Monday, May 11, 2009

Anime, the Future And the Supernatural + Painting "Specter"

From the beginning, anime and manga have explored many themes, two of which I find particularly interesting, the future and the supernatural. Dr. Tezuka's Astroboy and the proceeding giant robots set the stage for the former, the crow spirits in his manga "Dove! Fly Up to Heaven" and numerous other spirit creatures out of Japanese folklore. the latter.

Many anime bring the two together in ways ranging from comedy to horror. The numerous series about Tenchi Muyo and friends were all about the future and the supernatural, not to mention love found, love lost, friendship, lonliness and a few other subplots thrown in for good measure mostly with comedic overtones. Throw in a good dose of violence and you can say the same for Cowboy Bebop, Outlaw Star and many others.

A completely differnent take on the future is explored in anime like the Macross series with a computer generated, holographic pop singer, Sharon Apple, and the implications involving artificial intelligence. Can A.I. be taken too far? Can A.I. beings take over and controll their creators?

Anime and manga have envisioned the future in ways both comedic and tradgic, idylylic and apocalyptic. Appleseed followed by Akira then Ghost in the Shell complicated the concept further by adding government control, A.I., cyborgs and the enevitable revolt of the oppressed into the mix.

One of my personal favorite takes on the supernatural (and the future if you count flying saucers as belonging to the future) is a South Korean animation, Yobi, The Fivetailed Fox. Anime, of course has it's share of fox spirits. Kagome's friend and Inu Yasha's tormentor, Shippo for example. Even intelligent life that has no specific shape, form or appearance and a seeming time traveller that can communicate with them are standard fare for anime (Mushi-shi).

Just like anime's take on the future, the supernatural is portrayed in ways from lighthearted to serious, comedic to an all out battle between good and evil. Anime and manga very seldom narrow their focus to just a simple subject matter or storyline. More often than not , it is complex, over the top and taken to the extreme. Somewhat like the real, present day world of Japan.

Randy Patton

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Evoltion of Anime and Fine Art

An artist named Takashi Murakami has been creating art in the form of paintings, statues, prints,toys and just about anything else he can put is images on to market. Murakami is the prominent name in the world of fine art that draws it's inspiration from anime and

Murakami was influenced by anime from the 1970s and 1980s and used the look and feel of anime in his work as opposed to what might be a much more traditional source of inspiration for Japanese artists, the classic woodblock print. Murakami attended the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and majored in Japanese art.

Soon therafter the Poku concept was born, a phrase created by Murakami to describe the blending of pop culture references he percieved in America and Japan. Technology, video games, movies, television, including commercials, are some of the sources of his influence for his creations.

Dob, i.e. a futuristic, android Mickey Mouse is a Murakami invention that straddles the line of art and commercialization just like Mickey did from the early 1930's to the present. Murakami learned from the master himself, Mr. Disney of course.

The Superflat movement, Murakami's name for his two-dimensional style as well as a comment on otaku culture, media and Japanese culture in general evovled out of Poku, Dob as well as his statues and even an animated short film. Fashion, Louis Vuitton for example, as well as keychains and magnets, balloons and toys all comprise the world of Murakami's pop art and merchandising world.

Murakami's show at the MOCA Los Angeles, with it's Warholian atmosphere solidified his place in the world of post-modern contemporary art. Irony at it's best for the leading critic of the "superflat" society to succeed using the same concept of art he so derided.

Fine art inspired by animation and comics is nothing new. Roy Liechtenstein, Andy Warhol and many others have been influenced by comics.

Now Range Murata, Yoshitoshi Abe and Hayao Miyazaki as well as many other anime and manga artists define the concept of anime as fine art.

Cynthia Goranson and Randy Patton

Monday, April 20, 2009

Teaching Children to Love Fine Art

"I don’t want to go to the museum! It’s Boring!"
That complaint your children might express at the idea of learning more about fine art could cut you to the quick if you want nothing more than to see your children come to love fine art as much as you do.

It’s a natural instinct we have as parents to want our children to appreciate the finer things in life.
But how do we go about instilling a love of fine art in our kids in such a way that they rush to the car with zeal and enthusiasm at the prospect of going to the museum and enjoying some great art?

Well obviously, we want to avoid making it a chore or something they "have to do" just to get mom and dad off their backs. Yes, it’s ok if they spend time with great art because its part of what you do as a family. But if it becomes the center of a big fight and struggle, that will not instill the love of art that you know and you want them to know.

The first place children will begin to understand the love of great art will be when they see it in you. Even though children, and especially teenagers don’t seem to be learning from their parents, they are learning from watching everything you do and listening to the things you speak passionately about and value in your own life.

If enjoyment of fine art is a value to you, let the children see that passion in you. Don’t keep from dinner table conversation or from your adult interactions your emotions and reflections of the great things about spending time with great art. If it is expressed sincerely and comes from your heart, your children will "hear" that and it will become a value to them.

To youth, the greatest value of all is, "is it fun?" Well, fun is just youthful way of describing something they love to do, that the time doing it passes quickly and they cannot get enough of that event. So you can capture that feeling of fun by making their excursions into the art world fun and exciting. Children love to have fun with their parents.

So when its time to go to the museum or galleries, put yourself in your most fun loving mood. Make every aspect of the trip lighthearted and full of adventure. You can make a game of the trip by creating games with small prizes for the children to play as they go through the galleries and admire the artworks.

Surround your time on "art safari" with the kids with family events that everyone enjoys. When we were children, my mom and dad always started a trip to the art gallery by going to the park near the gallery for a picnic and some time of play.

Then we made the excursion into the galleries a family affair so the children could observe from their mom and dad how to look at great art and see the feelings those art works caused in their parents. Then afterward, it was time for ice cream and discussions about what they had seen and observed.

Special art events have a special excitement that kids just love to be a part of. When the King Tut exhibit came through America, the excitement in each city along the route was phenomenal.

So when you find out about special events, make sure your kids are aware of it and the unique chance to explore some part of the art world that may be a once in a lifetime opportunity. The school may be building that excitement too so you can use the momentum happening at school to make that trip into the world of fine art especially exciting.

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

Painting "Gator Days"

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Art That is Controversial

There are some fine artworks that can be described in no other terms then that they are “difficult”.

They may deal with harsh themes of fear, pain, loneliness or themes of violence such as war or suicide. When we encounter these kinds of art works in shows or galleries, it is our natural instinct to avert our eyes or just avoid that part of the show because we know it will upset us.

But we need to know how to look at difficult fine art as much as we can look at art that pleases us. The artistic soul does not confine itself to just themes of happiness and peace. There is something about the artistic temperament that can produce some of the most beautiful art works from the torture in the soul over personal tragedy or social wrongs.

