Affordable Art: Eight Present Perfect Investment Pieces
Over the last week, my life has been flooded with fabulous art. Firstly, I was lucky enough to visit The Artist Residence in Pimlico, a boutique Hotel which not only provides the coolest accommodation in London but also is wall to wall stacked with independent art pieces (they'll be more of this glorious place on my blog next week). Secondly, this week I presented a Christmas decoration workshop to beauty influencers at Thyme in Southrop, another beautiful Hotel that is cool country living picture perfection. It even comes with it's own pub, plus it has life-size faux sheep in the bar. Seriously. Although that may not be quite such a good idea after a few drinks, tbh. Anyway, as well as being just generally fabulous, the Barn in which I was presenting had one of my favourite art pieces of all time - The Lightness of Being by Chris Levine. I swooned heavily over it in between gift wrapping and bauble hanging.
It's only in recent years that I have really come to appreciate art. As a child, I was definitely the least arty person in my entire family. In fact, I was renowned for my complete lack of creative talent - I was far more interested in the artistic merit of a bottle of Lambrusco than a Tracy Emin bed. My sister Annabel was the creative one, plus my Dad's side of the family were hugely talented. My Dad's cousin, Lesley Kerman, teaches Art History at Exeter and is an artist in her own right, having previously exhibited at Goldsmiths and her son, my second cousin Louis Nixon is an artist who is Associate Dean in Art & Architecture at Kingston University. Plus, as if that wasn't enough of a creative background, Lesley's husband, Graham Rich, creates pieces on driftwood and has exhibited at the Fine Art Society and is currently showing at The Belgrave St Ives. No pressure there, then.
As the years have passed, I've become more aware of my own personal style when it comes to how I furnish my home and that extends to what I put on my walls. And, of course, I've had kids and realised the absolute joy of being able to walk around an art gallery alone with no distraction whatsoever. I once had to go alone to London for the day due to emergency passport trauma when we realised that Ella had only two days left on her documents. We were off to Spain the next day and during the six hours (yes, SIX HOURS) that I had to wait, I went on a solo mission to The Tate to see the Damien Hirst exhibition and it was better than being on holiday. The silence, the calm, the beauty, the being surrounded by creativity almost made me faint with happiness. Anyone with children will be sighing yearningly when they read this.
If there was ever a reason for me wishing to win the Lottery, being able to afford to invest in significant pieces of art is the one. When I visited my friend Sam in New York (again, alone - parents with children, look away now) we went to the MOMA which has to be the most amazing place I have literally ever visited. It had originally been on my tourist list to see the Matisse exhibition but were quickly distracted by Van Gogh, Cezanne, Warhol and an entire room of Monet Water Lillies. I'd never seen so many both amazing and famous artworks in one place. I have no idea how they were curated but there are lots of small, rich, poodle clad American widows in New York so I think that their donations may have something to do with it.
Anyway, let's cut to the chase. Whatever way you look at it, investing in art isn't cheap. But there is a way of curating a collection of your own without spending a fortune. And that's by purchasing limited edition prints of original artworks. This is an excellent way of adding beauty to your walls without the price tag. Plus, if you are buying from small up and coming artists, there is always the possibility that the print will increase in value and turn into a significant investment.
I've teamed up with Art Of Protest, an urban contemporary gallery based in York, to show you what you can pick up for £300 and under that ticks this box.
STEVEN SPAZUK - Trump Bomb
Okay, so I'll start with this one. I actually went to the opening of this exhibition at the Art Of Protest Gallery and witnessed the artist at work and it was AMAZING. Using a technique called fumage, his paintbrush is an open candle flame that leaves a fine deposit of carbon black of paper. Spazuk uses feathers and brushes to sculpt his artwork.
You can buy a limited edition stencil from a run of just ten (14cm x 10cm). Unframed £200, framed £300.
ANTHONY 'H' HORLOCK - Defence Of The Inanimate - Pepsi Can
H is an artist living in Southend On Sea who was one of the foremost artists in the late 1980's rave scene, producing the first flyers and graphical art installations on a large scale. He uses multiple mediums depending on the effect he is after in the final piece, whether it be oil, acrylic, eco solvent based or computer generated.
This piece is from his Inanimate collection and is £195 unframed.
MIRLO (AKA Matthew Shelton) - Bali Girl
Photographer Matt has travelled the world capturing delicate moments in everyday life and over the past year he has fused street art with his photography to create multi-layered stencils that stay true to the moments he has captured. The name comes from his grandfather giving him a pendant of a blackbird, the Spanish word for which is 'Mirlo'.
This is an original spray painted stencil that comes in five colour ways and is £300.
A.CE - Bunny Roma
A.CE is a London based artist whose work has been commissioned by Stussy, The Big Issue, Reebok and Ace Hotel. With growing popularity, the value of his work has continued to increase, with works reaching record prices at recent auctions and shows. He has been a key figure in the UK street art scene for over 15 years. In that time his instantly recognisable wheat-pasted images have featured prominently across the urban landscape.
This limited edition print is £150 unframed.
PREFAB77 - Virginia
Prefab77 is an artist who has origins in the north of England, California and New York. Creating, hard edged and stripped down artwork that is often political, sometimes anti-establishment, but always beautiful he weaves small pieces of modern popular culture, pure rock and rebellion reflecting on the passing of our familiar institutions, shadowy establishment on the take and take small bites out of the underbelly of our modern culture that gets more bizarre with each passing day.
This limited edition print is £120 unframed.
MAGNUS GJOEN - Delft Knuckle Duster
Born in London to Norwegian parents, Magnus Gjoen grew up in Switzerland, Denmark, Italy as well as in the UK. As a contemporary artist Gjoen, has exhibited worldwide and questions the notions of beauty by juxtaposing a range of styles and media, incorporating a street and pop aesthetic with a fine art approach. His pieces draw on history and allusion, using existing artworks or fragments from the past to create his own, contemporary aesthetic.
This limited edition print is £175 unframed.
LAURENCE VALLIERES - Walking Gorilla
Laurence Vallieres is a world famous cardboard sculpture artist based in Montreal. Having always been interested in found objects, she's naturally been attracted to using cardboard, widely available and very often discarded. The use of cardboard in her work is intended to echo the notions of the impermanence and fragility of nature.
This sculpture is £200.
PAM GLEW - Liberty Pink
Pam Glew is a contemporary British artist, known for her unique bleaching technique on vintage flags and fabric. Antique American quilts, brocade and old jeans are dyed black and painted freehand with bleach. The portrait slowly develops in the painting process resulting in an image emerging from the textile. Glew has worked with large brands including Armani, Red Bull and Microsoft, exhibits internationally and is found in public and private art collections worldwide.
This is a two colour screen print hand and is an edition of six. £150 unframed.
If you can afford it, it's well worth investing in pieces like this - they are all wholly individual plus you are supporting small business. Next year I'm going to make a conscious effort to buy more affordable limited edition pieces and try to grow my own curated collection. And I'm going to be adding one of these beauts to my Christmas list.
You can see all these prints and more at Art Of Protest gallery, 16 Little Stonegate, York YO1 8AX. They can be ordered framed at a cost of between £100-£150 per print. You can contact them to purchase by using the following media: