Q – You have a Diploma in Art Law and a particular interest in art and art collections. What trends do you see in the art market?
Cryptocurrency continues to attract new buyers to the art market, many of these remaining within the digital sphere with the purchasing of non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”). Online art purchases increased during the global pandemic, and this trend has continued. Pieces that present well online will attract the most interest, therefore making two-dimensional art, such as prints, easier to sell than sculptures. According to the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Report, the “millennial” generation were the biggest art buyers in 2020 and in the first half of 2021 spent almost double that of the “Gen X” generation and nearly four times that of the “baby boomer” generation. Millennials embrace online platforms, have a presence on social media (a great marketing tool for artists and galleries when it comes to appealing to the millennial audience) and often seek a connection with the art they purchase. As a result, there is perhaps a shift away from works of old masters to more contemporary pieces.
Q – Are NFTs investments?
NFTs are virtual tokens that use blockchain technology to record proof of ownership for, amongst other things, digital artwork. Essentially, you buy a code that manifests as art, photography, memes – and the list goes on. In 2021, sales hit a staggering $25 billion, a surge from $95 million in 2020; however, NFTs are not like a stock or a bond where you generally know the intrinsic value. An NFT’s value comes in part to the value that is given to it by other people, so it really only has a value if someone else is willing to pay for it. NFT sales have fallen by 92% since September 2021 so their future is difficult to predict but certainly one to watch.
Q – Wedlake Bell continues to sponsor The Chelsea Art Society. Why is this important?
We have supported The Chelsea Art Society for the last seven years. Founded in 1910, it is the oldest and sole survivor of the many art groups that thrived in the area around that period. Each year we award a prize to an artist under the age of 35 at the Society’s Annual Exhibition. I have had the honour of picking the winner for the last two years.
Q – Tell us about the winning artist of the Wedlake Bell Young Artist award.
The award this year went to Wyatt Blackwell from North Carolina. His winning oil painting, “Tom & Caroline’s Moving Day”, depicts a tranquil moment on the day his friends were moving house, and has at the centre a fireplace and, in true millennial fashion, a vast array of houseplants surrounding it.
Q – What is your own growing art collection like?
I purchased the winning piece “Tom & Caroline’s Moving Day” from The Chelsea Art Society as it captured a surrounding that looked like my own home and I was simply drawn to it. I have also purchased a few pieces from the Affordable Art Fair, a fantastic organisation that makes art more accessible to the younger generation. My “collection” (if it can be called as such) has a few pop art pieces by Sebastian Burdon, a print by Martin Grover and one of my favourites is a piece of box art called “London Fog” by German artist, Volker Kühn.