What if you were the one who discovers a next rising star in the field of street art, or perhaps a talented individual who is just emerging in, say, the field of contemporary visual art or other innovative form of artistic expression? This is a dream of every collector, simultaneously for one with great experience, as well as the one who is just on the beginning of their journey through the exciting world of art collecting.
There are many useful forms of advice you can find, as well as opportunities to educate yourself (for more, read our article How Do You Collect Art?). When it comes to the collecting of contemporary art, and especially when we are talking about young and emerging artists, there are numerous risks, should you choose to investigate the possibilities of buying art directly from studios (more about useful tips on how to achieve this, read our article Buy Art From Artists!). Remember, a collector who is a first owner of a piece has a certain responsibility. It is the job of the first owner to make sure that the artwork (re)enters the art market with all the necessary information. If you are someone who is set on compiling an art collection through special relations with artists, you should always be aware of the basic risks of these kinds of endeavors.
Should we exclude from the equation the obvious advantage of having a friend who is an artist, and therefore a special bond with a person who wishes to collect his or her art, it needs to be said that the acquisition of art from a studio requires a detailed strategy. Apart from the sensitive issue of approaching the artist (a situation when things can take a bad turn at many corners), one should meticulously plan and execute a research concerning the art of a certain individual. At this point, a prospective collector should consult an art professional. Taking advice from a gallerist, curator, another artist or an art advisor can go a long way when talking about eliminating risks of studio purchase. In the end, should a prospective collector, or simply an art lover, find himself/herself in an opportunity to buy a piece directly from the artist, there isn’t a big number of things that can go wrong. However, there are a few risks which one should be aware of, before starting a mission of finding the right artist and/or the right studio…
After the research concerning the art and practice of the appreciated artist is done, there is the question of acquiring an art piece for the appropriate price. This is a situation which doesn't differ much whether we are talking about emerging artists or established ones. As soon as someone gets a chance to visit an artist at his or her own studio, there are no opportunities for bargaining. In addition, should you have managed to access the work of an artist and establish a certain relationship without the involvement of third parties, there isn’t much room for negotiations when it comes to the value of an art piece. This is a double-edged sword situation: on the one hand a collector needn’t worry about gallery or auction house fees, but, on the other hand, there is a risk of overpaying an art piece. After all, at this point, continuing the established rapport with the artist is paramount; questions of value just might (and probably will) be perceived as offensive.
Although the intentions of a collector are clear, the presence in the studio of an artist always has (at least) another connotation. By establishing a certain relationship with an artist, there is a rapport which doesn’t convey a strict business interaction. The approach to the artist and potential access to his or her studio comes with a more personal relation to the art itself – in other words, the collector has a higher level of admiration for the work. This means that in the eyes of the artist, there is a certain level of trust that is being established, and this is something the collector needs to be aware of, at all times (otherwise, there is a risk of losing the trust of the artist). On the other hand, a direct relation to the artist can be established online as well. This is something that is becoming a regular practice (read more in our article Hiscox Online Art Trade Report). In this case, there are more obvious risks in terms of authenticity and, in some extreme cases, fraudulent behavior. If you are someone who enjoys stumbling upon art on the internet, you should try to stay away from those grey corners of the World Wide Web. There are numerous artists who are creating in the field of digital urban art and, thus, interacting with prospective buyers exclusively in the field of virtual reality. To avoid risks such as this one, try getting in touch with artists through professionals or numerous useful portals which provide safe acquisition.
In this day and age, it seems pretty much simple: the art market has grown into a well oiled machine, and there are so many different ways of acquiring artwork; on the other hand, when having the opportunity to acquire a piece directly form the artist, one shouldn’t hesitate in grabbing their chance. There are, of course, risks which impose themselves as serious issues. There is always a chance of overpaying, whether the reason is based in low-quality research or in the establishing a certain relationship with the artist. The relationship issue is also a serious one, since there is a possibility of closing a door on some future opportunities. Finally, if a collector prefers to purchase art directly, a professional advice can prove to be crucial. All of this being said, it is in the core of studio purchases to bear risks. After all, perhaps this thrill is something that one searches for in art…
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