Never has this been more evident than the explosion of art that came out of the great wars of the last century. It seems that after each great conflict, artists came forward with stirring and moving art works that reflect the horror in the human heart and soul that is a result of these terrible events in human history.

So this is one good reason to patronize and appreciate what the artist is trying to say to us. By expressing those strong emotions in the form of art, the artist is performing an act of emotional purging personally. But because the place of artist in society is sometimes to bring healing, that catharsis of the soul the artist goes through can perform a similar catharsis for you and I when we are strong enough to expose ourselves to that art work.

It is also important to remember that the artist is not necessarily trying to upset you and not to allow others to interpret the artist for you. Not long ago the photographic artist Robert Mapplethorp created a huge controversy with a show that included some very graphic sexual images.

Along with those images were some lovely photographs of flowers, fruit and children. But because the artist has offended the sensibilities of some, many interpreted his other art works, particularly those of the children as obscene.

Look at each artwork in its own context. It is possible that Mapplethorp was just making a commentary on the beauty and innocence of young children. But because the children were nude and because Mapplethorp was gay and had produced other very provocative sexually charged pieces, the viewers projected perverted sexuality onto those pictures of children.

The lesson to us is that we cannot let other circumstances to influence how we react to art. Each artwork stands on its own. We, as educated consumers, must judge each work in its own setting to see what the artist may have been saying with that particular work.

There may be astounding beauty even in scenes of tremendous suffering and human tragedy. So when you look at a difficult piece, in addition to letting the theme and the pathos of the piece talk to you, be sure you judge the artwork artistically as well.

Study the colors, the relationship of the objects to each other, the use of realism, surrealism and abstract art concepts to add depth to what you are looking at. Always let the artwork be an artwork. Then you will enjoy multiple meanings and layers of cognizance to what the artist has presented.

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

Painting "Northern Conflict"

Monday, April 6, 2009

Thinking of Starting Your Own Art Gallery?

So you are an art collector at the moment, with several pieces of art in your collection, and have noticed just how profitable the world of art can be for individuals looking to get into it in terms of business rather than as a hobby.

It may seem like a romantic notion to have your own art gallery and be able to influence the world of art in a small way, but that is often not the reality.

Starting any business of your own is extremely difficult, but starting an art gallery can be one of the most difficult of business tasks. You not only have to have a measure of artistic talent, as such, but you have to have a great deal of business sense.

However, there are several tips that can help you on your way if that is really what you want to do.

1. Never open your own art gallery if it is only for the money - If you are in the gallery business for the money then look elsewhere because most galleries only make enough to cover the bills for the first few years. Until your business is established, you have next to no chance of making enough money to call your business a success.

You should open the gallery because you love art and not to make a profit. If you do make a profit then that is a bonus.

2. If you have no knowledge of art collecting then do your homework beforehand - If you know nothing about art collecting then running an art gallery is not for you, but if you are determined then you need to learn all of the ins and outs of art collecting before you can own a gallery. This will take you at least six months if not longer so be prepared to be in it for the long haul.

3. Tap into your passion for art - A passion for art is a must and is necessary if you really want to attract both artists and sponsors alike. It is also necessary when trying to advertise any events that you have in your calendar. Beware of letting your love of art get in the way of your business head.

4. Know exactly what it is that you plan to do - You should have an aim, a goal, before setting up any business. If you want to own an art gallery then you should have a target for sales and a target for your involvement in the community too.

5. Find out where the best location would be before renting premises - Of course, if you are planning to set up business in a village with 250 working class inhabitants then it is to be expected that business will not be booming.

However, if you have a good location in the centre of a town with little competition and middle class demographics then you will do far better. Check out rents and your audience before you actually put a deposit down on your potential gallery.

6. Have a business background - You must have business skills in order to make your art gallery work. Without business acumen, the likelihood is that you will be one of the businesses that do not see two years, and there are way too many of those around at the moment!

7. Brush up on your people skills - You need people skills to be able to attract artists, sponsors and press attention and should be able to make all of those feel comfortable in your gallery. Attracting customers is also a big part of any business so make sure that you are well prepared!

There is so much more to opening a gallery than meets the eye. You have all of the mundane tasks like hanging promotional materials, publicizing events, making sure that artists want to trust you to sell their work, courting the press and any number of other tasks that get tiresome and boring after the first few weeks.

If you are prepared to do that and dedicate yourself to the pursuit of the fine arts for the rest of your life then it may be for you. You must certainly be prepared to work hard. Just make sure that you are getting into art gallery owning for the right reasons instead of the romantic image that you have in your head.

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

P.S. Consider opening an online gallery to get started. To see an example visit

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Really Great Art Can Change You

Art and art appreciation is usually categorized as entertainment primarily because it is something we do with our free time. Unless you are an artist, gallery owner, agent or dealer, art is probably not your profession so you participate in your enjoyment of fine art when you can away from work.

But there is something unique about fine art that is different from other forms of entertainment. More so than bowling or playing cards or even camping or skiing, great art can make changes to us at a fundamental level and make us more mature and reflective people.

Art appreciation is an acquired taste. To be able to enjoy fine art, one must go through a period of acclimation and growth as a person.

To someone who does not know how to enjoy fine are, the sight of an art lover standing for an hour in front of a great painting, unmoving seems virtually absurd. They cannot understand that even though the art lover is still and the art work is not moving, there is a hurricane of emotion, passion and communication between the art lover, the art work and the artist all taking place that cannot be seen with the eyes.

Artists share some characteristics with poets, playwrights and even evangelists because they often are burning with a message to pass along to mankind. And because art is their language and way of talking to us, that artist pours his soul into an artwork to reach you and I when we come upon that artwork and “unlock” the meaning and hear the message the artist has to say.

In that way, great art can communicate philosophical, ethical, moral, political, poetic or religious ideas just as loudly as any speaker presenting a convincing diatribe from a pulpit. The language of the artist is the image and the stirring emotions those images provoke. But those images can change how we view the world and how we understand the deeper idea that the artist wanted us to ponder with him or her in ways that could never be communicated any other way.

Artists call upon us to look deep within ourselves and reflect on our place in the universe and within the scope of human history. These are “deep thoughts” that we would not ordinarily ponder left to our own. So the artist is doing us a great service by facilitating deeper reflection. That deeper reflection makes us wiser people, more mature and intelligent people and people of heart and soul more so than if the artist never spoke to us.

The reflection that time spent with great art births in us can cause changes at a very deep place in our personalities. It is not uncommon for a dad to come away from time with a great artwork with a resolve to be a better father and to take time to savor the moments he has with his children. A minister may come to a moment of quiet in his soul looking at a fine art work and walk away with a deeper appreciation for his place in the lives of his congregation and a stronger conviction to do all he can to minister to the needy in the community.

Even the politician or businessman will be challenged by great art to stop and think about not just what we do but why we do it. Fine art shines a light in our souls and shows us things about ourselves that no human counselor could ever reveal.

