The Telegraph promotes the idea of a new kind of art collector in a series of stories from last Friday’s paper (part of a paid promotional section.) Their idea is that something has changed in the art world with a broader range of buyer interested in acquiring works at the lower end of the price spectrum. As evidence they offer artists like Banksy whose works were originally sold as cheap prints and began to rise in value as his reputation (or infamy) spread. The Telegraph talks to artist Charming Baker:
Baker, who has just secured the backing of an American artist-management company, believes that the art world is changing. “It feels less elitist,” he explains. “People are buying what they like, not what they are told to like.”
An increasingly savvy British public is adjusting its relationship with the new art world, with more people finding the confidence to buy. And while some seek the pleasure of looking and owning, others see it as a form of investment. Three years ago, for instance, Baker’s paintings were selling for £600 – they now fetch up to £9,000. The popularity of his work is also being boosted by the fact that everyone can now access it via the internet. So, rather than having to step into daunting galleries, potential collectors can log on to view art in their own homes.
Another artist who spotted the democratic, and commercial, potential of the internet was Banksy, a street artist. His canvases, that originally cost £400 online, have gone on to sell for up to £60,000 at auction. A lot of the initial interest in buying a Banksy, however, was generated by enthusiasm for his prints – which, traditionally, are sold at more democratic prices than original works.
Such success has bred more interest in the prints of better known artists:
When Damien Hirst first released editioned prints of his famous spot paintings a few years back, the price tag was a very affordable £500. Those same prints are now changing hands for more than £10,000. To collectors it is an increasingly acceptable way to own and invest in art. “We were getting a huge range of people coming in to see shows, and quite a few of them asked if there were affordable pieces available,” says Sam Chatterton Dixon at the contemporary London gallery Haunch Of Venison.
In a companion story, the Telegraph talks to Chris Clothier, a young venture capitalist, who has been buying art on the internet:
“Now, if I see a piece I really like at a gallery or museum, I’ll check the internet to see if the artist has a site and then contact them directly. I also use Christie’s Live online auction service – although it can be dangerous, as it allows you to bid for things at the click of a mouse.
“The pleasure you get from having a piece of original work on your wall is infinitely better than a poster. I think my taste is still evolving, and I buy things across most flat media – paintings, drawings, photographs.
“But while my tastes have changed, my budget hasn’t altered too much. The lowest I’ve spent is £300, the most £4,000.
“I have about 20 pieces that I’ve collected over the past five years by artists including Stephen Walter, Elizabeth Huey, Brandon Opalka, Zoe Anderson, Sigrid Sandström.
The Contemporary Art Collector (Telegraph)