Finding new artworks is a significant part of our business. A lot of people have been asking me how am I sourcing artworks. Where do I find artists and why I have chosen those specific artworks. The immediate answer is – gut feeling. But there is much more to it than just that.
Going to the exhibition openings is ultimately my favourite way. I can see the artwork then and there and usually I will have the chance to speak with the artist right away, find out a bit more about the artwork, artist’s intentions and ideas behind it. The next step is a studio visit to see more artworks and ultimately choose the desired selection. Speaking with the artist within their comfortable environment is important. I am always interested in their background and what other activities they are doing. This way I understand artworks better and ultimately will be better in the communication with the buyers.
Another method is browsing artworks digitally. Finding the artist and their artworks online and then arranging a studio visit. Majority of artists have their full portfolios online, and therefore the preselection can be easily organised. But studio visit is equally important because then I will see selected artwork live and sometimes the actual artwork doesn’t look as good as it does online. But also vice versa, digital world doesn’t do justice to some artworks. Browsing exhibition catalogues allow pretty much the same thought process as with the digital one.
Sometimes people suggest me artists and artworks. This is quite hit and miss option as tastes are different. But at the same time, it depends on who is the one suggesting. I always consider that advice, and I am happy to look at the digital portfolios as you never know who you can find. I use this method also to assess people’s preferences for future reference, especially if they turn out to be clients.
Running an online platform for visual arts requires being us to be very confident in the end product, especially as the client will see the original artwork after they have agreed to the proposal. Digital samples where artworks are placed in situ in client’s venue is a must. Therefore visiting artists in their studios and seeing artworks before taking them on board so important.
No matter which way we find and source artworks it is crucial to have good relationships with the artists. They are trusting us with their creations, to look after them and to see a good home for them. And most importantly that the artwork compliments the environment it is placed.
Example: Sandra Owens’ studio visit
A couple of weeks ago, I went to Nuneaton to visit a fantastic studio run by a sculpture artist Sandra Owens. The warehouse unit with high ceiling is equipped and almost entirely self-sustainable. Sandra works with various materials and produces both design and art elements. She is very skilful in working with diverse materials like wood, plaster, glass, clay, concrete, plastic etc. Sandra also paints and takes mesmerising photos. Her ability to work on the borderline of design and fine art is excellent. Visiting her studio allowed me to understand the process of how her artworks come to life and also the reasoning and ideas behind them, as well as seeing the connections between various pieces of work.
More info about Sandra’s work can be found here: http://www.smoart.com/