And if we grow into better people, people of heart and an empathy for others around us and people who spend time in time and reflection about the big affairs or our lives, then the time we spend with fine art allowing it to change us will have been time well spent indeed.

Until next time..

Cynthia Goranson

Painting "Santa Fe Santuary"

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Essential Tips on Becoming a Great Art Collector

Some have said that there is a real art to art collecting. That may be a matter of opinion but there is no question that to become truly great art collector requires some skill, education and background.

That is not to say any educated person with a love of good art cannot buy fine art and enjoy it at home.

But if your aspiration is to get better and better at the fascinating hobby and avocation of art collecting, there are things you can do to make yourself more capable and skilled at buying and collecting truly fine art.

So to be of assistance in your calling to be a great collector of fine art, we offer these five solid tips that will almost certainly improve your skills in art collection.

1. Exposure, Exposure, Exposure.
The image of the art collector as the consummate authority on art is a Hollywood invention. But there is no question that the more you are in the presence of great art, the better equipped you are to know what to collect.

So become a regular at art museums and galleries in your area. If you are fortunate enough to be able to travel, find your way to some of the great art museums of the world and spend many hours in those museums studying the great masters. The time you invest will give you a discerning eye when it comes to art you may eventually begin to collect.

2. Knowledge is Power.
The wonderful thing about great art is that anyone can enjoy it. But if you are going to invest in art or collect it for both its monetary and esthetic value, the more you know, the. So in addition to tours that are given at local museums, subscribe to art magazines and web sites where people who know a great deal about art discuss the fine points of art theory and what to look for when seeking to collect fine art.

Many times lectures on an artist or genre of art are given around the arrival of a big exhibition or as part of ongoing studies at area collages. Get on the mailing lists for those institutions so you can be front row center when knowledge about the art you want to collect is being offered.

3. Network.
There is an entire art community that will be glad to welcome you and where you will find mentors in the nuances of art collecting. Circulate in galleries and amongst art lovers such as yourself and discuss what you like and what is great about certain art pieces. These discussions will deepen your understanding of fine art and your ability to discern what pieces should be objects of your collection. If you would like to network with the artist featured on this page go to or

4. Love the Art you Collect.
There are those who collect art as a business and show little regard for the esthetic value of the pieces they purchase. While the investment side of art collection has some value, never purchase art that you don’t personally enjoy. Invest in art that you would like nothing more than to gaze at in your home for hours in your home. If you love the art you collect, your passion will be both a lucrative avocation and a real joy in your life as well.

5. Have Fun.
This last tip may be the most important of them all. Make sure that you are enjoying your passion for art collecting. Let your sense of joy, fun and whimsy guide where you look for art and what art you focus on for your collection.

That innate instinct can be a reliable guide that will assure that your love of art collecting will continue to be one of the real values in your life.

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

Painting "The Sentinnel"

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Master of Fine Arts Degree: What it Can Teach You

Education seems to be everything in the First World today, and with good reason because it makes us all knowledgeable and better equipped to face the world of work. However, in certain industries, an education is essential to ensuring that the knowledgebase that an individual has is sufficient for him or her to do a job to the best of his or her ability.

This may not be the case in some instances, but if you intend to work in a museum or in the fine art world in general then it is necessary to get a proper grounding in the arts. That is where a Master of Fine Arts degree comes in.

There are schools all over the world that offers a Master of Fine Arts degree, or an MFA. It generally tends to be a graduate degree and marks the final qualification needed in order to get a job as a head curator or similar in the arts industry.

It encompasses all of the major art areas such as visual arts, performing arts and literary arts, but you can choose to specialize in one area. You generally receive a foundation of knowledge about each during the course of the degree to ensure that you equipped to handle whatever it is that comes your way though.

If you are looking to consider a MFA then you should be prepared to remain at university for a further two or three years, depending on the discipline that you specialize in. Bear in mind that you will have already had to complete a bachelor's degree to qualify for admission to the course. As it is an element of further education then you will have to have studied at college level before applying.

That is not to say though that the bachelor degree that you have has to be in the arts. Of course, it usually helps your application if it is, but it does not have to be because you can apply for it regardless of what you previously studied. However, a degree in another area of academia usually requires you to attend an interview in which you will have to prove that you are knowledgeable about the arts.

Any individual with an interest in arts that wants to continue his or her education should consider a MFA purely and simply because there is no limit to what you can do within its confines. At the end of the two or three years of study, you will be required to make a presentation or do a performance, but the subject of that is completely up to you. It may be in the visual arts or theatre, or it may be in terms of a short film or work of literature. All of those are common fields in which students specialize.

You could then choose to continue in education to do a DFA (Doctorate in Fine Arts or a PhD in any related area, but then again, the MFA often gets candidates into teaching roles without further need for educational courses.

It is possible that you move on to a museum or other similar post, but whatever direction you wish to take your career in within any of the disciplines of the arts, the MFA will infinitely help you to get where you want to go.

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

Monday, March 23, 2009

Information at your Fingertips When Collecting Fine Art

The information resources available to every single person in society are now far more comprehensive than they have ever been before, thus facilitating the whole host of opportunities and advantages that are available out there for this generation to capitalize on.

The standard of education is also higher than it ever was before and that can only be a good thing. In terms of fine art, there are a number of resources that any individual can turn to as and when the need takes them.

There are publications and other sources of information that can offer advice about collecting, tips and hints, and give you plenty of material to research anything that you would like to know. This can especially be useful if you are looking to invest in a piece of art but do not know where to look!

There are several sources that can provide this information on fine art and collecting, all of them equally as useful with their advantages and disadvantages. Different mediums suit different people though, so it is up to you which one of the following you choose to consult when you are in need of advice!

Books - Any good library will have several books on fine art and fine art collecting that you can tap into as and when necessary. Books can easily be considered as one of the best resources available because none of the other mediums are anywhere near as comprehensive as books can be when educating people about the fines arts.

There are books out there on every single genre under the sun as well as the nature of art collecting, and so any piece of information that you need can be found somewhere in amongst the various pages! This may be a big help if you are thinking about investing in painting, for example, that you doubt the authenticity of. If the library does not have what you are looking for then the massive bookstores online and offline probably can. There is a massive range of books available and if you cannot find the one you want anywhere else then you can always find it online - guaranteed!

Magazines - Magazines differ from books only in the fact that they have interviews with artists, are not as large in terms of the scope of each individual issue, and are regularly available via good newsagents and subscriptions alike. However, art magazines are essential in keeping you up to date with all of the latest news in the art world and information about fairs and lectures that you may be interested in.

