THE BUSI­NESS art OF

Buy­ing art can be scary. Who is in and who is out? In fact, some pieces in­crease in value, but oth­ers that are bought ‘cheap’ can also be worth mil­lions a few years later. But for in­vestors in SA art, the ex­pe­ri­ence has gen­er­ally been good. Mar­cia Klein c

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JULIE TaY­LOR

Founder and direc­tor of on­line art plat­form Guns & Rain

Must The I two buy don’t to in­vest, have to or be must exclusive. I buy But what in I gen­eral, like? buy If your what hedged you like. in­vest­ment bets don’t work out in your en­joy favour, each day. you still have a work of art that you re­ally Who A. R1 should mil­lion I buy to spend? if I have ...

or Don’t two. spend it all at once. Maybe a Robert Hod­gins

B. Deb­o­rah R50 000 Bell, to Peter spend? Clarke (who passed away ear­lier this Mun­dopa year), and and Vir­ginia emerg­ing Chi­hota. Zim­bab­wean artists Wy­cliffe

C. R5 000 to spend?

A limited edi­tion print by Mongezi Ncaphayi, or Themba Khu­malo. What names should I be look­ing for among upand-com­ing and es­tab­lished artists?

For young, emerg­ing artists, keep an eye on artists who are com­ing out of the art col­lec­tives like Artist Proof Stu­dio, Assem­blage, the Bag Fac­tory and Great­more Stu­dios, as well as those who do well in lo­cal com­pe­ti­tions – for ex­am­ple, Por­tia Zvava­hera won this year’s FNB Joburg Art Fair Art Prize, and Luyanda Zin­dela and Be­van de Wet won Merit Awards in Absa’s L’Ate­lier com­pe­ti­tion. In terms of an in­vest­ment, what are the re­turns on art and are th­ese short- or long-term gains?

There are a small num­ber of savvy (or per­haps just lucky) play­ers out there who suc­cess­fully ‘flip’ art for high short-term gains.

For the rest of us, it’s bet­ter to take a longer-term view, which could be any­thing between five and 25 years, maybe even longer. Re­turns are un­pre­dictable and can vary widely.

Is art in­vest­ment just the pre­serve of big busi­ness?

Def­i­nitely not. Many peo­ple don’t re­alise that there is plenty of af­ford­able yet high-qual­ity art out there.

South Africa has a strong com­mu­nity of vis­ual artists, so there is some­thing for ev­ery­one – start­ing as low as a few hun­dred rands.

A good way to get a feel for what kind of art is be­ing pro­duced, and the price ranges, is to visit col­lec­tives, gal­leries and art fairs reg­u­larly. What are the com­mon mis­takes that art buy­ers make?

Don’t rush into mak­ing a de­ci­sion about your pur­chase, es­pe­cially if you’re a first-time buyer. Take your time to learn about the artists who in­ter­est you and to view a va­ri­ety of their art.

Try to iden­tify promis­ing artists ear­lier rather than later in their ca­reers and avoid buy­ing an artist just be­cause they’re trendy. Is it okay to buy art on­line? It seems so im­per­sonal and it’s hard to judge scale.

View­ing art on­line will never match the ‘real life’ ex­pe­ri­ence. But with good tech­nol­ogy in place, you can still get a great idea of what the art is like. Sev­eral on­line plat­forms let you rent be­fore you buy, or give you the op­tion to re­turn a work if you don’t like it.

The great thing about on­line art is that it helps emerg­ing artists, es­pe­cially those in Africa, reach new au­di­ences that they would never have oth­er­wise.

Last, but not least, art lovers who find the gallery or mu­seum en­vi­ron­ments in­tim­i­dat­ing of­ten feel more com­fort­able scout­ing for new art from their desk­tops.

Is on­line buy­ing a big thing in the art world? Art is mov­ing on­line in a big way. It’s still early days, but it’s mov­ing fast. On­line art won’t re­place the tra­di­tional ‘off­line’ gallery model, but will cer­tainly com­ple­ment it.

We’re see­ing a plethora of new on­line gal­leries, a num­ber of on­line-only auc­tion plat­forms, and even the rise of dig­i­tal art that has been cre­ated purely for con­sump­tion on screens.

