concentration of emerging art is coming from artists who are retired or on their third or fourth career and don’t want any part of being addicted to the internet.
Q: What tips or advice do you have for someone starting to collect art?
A: Buy original art first and foremost because you love it, not necessarily for the investment.
Q: How do you think art collecting will change in the near future? What about the art market in general?
A: I think the demand for art is here to stay. Like music, it is and always will be woven into the fabric of our individual experience with this world.