The Art of Buying Art
Art. It has many definitions and interpretations. For some, nothing qualifies as artistic unless it is the radiant beauty of the oranges and apples of Paul Cézanne’s still life work, while for others, a poster of a couple of dogs playing pool is more than enough.
Puerto Vallarta has established itself as a paradise for art fans. Our streets house an impressive collection of galleries and show spaces that shine with a flow of exhibitions and art walks, nurturing the social scene to increase the attention and appreciation of residents and visitors towards the arts.
In a place with as many sources of inspiration as our destination, and with so many established and emerging talents, it is nice for one to discover that their eye becomes refined, and the spirit becomes more receptive to all the creative work that can be found in virtually any corner of the city.
However, to guide those who are starting to buy art, the Vallarta Lifestyles editorial team assembled a panel of experts with the intention of sharing some of their tips with those who require a little help when considering taking a work home.
Together, this group of art gallery owners represent a wealth of experienced people who sincerely offer their knowledge and feedback regarding the art of buying art.
Work vs Art
Magdalena Díaz, owner of Pájaro Rojo Galería, believes that for a work to be considered art, it must convey a feeling: “From the moment it is seen, it must completely catch you. It is a feeling that draws you to it, so that the desire to have it comes immediately.”
Rodolfo Choperena, owner of Galería Contempo, adds: “Exactly, any work that makes you experience some feeling, whether good or bad, can be considered art. Good art is always going to get you excited.”
John C. Strawn, owner of The Loft Gallery, went deeper: “A work of art is the creative result of an idea and a reflection by the artist on their surroundings, their inner feelings and their thoughts. Together, these things become a work of art and can manifest in many different ways.”
Petru Voichescu, owner of Atelier 2020 · Arte de Hoy, adds: “Originality, innovation and the execution of a good technique to convey a philosophical or ideological message makes a work into an art. It does not necessarily have to be purely aesthetic; it needs to contain or offer something for those who appreciate it.”
“To set the price of a work, first, we look at the name of the artist—this is at the gallery level, and I really think many buyers do not take this into account. The experience, years of practice and participation in group exhibitions all contribute to putting a value on the work. In other words, an artist with a well-known name will sell at a higher price because the market and collectors will appreciate it much more,” explains Voichescu.
Strawn adds: “The price can also be determined by a mutual agreement between the producer of the work—in this case, the artist—and the gallery. If I am the creator of the work, I have an initial judgment on how much it cost me to produce it, such as the materials I used and the time it took me to complete it.”
Choperena reveals: “Invariably, the size of a work will help to establish an appropriate price. Additionally, if it is an emerging artist, the work will have a much lower value than that of a known artist.”
Díaz adds: “In addition to the above, I would add that the origins and history of the artist must be considered. I agree that career trajectory and previous exhibitions are very important aspects, but also it is valuable to know who the artist’s teachers were, as well as the academic background of how the artist developed his gift.”
“My advice to someone with no experience buying art is very much related to the start of this conversation. The best thing that can happen is to find a work that one connects to. If it creates a feeling, whatever it is, then it is the right piece to choose,” Díaz says.
Choperena adds: “I always recommend buying what one likes. We have two types of clients: the one who buys for pleasure and the one who wants to make an investment. If we are lucky enough to see an increase in the value of something we bought simply because we liked it, that is wonderful. However, there is always the risk that it will stay at the same price or even go down. Keeping that in mind, imagine buying something you didn’t like!”
Strawn adds: “Although there are several considerations to take into account, everything eventually revolves around answering one question: What are you trying to buy and why do you want to acquire it? The next step is to start educating yourself to answer the question: Why might or might not a particular artist be worth investing in? After that, the process of buying art is like acquiring a property. It is like finding a house that fits your needs within the budget you have allocated.”
Voichescu explains: “Buying art is a daily job. The first thing a client needs to identify is their taste for a type of work and a style. Then, they need to be able to answer, with total honesty, if they like a piece or not. When I see a buyer with doubts, I always recommend that they really examine the work and take a photo of it, then go home and visualize it in the space they are going to place it. In this way, they can make a more considered decision.”
Buying Art: Good Idea?
“Buying art is always going to be a good idea because it contributes to improving a person’s quality of life. It enhances the imagination, visual appeal, and the environment where one lives. Art is emotion, a taste, and a feeling. When you buy a work of art, it is something that belongs to you because you bought it with your heart, your soul, and your mind. It is recognizing your identity,” concludes Petru Voichescu.
“Without a doubt, it will impact your life in every way. Imagine arriving at your home after a busy day and seeing on your table or your wall a beautiful work of art. That’s going to relax you a lot more than a shot of tequila. It allows your brain to clear and captures your interest, it inspires your feelings and your respect, and broadens your understanding of creativity. Art reflects the best things in our lives,” concludes John C. Strawn.
“If you do it right, buying art can become an addiction. It is incredible, but a work, placed in the right place in the house, can have a double effect: it contributes to generating peace within the environment, but yet, it can make everything take on a new context, which will lead to a change in the décor, so everything interacts harmoniously. In the end, this will improve the quality of life for the buyer,” concludes Rodolfo Choperena.
“Art can cure of the world! Buying art is going beyond your limits to explore your imagination and each of your senses in detail. In fact, when you have a work of art in front of you, you can create thousands of stories from it,” concludes Magdalena Díaz.