A Look at This Age - Potential of Young Artists
BARNABY BARFORD - LAND OF HOPE & GLORY, 2019
As the Chinese famous author, Eileen Chang once wrote, “The earlier you have fame, the more joy it brings.” It’s no wonder that many aspiring stars in today’s art world carry an air of complacency, and they are more valued than ever. In fact, the number of mature artists in the market nowadays cannot be greater, while the prices of their works are already sky-high and has limited room to rise. Moreover, the higher the price of an artwork, the higher the risk of a fraud, resulting in a greater investment risk.
In comparison, purchasing works of young artists with great potential is like investing in startups. The chance of buying a fake is lower and hence reducing the risk of investment. However, now that there are so many budding artists, making a choice among them is more or less like gambling. Surely, compared to well- known artists, young artists’ works have a larger room to rise in value and hence worth investing more. The question remains: how do you make the choice?
MICHAEL PYBUS, ANYTHING IN LIFE CAN HAPPEN,
ESPECIALLY NOTHING AT TATJANA PIETERS GHENT BELGIUM, 2017
ORIGINALITY BREEDS GREAT ARTWORKS
Art is original and unique, and an artist’s creation reflects one’s singular experience and wisdom. Only after acquiring the fundamental skills of artistic training can artists further advance their artistic theories and techniques, and create profound and distinguished works. To become a one-of-a-kind contemporary artist, the artist has to achieve a level of height unique to the era.
A life with rich and unforgettable experiences is commonly a great source for artistic inspiration that yields touching artworks. The spark of artistic invention is lit by palpable emotions and unique memories in life.
Many young artists, as they have been immersed in academic training or influenced by the market for a long time, lack original thinking and tend to imitate teachers or famous artists. Imitation has no artistic value and will not be recognized by real collectors. A good art student’s goal is not to paint more like teachers, but to truly comprehend the meaning of art and find their direction. Every individual grows up in a unique environment and gains different exposure, moulding the style and content of an artist. A person’s values determine the angle from which he sees the world, and then how to create his own artistic world.
JUNG LEE, I AM LOST IN YOU, FROM THE SERIES ‘APORIA’, 2017
THE IMPORTANCE OF GALLERIES TO ARTISTS
After signing with a gallery, artists do not have to worry much to make a living and can devote themselves to artistic innovation and exploration. The gallery can also open up the market and attract the public investment and consumption of art. A good gallery has its own tastes and styles, and makes long-term considerations when recruiting an artist. Good galleries are good at discovering artists unknown to the world, instead of following trends; they should take artistic cultivation into consideration as well, rather than only focusing on the market demands.
Good galleries will also design long-term promotional plans for artists. For example, holding regular exhibitions is an effective way to cultivate an artist’s collections of works. Participation in exhibitions is not only a test of the value of artists’ works, but also a way of communicating with the market. In fact, it takes several years for a young artist to establish his appeal in the market. The agent system also guarantees that when the market thrives, collectors are the ultimate beneficiary. This is largely a matter of patience.
SHONA MCGREGOR, TURN & FACE THE STRANGE, POLYURETHANE CAST FUNGI, 2019 (ABOVE & BELOW)
RISK EVALUATION IS ESSENTIAL
In today’s market, young artists are highly sought after. While the prices of famous artists have reached a certain level and have little room to rise further, young artists are yet to be discovered and unveiled to the world, which undoubtedly makes a good investment opportunity. However, caution should be taken, especially when some young artists are in fact overhyped.
If a young artist has no presence in any academic fields or has not participated in any distinguished exhibitions, but his work was sold at over a million dollars at an auction, take note whether it is just hype. Art organisations act reasonably when adjusting prices of artists’ works. It is a long-term investment and making a high leap in price is rarely seen.
Of course, some artists are young, but their works are outstanding, expressing their ideas and values. Often, they have signed with good galleries and participated in many esteemed exhibitions. Such artists are surely beaming with potential. As they are usually not prolific, their works do not make frequent appearances at auctions and are highly desirable when they do. Therefore, high prices in this case are reasonable.
JEEYOUNG LEE, PANIC ROOM, 2010 (ABOVE), NIGHTMARE, 2010 (MIDDLE) FLU,2008 (BELOW)
Investing in works by a few young artists at the same time can spread out the risk, avoiding the investment of millions of dollars and reducing investment risks. Hang the artworks in your own living room or office. Artworks are at once a collection, appreciation and investment. In general, the cycle of investing in young artists’ works is more than ten years. But in China, it could be shorter. In the process, continue to take note of the marketability of the selected artists. If the situation develops less than optimistically, such as the artist no longer signs with the gallery to hold exhibitions, their works no longer appear at auctions, etc., then you can sell your own collection in time as a means of protection.
It is recommended that you buy highly sought-after artworks at auctions in galleries, as the price at auctions may be several times higher. If you are in a hunt for bargains at auctions, pay more attention to happenings as well as the artist’s favourability at auctions. Successful art investment and collections build on time and effort spent on understanding, endorsing and appreciating the artists.
There is no gain without pain. For truly great men, look to this age.
BARNABY BARFORD, THE APPLE TREE, 2019, INSTALLATION VIEW OF MORE MORE MORE