Internet - The Internet has a whole host of information available to dealers and collectors alike. There are literally masses out there, but you do have to be careful with the reliability of some of the information because it is not always 100% accurate. The specialist and official art websites are excellent resources though and can reveal lots of lovely information that you would never have known otherwise. All you have to do is use a search engine to find those sites and then bookmark them so that you can easily get back to them any time you like.

Gallery/Museum - The people working at galleries and museums are usually especially knowledgeable about art and can refer you on to someone who will know the answer to the question you ask if they do not know themselves.

They will usually be only to happy to help you so it is certainly worth stopping to have a quick conversation with them if you need to know something and prefer to talk to a person than read or spend time searching on the Internet.

As you can see, there is a wealth of information out there and the can certainly help you to find out what you need to know. These sources can also help to build up your knowledge of collecting art, thus turning your hobby into a passion!

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

Painting "The Rendezvous"

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fine Art

Fine art is undoubtedly a genre and an accepted specialized area in the arts today and has been for some time. There are museums all over the world filled to the rafters with fine art, and expensive fine art at that!

But what exactly is fine art. There is an accepted definition but very few of us know it because we are so concerned with discussing fine art and enjoying it that we often forget what it is, or even worse that we forget to find out what it is in the first place.

This is extremely lax of us because we can all appreciate fine art for what it is when we fully understand the concept!
Fine art, contrary to popular belief, is not solely the paintings and sculptures that are found within the confines of a number of museums worldwide.

It does in fact encompass a few disciplines of the visual arts, but that number is indeed limited. Those disciplines are dance, theatre, architecture, printmaking and then of course the obvious sculpture and painting. The one thing that all of the above have in common is that they are traditional and arguably founding members of the arts.

In fact, various schools of thought place them in the realm of classic or academic art, thus implying that there is a very real tradition still in place that excludes more modern forms of art.
Some critics and art snobs often refer to fine art as art with a capital A.

This is an older generation way of looking at individual pieces of art and dramatically alters the perception of the forms of art listed above because there is often debate as to whether certain items of artwork are indeed fine art. Some of the more modern pieces are distasteful to members of the art aristocracy and yet could feasibly be considered as fine art because they are painted or sculpted.

The debate rages on about a number of mediums as a result of this perspective, including the debate about graffiti. Technically it is painting but has traditionally been associated with vandalism, and so people in the art world still turn their noses up at the idea that graffiti could be considered art.

In fine art, the fine is not supposed to denote the quality of the work per se, but the purity of the discipline in question, and this can be interpreted in any given number of ways. As mentioned above, graffiti is technically not pure, and that argument is often used to argue against it is terms of fine art. It is often used to argue against elements of the textile industry being considered as fine art too. However, that being said, there are elements in which some of the other mediums that have been traditionally excluded are now included.

Fine art is often viewed as an elitist term that is somewhat outdated in the modern world whereas others argue that it is a means to help us appreciate the classics even more. Traditional dance and traditional art serves as a reminder to us all of where modern traditions come from and in that way the concept of fine art is very real.

Now we all know the definition of the term, though, we can appreciate that fine art even more and enjoy what it is that we look at every time we pass through the door of a museum!

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

Painting "Shadow Walk"

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fine Art and the Harlem Renaissance

Fine art collecting is a major industry as well as a hobby today, purely and simply because of the sheer amount of money that is poured into the arts as a result of it. New talented artists develop as a result of the hunger for good art today, and that can only be a good thing because those individuals are carrying on the work of the past artists that they aspire to be like.

In no race is that more evident than in the African Americans. Past artists did their best to establish a cultural identity away from that imposed on them by whites in the latter part of the 19th Century and earlier part of the 20th Century, and young artists are now establishing their own identity. It is fair to say though, that the Harlem Renaissance established an African American identity that other artists could follow.

The era of the Harlem Renaissance, 1920-40, is one of the most renowned in black art history, and effectively defined as a political, social and cultural beginning in art for individuals that may not have had their voices heard otherwise. As a result, terms such as identity, heritage and cultural consciousness are frequently mentioned, especially concerning cultural, racial and gender boundaries at this time.

However, each commentator seems to have a unique perception of these boundaries - where they were, what they meant and the impact they had on black society during this era. This mirrors the attitudes of the artists of the 1920-40 period. The era produced diverse African American work because of their unique perceptions on how best to represent and advance the race - whether it was looking for cultural roots in Africa, portraying modern city life or exemplifying certain members of the race.

No one view of the world was the same, even if there were certain common themes to be found between artists.

Artists like Archibald Motley Jnr, Lois Mailou Jones and Doris Ulmann all played a part in ensuring that the African American voice was heard in this period and then continued afterwards to establish the boundaries that they had already set. The art that was produced in this period can certainly be considered as fine art and is now displayed in some of the most visited museums in the world.

They arguably began the tradition of African American fine art that continues today and effectively broke into a previously white dominated cultural industry back in their day, although some artists did not get the recognition that they deserved then.

Ullman and other individuals like James Van Der Zee are not artists in the traditional sense of the world but still challenged boundaries like Motley and Mailou Jones. They were photographers and thus it can be argued that their work is not exactly fine art, but within modern boundaries the majority of individuals associated with the arts would accept their work as fine art now.

Their photographs are truly astonishing and most definitely works of art.
The era of the Harlem Renaissance was anything but a failure, as some critics have tended to brand it in the past. It built a stable foundation for future African American artists to build upon, and these four artists contributed to that foundation in numerous ways, and they certainly pushed back gender and racial boundaries thus paving the way for a change in attitudes concerning black artists and society in general.

In terms of the modern day, their fine art is highly collectable because of this and that fact alone, without any of the political and cultural connotations associated with it, made sure that the fine art of the Harlem Renaissance can be truly appreciated as great.

It now occupies its rightful place on the walls of museums all over the world, soon to be joined no doubt by some of the modern artists that have the same dreams of success that those artists did back then!

Until Next time...

Cynthia Goranson

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What You Need to Know About Galleries

If you are a fan of fine art and have a few pieces in your collection then you are probably very familiar with the world of art galleries, but if you have only just expressed an interest in art then the likelihood is that you are only just beginning to learn about them and may or may not have set foot inside one yet.

The gallery is indeed a fascinating place within the art world and if you ever pass one then it will be well worth a look. However, before going into one, you should take a little time to find out a bit more.

An art gallery is generally a space that displays art to the public in the hope of selling pieces to the individuals that walk through the door. They are set up to try and make a profit and should not be confused with non-profit organizations and museums. Every individual gallery will feel familiar because the salespeople that work within them do want to entice individuals into the warm and cosy confines of the gallery and then provide them an environment that encourages inspiration and thus sales!

There can be any number of items on sale in a gallery, depending on the size of the gallery and the stock that it holds at any given time. It may be that one gallery only holds work by one or two artists at a time and has them there for a couple of months. It may be another gallery as many pieces and rotates their stock in line with what they think will sell or an exhibit or promotion that they have on shortly or have had on recently. Although the rooms of a museum are also generally known as galleries, this is the major aspect outside of the financial ream in which they differ.

