Interesting how the same day one of the oldest banks on Wall Street, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy on 15th September 2008 a collection of Damien Hirst‘s works from his series ‘Beautiful Inside My Head Forever’ sold at Sotheby’s fetching more than £70m. Whether you are a fan of art or not you can’t argue that it is an important industry to be aware of, more so now than ever before.
As an artist myself I appreciate how much time, skill, heart and soul can go into a piece of work so I have never been one to criticize paying good money for art. I’ve always been interested in being a collector but I’ve never known how to go about it. I read a 12 page report on the art market in The Economist last December, it covered everything from history, corruption, the ins and outs of primary and secondary markets ,trends, how demand for art is the long run is bound to rise blah blah blah but the conclusion was with all technicalities aside, it’s always going to be risky business so the best way to collect art is to always buy pieces you love, that way you have nothing to lose. There is a lot of luck involved here too, I’m sure you’ve heard some of the success stories like the guy who bought an original Banksy piece for a couple of hundred pounds only to find that two years later it was worth hundreds of thousands.
So I made my first purchase at the Affordable Art Fair a couple of months ago-a painting of an ‘ investment banker demon’ from the Pandemonium series by Stanley Donwood, you could almost say it was love at first sight (even though it may not be everyone’s ideal choice of painting to have at home!). I just loved the bright co lours and the fact that it was a cheeky piece, the main thing though was that I imagined this would be a great painting to have up in one of my restaurants/lounges one day and it really does stand out!
Stanley Donwood who has won two Grammy awards for his art and is often described as the sixth member of the English rock band Radiohead produced all the artwork for this year’s Glastonbury Festival and is currently working on a project in San Fransisco. You could also say he is not a huge fan of Investment bankers..
The Pandemonium series is a comment on the financial crisis and the financiers who caused it – the series depicts soberly suited figures whose heads have been replaced by satanically grinning goats.
“They’re horrible, feral, carnivorous goat-like creatures, consumed by a naked, guiltless, ravening greed,” says Donwood. “Partly, the faces you fear you’ll see when you pull open the curtains at night, partly the laughing visage of decaying Western capitalism, they’re inspired by vast movements of cash into the pockets of the despicable, by bonuses, payoffs and bribes to keep quiet. This motherf**ker wears the suit and tie of a disgraced banker trousering a few hospitals worth of cash’.
” Gallons of paint I’ve poured over them to drown their snickering. But still they laugh.”
To me art has to make an impact or tell a story and I feel this piece does both. I do see it as a good investment partly because it’s controversial and just a few were made and partly because the artist is going from strength to strength with a good fan-base already. I hope I never have to sell it though because I love it!