Buro culturemaker Noelle Faulkner talks to some of the galleries showing at Sydney Contemporary about how collecting art is not as scary as it seems

ICYMI: This week will see the opening of Australia's biggest art fair, Sydney Contemporary, which will plonk over 80 galleries, hundreds of artists and thousands of artworks spanning multiple mediums under the one roof at Carriageworks in Redfern.

For those who are interested in art, curious about art collecting or wanting to learn more about the Australian art market, there is, put simply, no better event. Sydney Contemporary, aside from the obvious show-and-tell of the art hung on exhibitor's walls, is an important connector -it takes away any pretence and removes the cold (a myth!) confines of gallery walls and lets you, me, anybody whose pupils dilate at the sight of a work they love, meet the makers, the galleriest and well, talk shop.

With a huge wave of new artists taking out some of the more prestigious grants, prizes and awards of-late, the Australian art market is experiencing a surge of youth right now. You might have noticed this, had you visited the Archibald exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW this year - a brilliant selection and one of the best and freshest Sulman and Wynne prizes we're seen in a while IMO (despite what some stuffy old world personalities might have said). And if you were lucky enough to attend the First Draft auction last week, then, you know...

Now, thanks to the wonders of Art Money, (which I mention in literally every art story I write, not because I'm paid to, but because I use it and love it, just FYI) art collecting can be a reality for many young Australians. The service offers interest free loans for art, letting you take the works home with you while you pay them off.

So, with all that in mind, and with Sydney Contemporary at our door, there has never been a better time to build a collection. Here, I spoke to three galleries showing Sydney Contemporary on building a newbie-collector game plan.

 

Matthew Nache, PaulNache Gallery, New Zealand

Art insider: 3 galleriests give us a peek into their Sydney Contemporary booths

What is the biggest misconception surrounding contemporary art?
The biggest misconception about contemporary art is that it's elitist or impenetrable. Art today embraces many different viewpoints and contexts, and though this may initially seem confusing, what it really means for you is an incredible variety! You're much more likely to find someone making work that really resonates for you, because of the diversity of artists and approaches.

What advice do you have for young collectors wanting to build a collection on a shoestring?
Most artists produce works of different levels of complexity, so if you're on a budget that won't allow you to buy your dream piece, ask if that artist has any smaller works, drawings, multiples - there is usually something kept out-of-sight to cater to fans on a shoestring.

When it comes to buying art purely for investment, what are the best things to look for?
Investment art is as tricky as any other investment - you need to research, and once you've decided on an artist, you need to make a substantial investment of a significant work. Building a relationship with a gallery you can trust is essential in this process.

Art insider: 3 galleriests give us a peek into their Sydney Contemporary booths

What are some of the best sources for extending your knowledge of the art world?
Find several galleries who show work you like and get on their mailing list, Instagram and media streams; you'll get a good overview of artists from reputable dealers. Go to art openings when you can, there's nothing like standing in front of a work to get a sense of scale, colour, and method. Openings are also a great interactive place to talk with other art lovers, not just about what you're standing before but what might be of similar interest.

What are you most excited about this year?
The three artists I've brought to Sydney Contemporary constantly turn me on! I am also excited about returning to Australia - I always feel so welcomed, it's a great place.

Sydney Contemporary in five words:
Art for eyes, head, heart.

What's the soundtrack to your Sydney Contemporary booth this year?
My artist Evan Woodruffe informs me its all about 'Champagne, Secrets, & Chanel', by Giorgio Moroder & Phantoms ft. Princes Charlez.

paulnache.com

 

Edwina Corlette, Edwina Corlette Gallery, Brisbane

 Art insider: 3 galleriests give us a peek into their Sydney Contemporary booths

What is the biggest misconception surrounding contemporary art?
The biggest misconception around contemporary art is that it's somehow inaccessible, that it's either unaffordable or that to appreciate it, you need a certain level of understanding.

What advice do you have for young collectors wanting to build a collection on a shoestring?
There are lots of options for young collectors wanting to build a collection on a shoestring.  Visit and buy from ARIs (Artist Run Initiatives),  Art School Grad shows, or ask the gallery if they offer a payment plan, which is essentially a lay-by.  And now in Australia we have Art Money (artmoney.com/au) which offers interest free loans on artworks: a 10% deposit with nine months to pay off the balance, and you can take the work home with you after your application has been approved (which takes around five minutes).

When it comes to buying art purely for investment, what are the best things to look for?
Study the art market in the artist's work you're considering investing in. Check their exhibiting history and look at recent sales. Investing in a good work by a blue chip artist is a safer option than investing in an emerging artist, but of course sometimes if you speculate, you can get lucky!!