Private galleries and public galleries rarely have a permanent collection because of the nature of the business. Every piece displayed in a gallery is for sale and actively promoted as a result. There may only be one individual working in a gallery, in which case he or she is responsible for everything.

The marketing, planning, administration and finance roles are all down to this one individual, but if there is more than one person working there then they will split the duties. There is no curator as such and there would be no volunteers because every individual working there is paid to sell. When you do set foot inside one then you will realise this fact purely and simply because they will be on you to find out what you may like as soon as you walk through the door!

It is usually free to get into a gallery because you may well be a paying customer, and the very fact that you chose to go through the door proves that you are a potential paying customer. The profits instead come from the sales because they gallery can expect to receive a commission of at lease 25%, although in some cases it is as much as 50%. I

In truth, the larger the gallery, the more likely the people working there are to have sales targets. You may well find yourself in the middle as a result! Although everyone working in a gallery should be knowledgeable, some of them are not. However, anyone with a passing knowledge of art should immediately be able to distinguish between the two.

Although the latter may be better in terms of knocking a price down, the former is perhaps better because you can ask any questions that you may have and expect to receive an honest answer!

If you are looking to expand your art collection then art galleries in your local area may be the first step you tae towards building a collection. Always go into art galleries to see what is on offer, but beware of what you buy on impulse. Stuck to the ones that you love instead!

Until next time...
Cynthia Goranson

Painting "Tranquil Echo"

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Great Debate: Fine Art v.s. Grafitti

The concept of fine art is and will no doubt always be a very traditional way of thinking. There are definite elements of art that art included, such as painting and sculpting, but then there are now elements in the modern world that there is much debate over.

In fact, the debate over one particular modern art form has raged for several years now and still shows no signs of abating. Does graffiti constitute fine art or not? Traditionalists argue strongly that it is not, whereas the more modern minded that appreciate art for what it is argue that it is fine art because of the tradition behind it, and the fact that it is technically painting for those that are feeling especially pedantic!

In fact, graffiti goes back thousands of years. It can be found in Ancient Greece and Rome and thus has a great tradition, according to those artists that do indulge in a little graffiti from time to time. However, it has had a more sinister meaning in society for some years now and this is most likely the reason why traditionalists do not want to acknowledge it as fine art.

Letters, names and images are commonly sprayed or scratched onto walls to represent certain private messages that are left for other individuals, to denote territorial boundaries, or indeed to decorate the area! However, because this usually occurs on property that does not belong to the person that sprayed the message onto the wall, it is considered illegal vandalism.

The damage that it does is often extremely ugly and thus is by no means considered an art by the individuals that are affected by it. However, modern artists do not break the law and as such argue that this view of graffiti does not apply to them.

Philadelphia, New York and Chicago are the areas of the United States that have been the most receptive to graffiti as art. In fact, there is now an exhibition of graffiti in the Brooklyn Museum. It is labelled there as contemporary art and the description also notes that it was made famous in the 1980s by artists such as Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.

These two individuals are highly respected that consider such art fine art, and with good reason. They took it away from the notion of it being vandalism in New York and brought it into the art world once and for all. Some of their work is truly amazing.

The exhibition itself actually has over twenty works of art by those native to New York and has been vastly covered in the press and worldwide art magazines as a result. There are a number of publications that covered it and the curator, Charlotta Kotik, received much of the attention.

She pointed out that most individuals actually think of graffiti in the wrong way these days and she decided to highlight just how modern and inspiring it could be as a result of that. Kotik has made individuals rethink their assumptions because some individuals have accepted it as fine art, whereas others firmly stand their ground and will not be budged!

The exhibition inspired other countries to rethink their position on graffiti and it has actually been featured in a major book in Australia as a result. It has been integral to the make up of Australian urban culture as well as American urban culture and thus deserves the coverage that it gets.

There are more countries that review their position on graffiti every day, as long as it does not fall within the realm of vandalism. As a result, the majority of individuals may yet accept it into fine art. However, that day may be quite a while off yet, at least until the older and more traditional art critics and experts are no longer in the art world!

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

Thursday, March 5, 2009

3 Tips For Protecting Your Artwork

Any lover and collector of art will do his or her utmost to protect the art collection taking pride of place in the home.

Not only is artwork a major investment these days, it is also an essential part of the fabric of any home. It is very rare that you find a home with no prints, sketches or paintings on the wall, not to mention sculptures and models adorning mantelpieces and sideboards.

For these reasons, it is vital that collectors take proper care of their artwork and endeavour to make sure that no piece is degraded in any way, shape or form.

There are a number of ways that you can keep your artwork in perfect condition, but careful planning is required from the outset. It is important to put a strategy in place to protect your artwork before you even bring it home from the gallery or fair.

There are certain measures that you need to put in place, such as placing strategies to avoid any hazards that may turn into situations that leave the art damaged. For example, if a glass screen does not protect the shelf on which a model is to be placed, it may be wise to purchase a case in which to put it before it is actually placed upon the shelf.

The majority of measures that you should take concerning the placing of your artwork are common sense really. For example, you should not place any art in the kitchen or above a fireplace because the heat, steam and fumes can cause untold damage.

You should also avoid smoking in the vicinity of your artwork because this is liable to cause irreversible staining. Similarly, placing art in direct sunlight can cause it to fade, and this would instantly be noticeable to the untrained eye as well as other collectors. If you have pets or young children then artwork should always be kept out of their reach so that no accidental damage occurs.

The placement of artwork, as you can see above, can be extremely hazardous so it does require serious thought. It may be necessary to try a piece out in a few places during the first day that you own it so you can make an on the spot assessment of where its permanent home should be.
When you do buy the art in question then you should always ask the attendant that oversees your transaction whether or not any special measures need to be taken in order to preserve its condition.

Some galleries actually hand out care leaflets when a sale goes through, whilst others may have extremely knowledgeable staff that can give you hints and tips that they have picked up over the years. There are also various publications that you can purchase to give you a good grounding in the care of artwork. You should read at least one of these if you are an art collection beginner.

The final thing that is essential in the preservation of you artwork is actually the cleaning regime that you have. It goes without saying that you should avoid using furniture polish and other similar oily substances in the vicinity of your artwork because that can cause irreparable harm.

However, it is essential that a certain level of care be administered to regularly maintain it. For example, all sketches, paintings and prints should be framed wherever possible, and all sculptures and models should be encased in a protective cover.

Although advice is usually specific to the nature of the piece and the materials present in its composition, it is fairly safe to pass a dry and clean cloth over all artwork from time to time to remove any dust build-ups. Dust can be just as harmful to art as any chemical, so it is essential that it is removed.

