There was so much interest in a post last week about student art that we thought we’d bring you this post as a bit of public service. We can’t vouch for newbloodart.com, the UK site filled with student art profiled in the Guardian’s alternative investments column. But we should mention there is an American site that is very similar called Ugallery.com. Here’s the Guardian on the advantages of student art sites as an investment source, a dubious proposition. One should think of these sites as a good source for low-priced art.
According to Sarah Ryan, who runs the online gallery newbloodart.com, those who had the foresight to invest in several of her exhibiting artists have enjoyed returns that have put the best minds in the City of London to shame.
A number of painters on her books have seen the value of their work double in recent years. Some have enjoyed returns of more than 400%. Ryan, who spends her time constantly on the lookout for artists to represent, says MA students, who have typically been honing their art for several years, tend to make a better investment than recent graduates.
“There is a fair expectation that they will continue to work in their medium for the next decade – thereby improving, and hopefully becoming commercially successful,” she says. Artists on her online books who have done well in recent years include 31-year-old Emily Gregory-Smith, who produces Turner-esque semi-abstract paintings of the area around Aberystwyth where she studied, and still lives.
Her larger (1 square metre) works used to sell for £600 – now they would set a collector back around £1,800. Canadian artist Nathan James, who combines silk-screen printing and stencilling with traditional painting to achieve his distinctive works, has seen one of the biggest valuation leaps.
At his first solo show in London in early 2007, a 1.2m x 1.8m painting was listed at £2,200. Today that size would sell for £12,000, representing an increase of 445% in just over two years – a stellar investment by any standards.
Ryan says the patronage of a well-known figure can quickly send prices rising fast, as happened to Keren Luchtenstein. The painter and illustrator, who began her career as an artist in the 1970s at Middlesex Poly and then the Royal College of Art (RCA), came to the attention of the mainstream audience when fashion designer Sir Paul Smith bought a number of paintings of shoes to hang in his stores. The result, says Ryan, was a 260% increase in the value over a three-year period.
In reality, of course, most of the artists won’t go stratospheric – but if you enjoy looking at their work every day, that won’t bother you.
The Fine Art of Investing (Guardian)