Art insider: 3 galleriests give us a peek into their Sydney Contemporary booths

What are some of the best sources for extending your knowledge of the art world?
The best sources for your extending your knowledge in the art world is to visit galleries and talking to the people who work there. Join their mailing lists to stay up to speed on events taking place at the gallery, openings, artist talks, studio visits.  Visiting regional and state museums is a great way to stay across the contemporary Australian art scene, looking at work in a different context, reading catalogue essays and other literature around an exhibition.

What are you most excited about this year?
Very excited to be exhibiting a solo exhibition of Belem Lett's work at Sydney Contemporary.  Belem was the 2010 recipient of the prestigious Brett Whiteley Travelling Scholarship and his work since then has developed incredibly.  The new work we'll present at the Fair is a series of very abstract, painstakingly made, highly patterned paintings.  The high-key palette is fantastic, come and see them!!  We're also exhibiting new work by Miranda Skoczek, Julian Meagher, Sally Anderson, Clara Adolphs, Paul Ryan and Bundit Puangthong.

Sydney Contemporary in five words:
Fast, Fun, Busy, Exhilarating, Social.

What's the soundtrack to your Sydney Contemporary booth this year?
Beck's 'Beercan'.

edwinacorlette.com

 

Rhianna Walcott, Artereal Gallery, Sydney

 Art insider: 3 galleriests give us a peek into their Sydney Contemporary booths

What is the biggest misconception surrounding contemporary art?
That you have to be an expert to appreciate Contemporary Art! Or that you need to be living a million dollar lifestyle to be able to afford it.  Anyone and everyone can appreciate Contemporary art. You just need to approach it with an open mind and be willing to ask lots of questions and engage in a conversation about it. 

Most contemporary artworks challenge you to think and question the themes they explore, so never be afraid to ask questions and start a conversation. 
Another misconception seems to be a fear of expressing an opinion. Contemporary art is subjective. You are not going to like everything you see and you shouldn't be afraid to express that opinion - it will help you to better understand and develop your own taste.

What advice do you have for young collectors wanting to build a collection on a shoestring?
Approach gallerists, introduce yourself, and tell them what your budget is. Ask them to introduce you to their younger, emerging artists and to keep you up to date in the future with work that they think might interest you. Gallerists love to develop these sorts of relationships.

Also, use Art Money - it sounds too good to be true, but they provide interest free loans for buying art! Start visiting Artist Run Galleries like Firstdraft and the end of year art school graduate shows - they're fertile ground for affordable artworks by the next generation of exciting young artists. Best piece of advice: buy what you love.

Art insider: 3 galleriests give us a peek into their Sydney Contemporary booths

When it comes to buying art purely for investment, what are the best things to look for?
When buying for investment always look at an artist's CV. Look to see if their work is held in institutional collections, if they are being shortlisted for art prizes and if they are being curated into biennales or exhibitions at major galleries and museums. 

Also look at the reputation of the gallery you are buying from. Don't buy photographic or print works from large editions (try to stick to smaller editions of 10 or less). And if you can, try to buy a major work by the artist - a piece that really sums up what that artist is about - if in doubt, ask the gallerist which pieces they feel are the most significant works by that artist and ask them to explain why.

What are some of the best sources for extending your knowledge of the art world?
Gallery mailing lists. Art fairs like Sydney Contemporary. Magazines such as Vault, Art Collector and Art Monthly Australasia. Websites such as Artsy, Ocula and Blouin Art Info. And if you're really serious about engaging more with the art world, initiatives like the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia Young Ambassadors program. 

Art insider: 3 galleriests give us a peek into their Sydney Contemporary booths

What are you most excited about this year?
Liam Benson's upcoming solo show of beautiful hand-sequined embroideries at Artereal Gallery this October. Also the chance to see new neon artworks by artist and psychotherapist Noula Diamantopoulos at Artereal Gallery this December. Primavera is one of my annual favourites at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. And I'm really looking forward to seeing Louise Zhang's work as part of upcoming exhibition The future leaks out at Performance Space.

Sydney Contemporary in five words:
Frenetic, exhilarating, inspiring. Sensory overload!

artereal.com.au

Sydney Contemporary, September 7-10 Carriageworks, Sydney

SYDNEY CONTEMPORARY EXCLUSIVE TICKET OFFER: 

All Buro 24/7 Australia readers score a 20% discount on tickets! For tickets and more info, visit sydneycontemporary.com.au/buro247 

Noelle and Buro 24/7 will be taking over the Sydney Contemporary Instagram (@sydneycontemporary) this weekend.

Follow Noelle:

Website: noellefaulkner.com  
Instagram: @noelleflamingo
Twitter: @noelleflamingo

Art insider: 3 galleriests give us a peek into their Sydney Contemporary booths