The golden rule of caring for your artwork is to always ask for help whenever you are unsure. Always think carefully about what you are doing and do not take the art for granted. One moment of foolishness can work out to be extremely expensive!

Until next time..

Cynthia Goranson

Painting "Shadow Warrior"

Monday, March 2, 2009

Your Art Association Guide

In this day and age there are a number of laws that apply to every aspect of life, as well as official bodies, both government and independent, that govern areas of industry and commerce that may otherwise be far more open to fraudsters and criminals.

As a direct result of heists, thefts and the forgeries of famous paintings that have been an issue in the past, art associations seem to be the way to go when you want to find out about any aspect of art or check the authenticity of various pieces that you may own or wish to own in the future.

There are a number of art associations in the United States at the moment. They are located all around the continent, so there is bound be one near you regardless of where you live! It is a good idea for all collectors to find out where their nearest associations are just in case they do have to contact them in a hurry, or wish to find out more information.

The following guide should give you an idea of what is out there as well as the resources that you can tap into.

Art Dealers Association of Canada - This is a non-profit organization that is accessible to individuals north and south of the border. However, it actively promotes Canadian art above all other forms because it is designed to help advance Canadian artists, dealers and collectors. The Art Dealers Association of Canada also aims to provide a better art education for all of those individuals that choose to become more knowledgeable about it.

Boston Art Dealers Association - Obviously located in Boston, this association was initially set up to help advance the interests of artists within the local area but now actually helps to promote collaboration between local contemporary art galleries and the general public as well. This association was set up in 1989 and welcomes any queries about the local art scene from individuals within and outside of Boston.

Chicago Art Dealers Association - Again, this official body represents the people of Chicago in the art world but in a far more real way than some of the other bodies around. Fine art is the forte of this group and they uphold the highest possible standards.

The members are actually elected by their peers and actively work with all aspects of the art world. That is to say that they work with the museums and artists within the city as well as collectors and the community to ensure that the art within the area is of the highest standard and promoted in the correct way.

Houston Art Dealers Association - This particular association was actually founded in the 1970s; 1977 to be precise. Again, the association promotes the highest standards within the community of professional artists, as well as overseeing the gallery exhibitions and museums to ensure that fine art is promoted. It works closely with the general public to make sure that they are aware of local art dealers and will promote those with excellent reputations. It is also a non-profit as a result.

Of course, there are many more local art associations for those not living within one of these three cities. However, the one that the majority of individuals wanting to collect fine art should know about is the PADA. The Private Art Dealers Association actually represents a small number of private art dealers, all of who specialize in one area of the fine arts and thus can offer collectors a valid service that can infinitely help to advance their collection.

The PADA actually guarantees the authenticity of the artworks sold by their members because they have the highest reputations of all the dealers in the country. With the PADA, you can enjoy your art safe in the knowledge that you have not been ripped off in any way, shape or form. That peace of mind is most definitely worth paying for!

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

Painting "Los Vatos"

Friday, February 27, 2009

Art Auctions Can Enhance Your Collection

Art collectors all over the world absolutely love the major auction houses because they are the places to go if you want to get your hands on the pieces that can prove to be the staples of your collection.

It is rare that they auction forgeries, having a major series of checks in place to prevent this, and thus you can be safe in the knowledge that you are buying the genuine article. You can also get your hands on pieces that may otherwise be unavailable in your lifetime.

Some of the auction houses out there are world renowned and known by the majority of art collectors and non-collectors alike, but there are one or two gems that tend to swoop under the radar of the general public. However, below is a list of some of the most prominent for you to consult with and look into in order to enhance your collection.

Christie's - Christie's is one of the most famous art auction houses in the world and has been established since 1766, thus giving it that air of tradition that other, more modern houses would kill for. The auctions take place all over the world, with venues such as Amsterdam, New York¸ London and Paris

Sotheby's - Sotheby's is the other prestigious art auction house in the world, and is even perhaps better known than Christie's. Amsterdam, New York, Gleneagles in Scotland, Melbourne and Singapore are all sites for the various auctions that occur all year round. It offers a complete art collectors service and that now includes online bidding.

Bonhams and Butterfields - This is the third largest art auction house in the world today and prides itself on being one of the most modern. It is based in the USA and is known for its appraisal service as well as the fine art that passes through its auction rooms. There is also a range of antiques one offer at any given time, which attracts collectors from all over the country and its fair share of foreign clients!

Dorotheum - Although this is considered to be one of the smaller art auction houses in the world, it still hosts over six hundred auctions every year and holds a massive variety of pieces. Based in Europe, Dorotheum boasts a payroll of over seventy art experts so you can be assured that everything auctioned is genuine and of a high quality. You can find the auction houses in Austria and the Czech Republic.

Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg - With auctions in Geneva, Zurich and New York, the de Pury galleries are beginning to make a major impression on the art world. With specialisms in American and contemporary art, there is a wide variety of pieces to choose from. However, de Pury also offers the option of private sales of Impressionist and modern pieces. If your collection is based around such genres and styles then this is the place to go.

Of course, the art auction houses listed above tend to be the more expensive because they are the most prominent and more prestigious, but you are assured of purchasing quality if you do add to your collection through them.

They all have comprehensive websites that can be consulted if you do want a better idea of what the individual houses can do for you, and there are also other options. A simple Internet search with the keyword "art auction house" will yield hundreds of results. It is then up to you to choose the best one for you!

If you like the painting above called "ESP"you can see it at

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Detecting Forgeries in Art

It is the one thing that every art collector fears and the one thing that every conman out there looks to in order to make money. Producing art forgeries is big business and makes fraudsters an awful lot of money every single year, purely and simply because many art collectors do not know how to identify a forgery and distinguish it from the real thing.

There are several guidelines that can help any collector in their quest to ensure that their entire collector is genuine and worth every penny that he or she paid to accumulate it in the first place. The points below will introduce you to the art of detecting forgeries and equip you with enough knowledge to identify a forgery at ten paces!

1. If you like a certain piece of art then the first thing that you should do is research the artist. He or she should have at least one gallery listing and a biography attached to it. You can also try any reviews that have been written covering his or her work. They should give you a good idea of the style of the artist, as well as hopefully covering the piece of art that you have in mind.

2. If the art is by a famous artist then check all aspects of the piece until you are satisfied that it is real. If there is the slightest doubt in your mind about its authenticity then leave it well alone. Never ever take a piece by a famous artist home until you have performed at least one check on it. The first thing that you should check is the signature. Make sure that it is in the same place as on the original.

This can be done by finding a picture of the original and comparing it. The style of the signature should also be examined. Although the signature may vary from piece to piece, fraudsters do specialise in copying the signature these days because they have identified it as a major failing on past forgeries. Also check the nature and genre of the painting as well as materials and the texture. These are all elements that will be well documented and easily identifiable on fakes.

