I’m pleased to say we’re seeing more and more gallery visitors who are truly passionate about street art as an investment. While this movement is still gaining pace in the established art world, I believe the most exciting opportunities are in the emerging market.
From being dismissed as illegal vandalism to selling for millions in prestigious galleries and auction houses, street art has seen its reputation transform over time.
Steve Lazarides, the man credited with bringing Banksy into the commercial art industry, recently talked to CNBC about the history of street art as an investment, and its continued development as a genre.
“When we started 15 to 20 years ago, we got chased off every single building,” Lazarides explained. “Nowadays, they’re welcoming [us] with open arms.”
I’ve discussed previously how Banksy in particular is responsible for changing the way many people in the UK see, appreciate and buy street art. Indeed, his works have found such high value that they influence property prices in London’s Shoreditch, where some buildings are adorned with his iconic art.
Several Banksy street art works have also been taken from their original location to be sold.
In 2012, Slave Labour was moved from a Poundland store to a private London auction, where it sold for more than £750,000. Girl with the Red Balloon was also removed from the wall of an east London shop in 2014 and sold for an estimated £500,000.
While the street art movement originally stems from graffiti on buildings, bridges and public transport, there are also far more practical options for individuals looking to buy street art.
Successful street artists are now finding representation with art galleries, and producing canvases, screen prints and even photographs for what is now a significant market.
“The very best guys do something different in the gallery as what they do on the streets,” stresses Lazarides. In our recent exhibitions at Maddox Gallery, we’ve seen celebrated street artists such as Bradley Theodore and RETNA move into sculpture, for instance, experimenting with their trademark style in new forms.
“In my 15 years, all I’ve seen so far is it going from strength to strength,” he continues. By definition, street artists are imaginative, resourceful and inventive. It’s no surprise, then, that the most talented names on the global scene are developing their art form.
For many, Banksy is the first name that comes to mind when they think of street art as an investment. Banksy is now firmly an established artist, and the price of his works reflect this.
Various blue-chip artists, such as Jean-Michael Basquiat and Keith Haring, also began life in the street art scene. Their works now command prices that run into the millions.
Despite this, there are also plenty of emerging street artists who are incredibly talented and tipped to be the next big thing. By choosing to buy street art from the right names at the right time, collectors can benefit from the artist’s rising value and demand.
Maddox Gallery represents a host of exciting and affordable street artists who are rapidly gaining fame around the world. Layer Cake, Mr Brainwash and RETNA to name just a few are all experiencing plenty of attention from galleries, collectors and art lovers globally.
Street art as an investment is appealing to art lovers for a simple reason: It can be incredibly affordable, and the market has seen some exceptional returns on investment.
“Going back a decade, if you take one of those artworks that I sold for £149.99, something of that value at that time would be worth upwards of £300,000 to £400,000,” explains Lazarides. “So that’s a pretty good return in your investment in a 10-year period.”
In fact, this would give the seller more than a 250,000% return on investment.
While more art galleries started to meet popular demand for urban art, it wasn’t long before more traditional establishments joined in. London auction house Bonhams held its first urban art auction in early 2008, consisting mostly of prints, and raised £1.2m in sales.
While the market slowed following the financial collapse in 2008, it went on to make a strong recovery despite the recession. Today, we’re seeing the street art movement continuing on a path of growth, and we have no doubt it will continue.
If you’re looking to buy street art in London, our galleries in Mayfair and Notting Hill are a great place to start. Our expert Sotheby’s-trained art consultants welcome visitors every day, educate them about our artists and provide support throughout the buying process.
We work with a number of talented UK and international emerging artists, who are tipped for huge success in the future and represent outstanding value.
Maddox Gallery also provides certificates of authentication with all of the works we sell, ensuring that our clients have everything they need to make a strong return on investment in the future.
If you want to learn more about investing in contemporary art, take a look at ‘The Six Key Factors to Consider When Making an Art Investment.’ To find out more about any of our represented artists, please contact Maddox Gallery. Our Sotheby’s-trained art consultants will be happy to provide expert advice.
Written by James Nicholls, Chairman, Maddox Gallery.