Regardless of whether you are Banksy or Basquiat, it is a known truth that every distinguished artist, at one point in time, was an unknown and emerging talent. With platforms like Instagram enabling an influx of emerging artists from all corners of the world, it has never been more difficult as a collector to know just where to look for art that will both support new artists and have the propensity to rise in value.
So how do you find the next Tracey Emin or Damien Hirst before they make it big? We outline everything you need to know about spotting the art world’s next big thing and detail how to collect emerging artists in a way that will benefit both your collection and the artist.
ROSS MUIR, TRUMPET, 2021
With many graduate shows cancelled or deferred in 2020 due to the pandemic, this year’s season of art school shows are set to be bigger and better than ever. Known in the industry as the perfect hunting ground for new talent, art school graduate shows are one of the best places to go to find emerging artists. From Slade and Central Saint Martins to Goldsmith’s and Chelsea Art School, the end of degree showcases display some of the industry’s best emerging talent, whether you are looking at the works online or in person.
In addition to graduate shows, many galleries are also a great place to discover new artists. Over the past decade, galleries and institutions have recognised the advantages and untapped potential of young creatives and dedicated themselves to promoting emerging artists. At Maddox Gallery, for example, we are proud to represent a fantastic roster of emerging artists alongside established and blue-chip talents, all of whom are in different and equally unique stages in their careers.
Never underestimate the power of social media. Platforms like Instagram have opened up a whole new market for artists that still remain undiscovered or have deviated from more traditional routes to an artistic career. Enabling greater visibility for a whole generation of both artists and collectors, scrolling through your feed has never been so productive.
Although scoping the current landscape may help you get an idea of an artist’s trajectory, more importantly, it will help you grasp what type of art you personally want to collect. There can be a massive financial pay-off from investing in young artists but if you don’t enjoy the artwork you’re buying, then it becomes easy to ask yourself ‘what is the point?’ The most successful and fruitful collections of art around the world have simply been acquired by trusting gut instincts and having a genuine love for the art; so next time an artwork grabs your attention, trust your feelings, and buy it!
A key advantage to collecting emerging artists is also being able to be a part of their journey and to support them as both an advocate and a patron. Many collectors purely acquire new artists for the satisfaction and reward of watching an artist grow as they transition from an unknown name to exhibiting internationally.
An excellent example of an artist that has done just this is Lefty Out There. Since completing his Bachelors of Fine Arts in 2013, Lefty Out There has gone on to create works for and collaborate with some of the world’s biggest brands, including Facebook, Google, and Nike. His iconic murals can be found all over the United States, from Chicago and New York to Los Angeles and New Mexico, as well as internationally at exhibits.
With successful artists like Lefty Out There paving the way for emerging artists in the contemporary art scene, there is no better time than now to start collecting new artists. However, there are certain ways to collect emerging artists that will benefit both the collector and artist. For example, when acquiring a new artist for your collection, it is often beneficial to buy more than one artwork. This way you not only support the artist and boost their market, but if you were to sell the works on in the future, your collection would also be more valuable as a set with multiple works. If multiple works are not necessarily within your budget, as is the case with many new collectors, there are still other ways that you can support new artists, including following their social media accounts or introducing their work to fellow collectors.
In a world where more and more young artists are swiftly rising to artistic stardom, collecting emerging creatives in an effective and responsible way has never been more important. From the possibility of high financial returns to the satisfaction of watching their career grow, emerging artists are not only rewarding to collect, but are also considered the very lifeblood of the art market.