Expert Ease: Art Today

ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME: Is there one medium of art that you would call on-trend or cutting-edge today?
Don Christiansen: More important than the medium is the artist, as most create works using a variety of techniques. The cost is usually what a person will use as a gauge to acquire artwork, with a few exceptions.
David Drebin: I don’t believe in trends but in timeless style. What makes an artist great is having a recognizable style.

Who is today’s new, up-and-coming collector?
DC: Acquiring art is an extension of one’s lifestyle and stature, and is available to everyone. I do think, with the advent of multiple art fairs in major cities, it is reaching a bigger audience. The last Art Basel (Switzerland) offered $3.4 billion worth of art over four days. Sales were robust and heavily weighted toward younger, newer money from Russia, China and the United States.
DD: I think the new collector is the dreamer, the man or woman who wants a particular piece of art and then saves for years in order to buy it. However in reality, there are so many kinds of clients from all over the world, billionaires who buy thousands of dollars’ worth on the spot and the one just described. It’s hard to say there is one new type.

Are people becoming more knowledgeable about art or are they leaning more heavily on experts for guidance?
DC: The fairs are exposing many more people to a wider, international offering of artists. I always counsel people to work with an informed advisor who can guide them through it so they don’t make mistakes. There are innumerable artists to consider, so I suggest that people carefully consider their goals in buying art, whether it’s for enjoyment or investment.
DD: I heard someone say once, “People think about what other people think before they think.” There are many with this mindset, and many who rely on experts. The fairs do play a substantial role in new-client acquisition as art enthusiasts and seasoned collectors travel globally in search of inspiration and new works.

Art prices are at a record high. Where do you see them going in the future?
DC: The art market has consistently outperformed the stock market provided you bought the right artists. I think the key is to focus on a few incontestable artists who have had a consistent track record of appreciation.
DD: Once you raise your prices, you can’t lower them. I’m very careful. Sometimes we give discounts, but we never lower the price. In the long run, it depends on the artist.

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