Words of Wisdom From A New Collector
Atticus the dog with piece by David Parise
When my fiancé Davis and I first started dating in Miami, between the two of us we owned just one piece of original art. Granted, we had both moved frequently over the past decade, and my former NYC apartment was so tiny I would have had to put art on the ceiling, not the walls. But as soon as we moved in together we decided to start a “real” collection.
Luckily, living in Miami, getting started was pretty easy, even without a big budget. When Art Week rolled around in December, we made it a point to focus on Superfine! and some of the other fairs around town that featured emerging artists (and hopefully more affordable art!). Here’s what we learned:
Do Some Pre-Fair Planning
This is one of those “I wish I had…” moments. Most fairs will list their works, or at least announce their artists, weeks or months before the fair. A little research can go a long way in this case, allowing you to hone in on the fairs and artists who most interest you and are priced within your range. If you can make it to a vernissage (a pre-fair viewing) before your favorite fair officially opens, GO! It’ll give you a head start on securing your favorite pieces before they’re gone.
Superfine! NYC 2018 Twilight Vernissage
Buy What You Love
This should be rule #1 for any collector. No matter how much you think a piece might appreciate in value, what’s the point of owning it if you’re not going to enjoy its intrinsic value in the meantime? The second we saw the piece below by Julius DC Bautista, we both fell in love with its vibrant colors and seemingly kinetic energy, and scooped it up right away. Though we’ve followed his success and his works seem to be fetching more and more each day, this piece is one we will be hanging on to and enjoying for awhile.
Meet The Artist
The artist Daniel José Cabrera Castro (who goes by El Dibujo) was in attendance at one of the fairs we visited and his work immediately caught my eye. This one in particular spoke to me, but it was only after Daniel explained that it was a portrait of the poet and playwright Federico García Lorca that I knew I had the perfect home for it. It now hangs above my writing desk, and has introduced me to some of the Spanish poet’s best works.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
At the very end of last year’s art week, we met Jonathan Kent Adams and were super impressed with his large-scale works on paper and geometric canvases; but they were pricey. And by the end of the fair… we had already blown our budget. After re-visiting his booth seemingly a hundred times and hemming and hawing over whether we should make one last splurge, we finally chatted with him to ask if we could take a card and follow up with him in a few months to see if he had any new works for sale. Then–an art fair miracle! He showed us a few of his sketches that hadn’t been on display and we found one that we loved, for under $100. It had all the same elegant geometries of his larger works, and we hope it will be the first of many of his pieces we collect.
This was also the case with our friend (and Superfine! Co-Founder) James Miille, whose otherworldly photographs we’ve always loved. While we weren’t quite ready to buy a larger piece, he personally gave us a tour of some of his smaller archival prints and even recommended an affordable frame shop in the area, which saved us some cash on the print we bought from him as well as a few other pieces we had just purchased. Sold!
Always Keep In Touch
Inevitably, at any great fair, there will be some art that you miss out on due to one reason or another. But it’s never a total loss. At the very least, follow all the artists you discover and love on Instagram to turn your feed into a constantly revolving fair. Also, never forget that many fairs will list their unsold works online. So even if you had one too many glasses of Champagne and forgot to go back to purchase that one piece you really wanted, there’s likely a second chance.