For every self-respecting art lover interested in collecting art, the Affordable Art Fair (AFF) is a great opportunity that should not be missed. But it is important to know how to make your purchases worthwhile at budget-friendly art events.
Here’s the can of worms: do you buy art out of love or out of investment?
We can safely assume that the majority of art buyers purchase works due to the aesthetic or emotional response that they instill in the viewer. Simultaneously, the buyer is probably hoping that their purchase will become more valuable over time (and hopefully not devalue!). This may seem odd, but in reality, many emerging artists who sell their work at these events receive little market recognition, and therefore the value of their work diminishes over time.
To avoid this problem, here are some tips for bettering your Affordable Art Fair experience.
- The artist is stylistically distinguishable amongst 1,000 others
This can be the most challenging objective for the artist. Some artists spend their entire careers striving for an iconic style while others are able to demonstrate their recognizable mark from a young age.
- The artist is relevant to the era
A contemporary artist must strive to communicate experiences from their contemporary moment. Art acts as a time capsule for future audiences, therefore the artist must act as an effective historian.
- The artist has initial admirers
Exposure from more institutions generates greater exchanges and opportunities for artists’ work to reach a massive scale, thus expanding the market for their artwork.
It is not always easy to spot these things in an artist if you do not research the context behind the art. For this reason, we offer a selection of artists exhibiting at AAF and three verifiable tips suggested by our expert.
Spanish artist Gerard Mas from Girona creates playful and penetrating works that fuse contemporary references and gestures with busts reminiscent of 15th-century Florentine sculpture. Mas’ synthesis produces a humorous recontextualization. Women of the Renaissance chewing bubble gum appear to be alive and well in our contemporary moment.
From a family of artists in Monza, Italy, Beatrice Spadea experiments with different techniques to produce visages of a man. Her unique masks create a path of communication by which she may express herself. Spadea continues to embark on a journey of interesting exhibits. Those visiting the Fair can find her work on display until April 6 at the Hotel Nhow Milano in Via Tortona, 35.
#INSIDE HIS ERA
Lin Zhipeng, aka NO.223, is a young Chinese photographer from Guangdong province who portrays himself and his circle of friends, giving voice to a hidden side of contemporary Chinese youth culture. His photographs are sharp, irreverent, and are reminiscent of times gone by.
#ALREADY RECOGNIZED BY THE MARKET
Eric Zener is an established American photorealist painter from Astoria, Oregon. He often depicts people totally submerged in water. Much of Zener’s work has been exhibited and sold throughout the United States and abroad to private and corporate art collectors.
Maybe now you have started to get an idea of what to expect at the AAF Milano event, or maybe not. Maybe you are already there at the show, have fallen in love with a work, and now are caught in an investment panic. Relax!
The fact that you are in love is a great thing. Imagine marrying someone who you did not love, how would you view your future?
In any case, here are 3 quick tips for evaluating an emerging artist:
- The Exhibition Curriculum
A young artist must have a curriculum that demonstrates their passion for pursuing an artistic career with constancy, continuity, and a certain dynamism, but above all with quality. When browsing an artist’s exhibition curriculum, it is important to check if they have participated in institutions, been awarded prizes, and been featured in galleries and trade fairs. See if they collaborated in collective exhibitions, and especially check to see if they have been featured in solo shows. They should strive to exhibit work at least once a year.
- Critical Texts
Has anyone written about the artist? Art historians and journalists or amateur critics? Researching as much criticism as possible is useful for understanding more behind the art, and also helps in defining the artist’s place within the contemporary world. Of course the quality of criticism counts, so use your own judgment and consort many different texts.
Last tip: ask the gallery owner about the artist’s next project. This is a double-edged question, as it’s useful for evaluating both the artist’s future and the preparation of the gallery owner. A good gallery owner should be aware of the artists!
Contemporary Art Consultant and Art Writer