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 http://www.animekatachi.blogspot.com/ or randypattonart@gmail.com

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" http://budurl.com/RandyPattonArt

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" http://budurl.com/RandyPattonArt

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" http://budurl.com/RandyPattonArt

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" http://www.animekatachi.com/

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" http://www.animekatachi.com/

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" http://www.animekatachi.com/