3. Always run the title and artist of any famous pieces of art through the FBI's stolen art database to make sure that it has not been stolen. If it is on the list then you must report it immediately.

4. It may be worth investing in the services of a specialist appraiser to ensure that you are looking at the genuine article and not a fake. Any appraiser worth his or her salt will be able to tell you conclusively whether it is a genuine work of art or a fake within a few minutes. Any appraiser that you do choose should have an excellent reputation and the highest degree of knowledge. You can find those that are members of official bodies like the Art Appraisers of America. This is perhaps your best option because it spares you the hassle of checking out their backgrounds yourself.

5. If it looks old then be suspicious. This may sound like a cliché of sorts in the art world, but it is easy to age a painting if you know how. Look at the back of the canvas as well as the front because some forgers will neglect the back of the canvas after aging the front. A good point to bear in mind is that old genuine paintings ay not be worth anything so have it valued as well as appraised.

6. Make the distinction between a forgery and a copy with all works of art. Copies of certain artists are actually worth a fair amount. For example, famous artists in the making in the past have copied Da Vinci and Monet and those copies are extremely valuable today.

Copies do not purport to be the original whereas forgeries do. The key here is the signature. If it is missing then it is most likely a copy and not a forgery!

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

Monday, February 23, 2009

Top 10 Tips that Every Art Collector Should Know!

Art collecting is an extremely popular hobby today because more and more people are beginning to appreciate the finer things in life, as well as the talents that others want to share with the world! Art collecting is also perceived as an investment because the instability of economies around the world makes investing in various markets extremely risky. There are literally millions of dollars in the art industry as a result.

There are millions of art collectors around the world today, but there are ten top tips that each and every one of them should adhere to, regardless of experience. Beginners and experts alike should pay attention to these tips because they can help an individual infinitely enhance their collection, as well as ensuring that they have fantastic artwork lining their walls in the years to come!

1. Do not buy art if you do not like it! The whole point of art is that it enhances your life in some way. You should be proud to display it on the walls of your home or office, and not so ashamed that you have to hide it away. Buying art purely and simply because it is an investment in denying another individual with different tastes the opportunity to own a piece of artwork that he or she loves, so ensure that you only own art that you actually feel something for!

2. Before investing in any piece, whether it is another to add to your collection or your first piece of artwork, make sure that you do your research. Take a look around the local art galleries and visit as many as you possibly can before settling on one piece. The staff at most galleries will be happy to talk about art in general or individual pieces with you, and every single person that you talk to will teach you something new!

3. When visiting the galleries, be sure to ask whether they have a mailing list. Many of them will have either an email list or a snail mail list, or both, because they actively court business. Adding your name to those lists will ensure that you get to hear about special events that they have as well as openings, which again will help to enhance your art education.

4. Join some of the museums in your local area. Although museums do not offer art for sale, they often release magazine publications at least four times a year. The magazines will give you hints and tips on valuing your art as well as promoting local galleries and publishing interesting articles about collecting art.

5. Search the stands of your local newsagents or art magazines and subscribe. Again, they will publish articles on collecting art and also advertise lectures around the country that may be of interest to the art collector.

6. Do not forget to visit any non-profit art centres that happen to be in your town or city, as well as any art fairs that come within driving distance. There will often be art offered for sale as well as artists and experts that you can talk to that will happily help guide you through art collecting. This will give you access to information that is not available anywhere else!

7. Look up fellow art collectors. They may have joined local galleries and museums or attend the same lectures. Exchanging ideas and information can be a satisfying experience and help you to enhance your own collection.

8. Go to your local library and check out several books on art collecting. Any books on the subject will give you valuable information, hints and tips that can ensure that your collection will be infinitely better than if you went into collecting blind with little knowledge about art.

9. Find out when art critics publish columns in local and national newspapers and make sure that you read them. Although the critics' columns only reflect their personal opinions, you will soon find a critic that you tend to agree with and can actually use his or her research to find new resources, exhibitions and galleries to tap into.

10. Use the Internet. There is a wealth of information out there just waiting to be accessed, and that information can really help you to build your knowledge base and collection. The Internet will also give you access to the galleries outside of your local area so you have a better market to browse!

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Art Lover and the Art Collector

Are you an art collector or an art lover? You might say, well, what’s the difference? We can probably say with some certainty that most art collectors are art lovers. But we can also say that not all art lovers are art collectors.

Would the difference be that art lovers may enjoy seeing great art and taking trips to museums as a priority part of their private lives but they don’t buy art? But surprisingly, whether or not one buys art or not is not the distinction.

Many art lovers buy certain pieces of art but would not really be considered a collector just as someone may have a few interesting stamps around but that doesn’t make him or her a serious stamp collector.

So it might pay off if we differentiate between what makes an art collector different from an art lover. This is not to say that one is superior to the other. Anyone who takes pleasure in the joy that great art conveys knows that we are all together in our admiration of this part of culture. But if you have avocations of becoming an art collector because you want to "take it to the next level", the natural first step is to know what makes one art lover a fan of art and another a true collector.

· A collector specializes on the focus of his or her collection and knows the body of work that is available. Whereas an art lover typically loves many genres and artists, a collector tends to specialize and educate himself or herself in that catalog because it is pertinent to the activity of collecting.

· A collector’s love of art is expressed in investing in art pieces that give him or her great joy as a way of preserving that magic for the future on a personal level. There is that moment of sublime joy that any art lover has when he or she spends time with great art. A collector takes that to the next level by wanting to possess that piece and others by that artist or in that genre to personalize that experience and preserve it so that joy can be repeated in the home for many years to come.

· A collector is aware of the documentation of an artwork. When you are looking at a piece of original artwork, a collector must know for certain that it is original. The documentation of a piece of fine art works like a "pedigree" of a show dog. It is part of the authentication of the artwork which gives it the right to bring the kind of prices only originals can command.

· A collector becomes immersed in the biography of the artist. Art collecting is a passion as well as a hobby and an avocation. By collecting you get to know the artwork, the artist and what his or her background. By learning about the artist’s biography, you pick up on meanings in the work that others might not see.

· A collector has an investment in the "provenance" of an artwork. That means where this piece of art has been. As a collector, you need to know who has owned this artwork it’s price history. As the new owner of this fine art work you must know where it has been before you owned it.
What stands out is that you don’t have to have a degree in art history or appreciation to be a collector.

You don’t have to be a member of the superrich or even mix with those who have snooty art tastes. If you have a deep love of fine art and your passion for this part of your life takes you to the next level that we have discussed here today, you qualify as an art collector.

