As a man who loves to talk, one of my favorite paid gigs is when I am invited to be a speaker at art functions, or for art groups, etc.
Later this week I will be heading out to Plein Air Easton, where I will be one of the guest speakers for that city-wide art event.
I am going to digress already from my title subject and give you a little background on Plein Air Easton. Just four years ago this event got started as many artists worldwide have begun to return to painting in the Plein Air style, and once again, as they did in 19th century Europe, are leaving their studios to paint and draw outside… on roadsides, on the beach, on top of mountains, in their gardens and yards, and even in city streets to capture landscapes, still life, figures and architecture in their natural elements.
I think that the resurgence of this movement, much like it happened in Europe in the 19th century, may be a reaction by some artists to the overwhelming presence of technology in our daily lives. And I can live with that; there’s plenty of room for plein air painters and digital photographers and technogeeks artists in the art world.
The festival started yesterday Monday, July 21 and goes through Sunday, July 27, 7:00am-5pm… but there are tons of associated events in this gorgeous and tiny Eastern Shore Maryland village. All the details are The festival goes from Monday, July 21 - Sunday, July 27, 7:00am-5pm… but there are tons of associated events in the gorgeous and tiny Maryland village. All the details are here.
I will be speaking on Saturday, July 26th at 7PM at the Academy Art Museum on the subject of contemporary art, collecting, artists and art in general.
In preparing some slides for the presentation, I wanted to address how beginning collectors may want to approach the first initial steps to the process, with the preconceived notion that many people are intimidated by art galleries.
This is unfortunate, because perhaps the safest and best way to collect artwork is by establishing a good solid relationship with several reputable art dealers (never anchor all your art collecting efforts on a single art dealer).
But there are other ways, complementary methods in some cases, which work as well to beginning to build an art collection.
I think that one of the best and safest ways is via art auctions, and not just the major blue chip auction houses such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s and others, but nearly every other auction house on the planet that every once in a while offers art as part of their programs.
I say “safe” with the caveat that for some folks, it is not a good idea to get caught in the frenzy of a live auction. So it is always best to set yourself a limit, register it with the auction house or event, and then leave and hope that your bid is a winner.
I say “best” because depending on the type of auction, some spectacular deals can often be had. For example, in the Greater Washington, DC region there are a couple of very reputable auction houses which tend to focus generally on antiques and furniture, with a sprinkling of fine art here and there. In my experience, works by Washington Color School stripe painters can sometimes be had for a lot less than they would get in New York or LA.
But by far the very best way to accomplish the same thing is via charity auctions.
At a charity auction you’re doing a couple of good things; as they say, it’s a “win - win” situation. You are helping a good cause as well as acquiring artwork, and in some cases even helping the artist (some charity auctions give the artists a part of the proceeds).
A good one is ARTcetera, which began in 1985 as a grassroots AIDS fundraiser, conceived by Boston-area artists to help in some way against the disease which was so directly affecting the artistic community. A year later the event became the biennial event that it remains today.
Today ARTcetera is a “biennial creative black-tie contemporary art auction created and supported by a unique partnership between the visual arts community and AIDS Action Committee. Guests enjoy fine food and beverages and bid on more than three hundred fresh works by acclaimed local, national and international artists. An exciting live auction and two silent auctions present works in a variety of media, sizes, and styles.”
There are literally thousands of these type art charity auctions all throughout the nation, and artists are among the most generous of donors to the many calls that we receive to donate artwork for them. In my own case, I can usually be counted to participate in about a dozen such events a year (including this one by the way).
Many more tips on collecting art coming down this way later…