Thursday, May 4, 2017

Artist Forum: Investing In Chicago Alley

Question: How do I invest in art?

There's a lot of uncertainty in the world.  And you want to invest your hard earned money somewhere that's safe and has a good return.  According to Bloomberg, sales of post war and contemporary artwork have exploded from $260 million in 1995 to $7.8 billion in 2016.  And the value of art isn't as prone to erratic and irrational fluctuations as the stock and bond markets.  Even more impressive, your investment can add beauty and colors to your walls.  So, what are some things to consider when investing in artwork?
Style: What kind of person are you?  Do you follow trends or do you take your own path?  If you're trendy, then it's a matter of trying to stay ahead of the curve.  Look for pieces that have the colors and subjects that are popular.  Let's say purple bears are becoming hot.  You can purchase and commission a few pieces with purple bears.  You could build a collection (2+ pieces), which can boost the value of the pieces as collectors may want everything you've curated.  Once you've sold your pieces at the peak of their popularity, you can move on to building a collection of unicorn paintings or whatever else you think will be the next big thing.

But, if you're a value investor, you could make a good investment by purchasing art that isn't in style.  Just like fashion, an artists popularity will rise and fall cyclically.  All artists works come off the wall and are put into closets.  And those pieces hidden in closets are what you want to collect.  Why?  At some point, those pieces will come back into vogue.  And when they do, you can resell the pieces for a considerable markup.

History: What is the provenience or the history of the piece?  Was it hanging in a mansion of a prominent family for the last hundred years?  Was it a gift to the artist's spouse before they passed away?  These can add to the value of the piece.  Time naturally leads to scarcity.  And that scarcity can benefit your investment.  

But, what about making your own history?  You don't have to go to a major auction house to build a collection.  Emerging artists can be a very affordable option that can have unlimited growth potential?  To do this, look for artist who is creating artwork as their profession, not as a hobby.  The reason is you want someone who is building a portfolio of work and a market for their pieces.  As the artist career advances from Etsy, to cafe shows, small gallery exhibit, high-end galleries, and museum, the value of your pieces advance too.  If you're fascinated by venture capitalist, this may be for you.  While many of the artists may fail to be recognized, finding that one piece or artist could be life changing. 

Research: Who is selling you the painting?  Are you buying it online, from someone you know, a random person on Craigslist, a local gallery, or a world-renown auction house?  What is their reputation?  Just like buying a car, a house, or choosing a bank, you want to make sure you can have trust in your dealer.  

What about the piece you'd like to purchase?  Is it really authentic?  If the artist is alive, that can usually be solved by a phone call or email.  But, if the artist is deceased, a third party expert should be used to get a certificate of authenticity.  And look for damage and/or restoration as this can greatly impact the value of a piece

Who is the artist?  Are they alive?  If so, what age are they?  Did they attend an art school?  Have their works been exhibited?  What awards have they won?  

Fun: The most important thing about investing in art is that it's "fun."  If you enjoy visiting museums, art galleries, studios, garage sales, art fairs, thrift stores, and making your own pieces, then this may be a great option for you.  Know who you are and what you like.  Chances are there are lots of other people who love the same things you do and will want the sames things you want.  

THANKS AGAIN and please let me know if you have any other questions you'd like for me to answer.  

Chicago Alley, 2017
gouach and ink on bristol paper
2.5" x 3.5" in a 4" x 5" frame  (6.35 cm x 8.89 cm in a 10.2 cm x 12.7 frame)
© copyright Mike Kraus

10% OFF with coupon code JOINTHEFUN

After a long day of work in the Loop, I take the "L" train home. It's so much better reading a book on public transit than fighting road rage in a traffic jam. And today I'm just watching all the buildings pass by. The brown line runs at street level in the alleys after the Western stop. The alleys are somehow beautifully utilitarian. 

This artist trading card or ACEO (Art Card Editions and Originals) is frameable, collectible, enjoyable and can be given as a special gift for a birthday, wedding, new baby, anniversary, thank you or other occasion.  It is a one-of-a-kind original work of art, NOT A PRINT OR REPRODUCTION. It is signed on the back and lends itself to framing in a standard trading card frame or book.

This piece would look best in a space that is orange, yellow, green, blue, dark purple, brown, beige, black, white, or wood

For more information or custom order, please visit:

THANKS SO MUCH TO UNION PLACE COFFEE ROASTERS for hosting a wonderful open house last night.  We had a great time and met lots of fun new friends.  I really enjoyed the coffee roasting demonstrations, Sweet and Cute coffee syrup tasting on ice cream, Dolce Cupcakery's treats, Southern Tier Brewing Company stout and IPA, and Rochester, NY's mayoral candidate Rachel Barnhart discuss her plans.

There's still time to see my work and have some amazing coffee too!  Whitman Work Co. will have my pieces up until May 25th.  More information at:

Union Place Coffee Roasters
Genesee Valley Regional Market
900 Jefferson Rd. Building 15 Suite 1504
Rochester, NY 14623
(585) 784-0404

Store Hours:
Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
Thursday 9am-6pm
Saturday 9am-3pm

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