Choosing art for your home can be intimidating. With so many things to consider, you might find yourself asking all kinds of questions without knowing where to start. But while picking art for your abode may not be an easy task, the impact it creates on your space goes well beyond just something pretty to look at.
We like to meet with artists and designers, with our interviews and features. Also, we are lucky that art shows have become increasingly popular, giving art collectors and enthusiasts an avenue to explore and discover unique work from both established and emerging artists.
In this feature, we’ve spoken to Mark Saunderson, the co-founder and director of the Asia Contemporary Art Show, to give us his expert advice on choosing art for our homes. He’s been a long-time collector of art and co-founded Hong Kong-based Fabrik Gallery in 2007.
With the abundance of talented artists worldwide, the Asia Contemporary Art Show is a much anticipated event held twice a year in Hong Kong. This spring, the show brings an entirely new world of art featuring more than 80 galleries from around the world, to connect artists with art lovers and offer art at accessible prices.
What sets the show apart from other art fairs is that it offers a pretty unique experience! Rather than hosted in a large exhibition hall, the galleries are presented in hotel rooms spread over four floors of the Conrad Hotel. The ambiance is relaxing, and a whole lot more intimate, encouraging conversation between artists and collectors.
Are there any particular artists at the show this year whose works visitors should look out for?
That is a question I often get asked! Every show seeks to present a diverse range of artists and representative countries, and this 10th edition is no exception. Touching on a variety of themes, mediums and styles, some of the standout artists at the spring show include two exceptional hyper-realist painters whose works are thematically different yet extraordinarily detailed, Simon Maarouf from Syria and Anna Rubin from Australia.
Blending bold imagery and pop art aesthetics that touch on issues of cultural identity and social issues are Felipe Cardeña from Spain/Italy, Fawaaz Sukri from Malaysia and Pawel Kuczynski from Poland.
Another two very distinct artists who use symbols and patterns to express an emotional or spiritual journey are Amy Cheng from the USA and renowned abstract painter Lydia Moawad from Lebanon.
The last two artists that I would like to mention, among so many whose works will be presented at the show, are two artists whose works are recognized for their particular use of the color red, the very popular Bali-based abstract painter Wenas Heriyanto and the highly collectible, quasi-surreal landscape artist from South Korea, Sea Hyun Lee, whose work forms part of the Uli Sigg collection in Switzerland.
We are very excited to bring these artists’ works to Hong Kong and to offer viewers the opportunity to see the works in person. It’s going to be a great show!
What is your advice to the primary collector?
I often get asked this question, and I always start off with this caveat: be prepared to do your homework! Buying art involves many factors, but it often starts with the visual allure – the work should appeal to the buyer’s aesthetic sense. Once you have identified the type of work you like, then comes the homework:
Research the artist – what is their background? Do they have a defined art narrative? Do they have extensive exhibiting experience? Has the artist sold at auction, along with public pricing? Are there critical writings and reviews of the artist’s work?
Research the market – if possible, meet the artist and ask questions. Visit art fairs and galleries. Attend auctions. Use online tools to research market trends. Network with other collectors and learn from their experiences. Over time, first time buyers will evolve into informed, serious collectors.
What are the differences between online buyers and traditional collectors?
Many online buyers are generally younger and more tech-savvy than traditional collectors. This younger generation of collectors use the online platform because they want more choice, are value buyers and they want to purchase art at times that are convenient for them. They often do a lot more research before they buy and they appreciate that buying art online offers them a broader range of prices, so they can start on the lower end of the price spectrum to start their collections and gradually build from there.
Traditional collectors often like to establish a relationship with the artist, where possible, and they rely more on galleries to provide them information. With a gallery choice of work is defined by an exhibit calendar where prices are likely higher for new works, but there is more of a personal rapport in buying art in this way.
How do you stay on top of the art trends and the popularity in the art scene?
The internet is the driving force of change in the arts industry. The future belongs to the evolution of art fairs and online services, which will drive the primary market. Commercially, traditional galleries will be compelled to evolve to stay relevant alongside our efforts and those of others to create a broader and more inclusive market for art. Services that bring buyer and seller together, either in person or virtually, are certainly something we will continue doing moving forward. We will always have our gaze focused towards the future, but we will continue to build using hands-on experiences.
Tell us about your own personal art collection. How do you buy art?
The first painting I collected is a piece by one of the most influential and well-known American artists of all time – Andy Warhol’s Mobil Gas. I had my own “15 minutes” meeting Warhol back in 1983 here in Hong Kong, we chatted and I was awestruck by his artistic view and take on life. Recently, I just finished cataloging the works I have collected over the years. A favorite is a recent Chapman Brothers work, and I was an early supporter of local artist Simon Birch. I am drawn to art out of interest, for what I see and the artist sees – there’s often a fascinating narrative that adds to the pleasure of patronage and ownership.
While some of us may have a penchant for spotting art that inspires, understanding the process of buying art can help make sure we bring home a masterpiece that truly reflects who we are. With insightful advice from Mark Saunderson, we have our eyes set on collecting art that will stand the test of time. The 10th edition of the Asia Contemporary Art Show kicks off on Friday March 17th 2017 at the Conrad Hotel, Hong Kong.
Are you a fan of collecting art for your home? How do you usually choose art?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.