Art and Commerce have always had a close relationship. The art industry is a multi-billion dollar market that is buoyant at all ends of the price spectrum. Artists have always been supported by entrepreneurs and in recent decades the trend has been corporations building their own collections. It used to be the giant financial institutions wanting to get their hands on a Michelangelo or Basquiat, but in recent years we have seen a shift towards real involvement by corporations - identifying emerging talent and supporting them by collecting their works, the price appreciation being just a welcome consequence. All of the above is besides the point which is that art is a healing force that radiates positive energy in any environment.
Art collecting is not yet recognised as a CSR activity. Perhaps because there is an exchange of money for the artwork, as opposed to typical giving back which doesn't involve getting something in return for business donations. Speak to any artist, while they are very happy to receive the financial boost, they are just as thrilled to know that their artwork is collected by a reputable company. Selling art validates the artist and justifies their sacrifices in more ways than just the receiving payment. Purchasing art from very talented artists that are on the cusp of something great could provide them with just the needed boost to break through to prominence in their field.
Why should art collecting only be for the large companies? More than anything, this self-limiting approach denies many artists the benefits of having access to the corporate market. There are artists with works at all price points - from hundreds of millions to simply hundreds of dollars. This magazine serves tens of thousands of companies , the average turnover of these companies is in excess of 10 million dollars. If we go with 30% profitability that means that there is an average of $3 million dollars per year in profits - what if every one of the companies that we serve invested 1% of their profits in art? That's a lot of $30,000 supporting artists in what may qualify as tax-free CSR spend. You may choose to spend it on one single work of art or you may want to purchase 30 different works of art at $1,000 each. Suddenly you have the beginnings of your very own art gallery in that unused space that every company has in their offices. Sure, there are additional costs such as security and insurance but that should be just a marginal addition to your existing expenditure - I am guessing that you already pay for security systems and insurance, right?
You don't need an art consultant. Sure, they are a prudent choice once you start spending the big bucks but if you are just starting out then the only art consultant you need is your heart. Choose artworks that grab you and speak to you. If you have to convince yourself that a work of art is great every time you see it then it really is not for you. There is art for everyone, gather a collection and there will be something that resonates with each and every one of your employees and visitors.
As a CSR action, collecting art serves 3 purposes:
How can you ensure your art collection wont lose money?
All investments come with the risk of losses. Art as a long-term investment has performed strongly when compared with other investment classes. Regardless of the price point, artworks tend to retain their original value at the very least and in most instances they appreciate in value.
The key factors to look for when considering artworks for your collection through an investment prism, are:
- The quality of the artist's current and previous artworks.
- The artist's CV/ Resume.
- How passionate is the artist about art, will they stick with it.
- Consistency - does the artist produce great works regularly.
- Media coverage, buzz and social media following.
- Who else has collected the artist.
Purchasing art for your corporate collection is a safe bet when doing it for the long term and applying those simple guidelines. As long as you have acquired works from talented artists that are on track to have solid careers then you should see strong appreciation in value of their early works. If you factor in Pareto's principle, then just as most business leaders sign up to the understanding that 80% of sales come from 20% of clients or sales people, then it should be a reasonable hope that 20% of your corporate art collection will positively skyrocket in value.
However as mentioned earlier in this article, the biggest benefit of collecting art is the rejuvenative energy it will bring to your employees and those business visitors that come over for meetings. More than ever, the healing power of art is needed in our shared spaces in a post-COVID-19 world.
SOME ARTISTS TO CHECK OUT FOR YOUR CORPORATE ART COLLECTION
DARCY J. SEARS
A San Francisco Bay Area sculptor who has been working with clay and bronze for over 20 years.
Based in Bregenz, Austria, Patrick is a master glass artist sculpting with this unique material for 23 years.
Based in Hamilton, Montana. A mixed-media artist. Her works are in the permanent collections of several museums.
Shoreham, UK based artist Louise V Durham has worked with glass for 15 years. Her work is inspired by her love of gardening.
An abstract realist painter known for using color as structure for her high-key colored landscapes and prints.
Painter based in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. His artwork can be found in many private and public collections in the region.
Oil Painter in Frisco, Texas. Winner of the Best of show at the 20th American Impressionist Society's Juried Exhibition 2019.
Figurative sculpture artist in Texas. Her work has appeared in many prestigious shows throughout the United States.
ANDRZEJ M KARWACKI
Living in the SF Bay Area, he has a broad creative practice; his works are exhibited throughout The United States and Europe.
San Francisco-based abstract artist and astrologer who finds inspiration in the symbolic language of astrology.
Hackensack, New Jersey - based Digital Artist. Michele unleashes the full potential of digital painting by creating works that tell stories of beauty, passion and life. A global following makes this artist an exciting bet.
Stephen has been telling stories through realistic fine art for over 25 years. Galleried and highly respected in his field.
Based in Anacortes, USA. An architect and artist whose acrylic works are inspired by the beauty of the natural environment.
Contemporary painter at the intersection of modern painting, mysticism, and traditional Chinese iconography.
Colorado based colored pencil artist, who uses a combination of color and detail to create realistic drawings.
ÁINE is an installation artist, painter and designer based in Northern California. Working in thread, oils, and other media.
Based in Portland, USA. One of the top kiln-glass educators of the day, his artworks can be found in collections worldwide.
Respected painter and sculptor based in San Francisco. Pamela has worked as an artist since 1967.
Seattle based watercolor artist who paints memories of voyages through both natural and imaginary worlds.
Dallas, Texas based artist who combines abstract imagery, cartoon drawing, and geometric patterns with a touch of cubism.
Based in the upper Midwest of the USA She creates distinctive sculptures from blown glass, kiln-formed glass, and metal.
CYNTHIA ROSE TOM
Florida based self-taught contemporary abstract artist. Her art is influenced by her travel to over 30 different countries.
A self-taught artist currently working in alcohol ink and fluid acrylics. She has also explored watercolors and oil paintings.
Los Angeles based digital Painter. He manipulates photographs into vibrant, arresting splashes of color.
BRENDA J WATSON
A self-taught mixed media artist. She has received several awards for her work.
Resin artist who creates colorful abstract paintings. Her artwork is displayed in public and private collections worldwide.
A photographer living in Pennsylvania. Her work spans several genres including abstract, nature and travel photography.
A committed creator, born in Uruguay. His creativity is applied to various techniques, creating his own personal style.
Abstract paintings of memories, moods and landscapes create a dynamic experience for the viewer.
Israel based photographer. He uses long exposure photography to show nature beyond what the naked eye can see.
NANCY STAUB LAUGHLIN
An accomplished highly imaginative artist. She is represented in numerous, collections, museums and galleries in the USA.
A surrealist who lives in Los Angeles. She views herself as a celestial storyteller, rather than an artist.
A New York and Miami based contemporary artist whose mixed media works can be found in several corporate collections.
An oil painter based in Colorado. She feels all artwork is unique in telling another story or another version of the same story.
A Spanish artist living and painting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His artwork employs a range of materials and styles.
THE FREQUENT ARTIST
A visual artist from LA that specializes in incorporating color with movement so the content presented has its individuality.
For 25 years Shiloh has dedicated her soul work to the practice of creativity as a path of transformation and consciousness.
New Zealand’s most successful landscape painter, Tim Wilson's lifelong passion for landscape fuelled his unique innovations.