As someone who has taken their work from $500 per painting at the beginning of my career to commanding more than $100,000 for one of my works, therefore becoming a six figure artist in less than two years, I have a few thoughts to share on the subject of looking at art as an investment.
I’ll be honest, when I started selling my work, I had no idea how to price it. I tried to add up the material costs and factor in time spent to rationalize an amount that seemed justifiable, but I literally felt as though I was handing over one of the deepest, purest, most authentically expressed pieces of myself each time I sold a painting. How could I put a number on bridging the worlds in order to draw down cosmic imprints through my paintings that so many have described as portals? When I did and someone said it was “too much,” how could I not take it personally when it’s an incredibly intimate extension of my soul that someone gets to keep forever, pass on to generations and potentially sell and profit from someday?
While I want my art to be accessible, I also realized how important it is that I feel sold on who my original work is placed with and who I paint for, which is why I’ve become extremely selective and have an application process to get on my waitlist. This is why I offer a range of options, from prints for the thrifty admirer to custom commissions for the savvy collector that I really see as a reflection of the co-mingling of our higher selves translated onto canvas.
Recently I interviewed several extremely successful financial advisors, portfolio and hedge fund managers as well as venture capitalists with a net worth of more than $100,000,000. It’s important to note that they did not know I am an artist. To my surprise, when I asked them for their advice on investments, they all said the same thing…
“Art is one of the best places to park your money as part of a well diversified investment portfolio.”
(Naturally I inquired about their thoughts on bitcoin, but we’ll save that for another time.)
I was invited to attend a private showing of several works to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in Century City. I was alone in a room with a $10,000,000 Monet, an $18,000,000 Jasper Johns, an $8,000,000 Matisse, many multi-million dollar works by Basquiat and Warhol and a $20,000,000 Magritte. I could understand why pieces like these would be considered a good investment, but what about investors who aren’t ready to jump in at such a high level?
According to my research in these interviews, when investing in emerging artists, it is important to look at an artist’s track record, their commitment to growth, how skillful and niche they are in their craft and any previous recognition they’ve received.
“Investing in emerging artists is relatively low risk and has a larger payout potential, particularly with artists who are already showing consistent increase in value.”
Something else I found incredibly interesting was the idea of being able to proactively create or help define an emerging artist by backing them through higher ticket sales.
“If you want your painting to be worth more and have a higher return on investment, you must be willing to first drive up those prices yourself as this can quickly and significantly increase an artist’s precieved value.”
Being willing to pay more and share your excitement with your network about the new artist you’ve discovered is a keen investment strategy.
At the end of the day, I personally think it’s important to buy art you love from artists you connect with and believe in.
I also think it’s brilliant to be an early adopter in an artist’s career with the understanding that the piece you’re purchasing not only supports an artist in doing what they love, it helps rewire the paradigm around artists being able to thrive AND it has the benefit of potentially leading to a major payout.