As the global public’s com­fort with dig­i­tal chan­nels in­creases, so will the de­mand for on­line art ser­vices.

For ex­am­ple, last year, more than 25% of the peo­ple who bought art on­line were un­der the age of 30.

MaR­I­aNNE FaSSLER

Fash­ion de­signer and art col­lec­tor

Must I buy to in­vest, or must I buy what I like?

Always buy what you like, but it helps to be in­formed and in­ter­ested in art. A good dealer will also ig­nite a spark and guide you in the right di­rec­tion, but it is es­sen­tial to cul­ti­vate a love of art by at­tend­ing ex­hi­bi­tions and get­ting to grips with the sub­ject. Who should I buy if I have ...

A. R1 mil­lion to spend?

Never been in that po­si­tion, but I would prob­a­bly head straight for El Anat­sui ( just a small piece), Ni­cholas Hlobo or per­haps a beau­ti­ful Stan­ley Pinker.

B. R50 000 to spend? Pho­tog­ra­phy, pho­tog­ra­phy and more pho­tog­ra­phy. Kudzanai Chi­u­rai, Gerald Ma­chona or even Wal­ter Olt­mann draw­ings.

C. R5 000 to spend?

Small piece by Gerald Ma­chona or visit the David Krut gallery. They have some stun­ning ‘orig­i­nal’ prints.

Art Auc­tions at Rus­sell Ka­plan or Stephan Welz are a trea­sure trove of bar­gains ... from artists in the 70s to cur­rent ones.

This is where you pick up the real bar­gains, but be­ware of fraud ... Choose your auc­tion­eer care­fully. What names should I be look­ing for among upand-com­ing and es­tab­lished artists?

De­pends on what you love, but I am re­ally in­tent on lay­ing my hands on an iconic Ger­hard Marx. In terms of an in­vest­ment, what are the re­turns on art and are th­ese short- or long-term gains?

I would only sell my art to trade up. If you buy what you love, you will not want to part with any­thing ... un­less, of course, you are also buy­ing smarter or know bet­ter in ret­ro­spect. Art ap­pre­ci­ates in the long term and should be well looked af­ter while in your keep.

Is art in­vest­ment just the pre­serve of big busi­ness?

I think big busi­ness is able to buy the big iconic pieces, but some care­fully se­lected/cho­sen small pieces can be equally good in­vest­ments. Never buy or­di­nary pieces from good artists. Like prop­erty, you should always buy the best you can af­ford. What are the com­mon mis­takes that art buy­ers make?

They buy art to dec­o­rate their homes. Bi­i­iggggg mis­take!

MICHELLE CON­STaNT

CEO of Busi­ness and Arts SA

Must I always I buy think to in­vest, one should or must choose I buy what what one I likes. like? Af­ter all, you have to live with a work of art. Who A. R1 should mil­lion I buy to spend? if I have ...

(or more!) Wil­liam Ken­tridge, Stan­ley Pinker

B. R50 000 to spend?

David Gold­blatt, Jo Ractliffe

C. R5 000 to spend?

I just bought a lovely se­ries of works by an artist called Pe­bo­fatso Mokoena. Also, Collen Maswan­ganyi’s smaller sculp­tures. What names should I be look­ing for among upand-com­ing and es­tab­lished artists?

The list is end­less. Look out for the work of Sindiso Ny­oni and pho­tog­ra­pher Le­bo­hang Kganye among the up-and-com­ing artists. In the es­tab­lished artists, I love Joni Bren­ner’s work, among many oth­ers. In terms of an in­vest­ment, what are the re­turns on art and are th­ese short- or long-term gains?

I’ve always thought of it as a long-term gain. Is art in­vest­ment just the pre­serve of big busi­ness?

Not at all. There is no doubt that if you choose your art care­fully, do your re­search and have good art ad­vis­ers, you can be­come an art in­vestor. There are many ex­tremely savvy col­lec­tors in this coun­try. Just go to any art open­ing or auc­tion.

LOVE FOR

SaLE The paint­ing Love (right) set a world record for late South african artist

Stan­ley Pinker when it sold for R3.4m on auc­tion in March this year. Top to bot­tom: War­ren Siebrits, Mar­i­anne Fassler, Michelle Con­stant and

Julie Tay­lor

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