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

P.S. The art above is called "Jupiter Rising" by Randy Patton

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Real Fun of Art Collecting

The popular image of an art collector of a high powered financial mover and shaker using the art world as just one of many venues through which a fortune can be amassed. But the majority of art collectors are passionate about the avocation because of other reasons besides the financial side of their "investment" in fine art.
The truth is the art market is extremely volatile and hard to navigate if your only reason for buying great art is to turn it around for a great profit. So if you are changing from an art lover to becoming a true collector, there are many good reasons to dive head first into the world of art collecting that are above and beyond the simple financial transitions that happen in the life of a collector.

A little known fact is that the life of an art collector is full of adventure and, for lack of a better word, fun that makes the hobby or pastime art collecting fascinating, challenging and enjoyable. Some of the reasons art collection is such an exciting venture include…

* Art itself is exciting. Great art can sweep you away
into the world of the artist’s imagination and touch
you in ways no other form of communication can.
You can have an entire adventure standing quietly
before a stationary canvas as your soul takes off with
the message the artist sends to you through his artwork
as you can see with Raven's Bloodline by Randy Patton.

* The art world is exotic and full of eccentric individuals. Because the art world is full of creative people, you will socialize with colorful and exotic personalities. You’re friends may be great artists, dealers and others who make the art world tick.

* Meeting artists of works you admire is the ultimate "fan" experience. You will have to learn to "be cool" as great artists and other art world personalities become part of your normal social circle. Your experience will be more than just getting an autograph as you socialize as an equal with the most creative elements of society.

* Art is a mirror of society. Artists confront the great issues of our time in their work. The conversations in late night cafĂ©’s and bars with artists struggling with great social and philosophical issues will be tremendously stimulating.

* The culture of the art world is full of scandal and intrigue. The gossip of who is seeing who and how the loves and loyalties of artists, dealers and big collectors affect big art events will be fascinating to observe close up and even become a part of over time.

When you make that transition from observer and "fan" of great art, to art collecting, your status changes from audience to citizen of this big, artistic community that is so full of life, fun and activity. You will become caught up in the whirlwind world of exhibits, shows, gallery events, private viewings and out of the way social gatherings where the real thought that makes the art world alive and constantly changing takes place.

You actually become part of contemporary art history as a collector because it is you that artists seek to impress and who they look to for guidance and new ideas. By "rubbing elbows" with artists, dealers and the many other "denizens" of this exciting world, you become a first person witness to the actual creation of new art, art which you can then go on to collect.

These opportunities are unique to art collecting and will provide you with fun and excitement that will more than overshadow any financial investment issues that are part of your art collecting experience. You will never look back when you step over that threshold and become an art collector – for the fun of it.

Until next time...Cynthia Goranson

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rules for Safe Art Collecting

We don’t usually to view art collecting as a particularly risky pastime. Unlike skydiving or parasailing, the danger of injury in art collecting is relatively small. So should we have some basic rules of safety for art collecting as well?

Yes, we must have some guidelines because there are two great risks we face if our venture into art collection goes badly. The first risk is financial. Certainly much of the time you invest in art collecting goes into studying great art and learning about the genre. But buying that piece of fine art to own and display with pride as part of your collection is the final step of the process. So the money you invest in your collection is at risk if your investments are not good ones.

The second risk in art collecting is the risk to your love of art. If you have a bad art deal affect your love of your avocation in art collecting, it can not only damage what is one of the great passions of your life, it could even hurt your love of the art world. So it behooves us to lay down some simple guidelines to assure your calling in art collecting is long and fulfilling.

· Examine your motivations. There are good and bad reasons for getting into art collecting. If you are interested in the hobby because of the financial reward or because you will gain stature socially for your art collection, these are not good reasons. Both financial and social reward and recognition are fickle goals to be sure. But if your motivation for art collecting is to deepen your love and enjoyment of fine art, that principle will guide your purchases and assure that in the end, you will have a collection of great personal joy to you and your family.

· The 90/10 rule. 90% of art collecting is spent outside of the act of buying and handling your new selections for your collection. 90% of your time should be involved in learning and preparation while 10% of the time should be actively involved in purchasing and managing your fine art. Follow this guideline and your purchases will be wise ones indeed.

· Your gut knows all. Simply stated, if your instincts tell you a purchase is a bad one – run! Your gut has an ability to detect problems that you may not be able to vocalize. By following your gut, it will keep you out of trouble.

· Avoid the price extremes. Beware of the art works that are at the top price levels for the genre. The odds are they are not going to compliment your collection as much as drain your bank account. Similarly, avoid art work that is "a bargain". There may be flaws in the artwork that justify the seller’s haste in wanting to unload it.

· Know who you do business with. Get to know your dealers and those who guide your purchase decisions. By only doing business with reputable and trusted sources, you avoid "art collection scams" that can be a disaster for your love of art collecting.
If you let these simple guidelines become your "commandments" of art collecting, you will avoid the majority of problems people who are new to art collecting fall into. But don’t respect these rules just when you are getting started in art collecting.

Let these rules become your guiding principles even when you are a seasoned collector with many stories of great art collection victories to tell. In that way, you will guarantee you enjoy your passion in art collection for a long time to come and even pass your love of this part of culture to your children and those who later on are just getting started and need your sage advice for a "safe" experience in art collecting.

Until next time...

Cynthia Goranson

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Achieve the Art Collection of your Dreams Using the Internet

The Internet has largely been a positive
and wonderful thing since it became a
worldwide force at the beginning of the 1990s.

It has opened up a whole new world
of opportunity for everyone to tap into. Art
has never been easier and more accessible to
individuals from every country in the world,
and neither has the pursuit of anything that you want!

You can buy almost anything on the Internet and that includes fine art and antiques. It's wholly possible to build an entire collection of art via shopping on the Internet and have them shipped straight to your front door.

There are various ways to go about this but it is worth the effort.If you decide that you want something specific the first thing to do is perform a keyword search then you will be directed to any number of gallery websites. Just a quick browse through them can narrow a search down and then the final decision should rest on a number of things.

Firstly, when you locate the piece that you think you want to buy you should look at the reputation of the gallery itself. Via a quick search on the Internet, you should be able to locate the gallery in any clubs or associations that they have a membership in. You should also be able to find local listings to make sure that it is legitimate. Most art galleries should also be registered as a company so you could also check that out, as well as any reviews or mentions that it has in the press.

Many artists are offering their work in a Giclee or fine art reproduction to make the pieces more
affordable to the art buyer. This is an excellent way to get your collection started. Buying an original when you are starting out can be cost prohibatitive. Another way to get started is with posters of the artists work. I much prefer the giclees because the are of much higher quality.

There are some potential pitfalls when buying art on the Internet and we will be discussing more about this in future posts. In the meantime you can see the art work of one of my favorite online artists Randy Patton at The painting above is one of his and is called "Hello Gorgeous!"

Until Next Time...

Cynthia Goranson