Collecting Contemporary Art – Tips from an Expert
The collecting or purchasing of contemporary art can often prove intimidating. The market is obscure and confusing, easily overwhelming new collectors with cryptic jargon and passing fashions. It is always nice to have some guidance from a seasoned professional. Whether you are looking to start collecting art seriously or looking to find a few good pieces to live with, you undoubtedly have many questions. So, I asked talented art consultant Leslie Gerber-Seid to share some of the most frequently asked questions she gets AND to give us the answers. Read on for some great tips and guidance to help you navigate collecting in the contemporary art world. –Melissa Meyers
Q. “I want to look to purchase art –but my knowledge is limited to “Art History 101” from college. Where do I start?
A. Educate yourself – it can be an adventure. Get an idea of what you like by reading art magazines such as Art News, Art Forum or Art in America. You will see which galleries show the type of work you are drawn to, i.e. abstract, figurative, emerging, established, etc. See what your friends have on their walls and if you admire their art, ask them how they went about finding it.
Q. “Where should I look for art?”
A. If you live in NY, you should go to Chelsea of course. And the Lower Eas t Side and Williamsburg. The list goes on, there are many art-rich areas to explore. Now that you find yourself on 10th Avenue and 25th Street, you are in the middle of the art world– there are hundreds of galleries – if you are just spending a leisurely day strolling, then walking in and out of galleries between 10th and 11th is a lovely day and you can further get an idea of what you like. But if you seriously want to purchase, this plan might be overwhelming. There are simply too many galleries. This is where educating yourself comes into play- you have to have an idea of specific galleries that show work you like in your price range. Make an appointment to visit the gallery and meet with a director to see works by specific artists that are probably not on display. When you visit a gallery you are usually seeing a solo show – the artist you are interested in might very well be in the back room.
Q. “Should you work with an art advisor?”
A: An art advisor will help you navigate the process of purchasing art. They will help you figure out the type of art you are interested in, and they will know where to find it. They will educate you and lead you in the right direction.
Q. “What makes a good piece of art?”
A. You will never get tired of looking at it. There will always be something for you to discover – it satisfies you aesthetically, emotionally and intellectually.
Q. “Should I be buying art as an investment?”
A. Risky business. Like anything, there is hype, talk and excitement around certain artists – it could be passing fashion, but it could also be the real deal. Time will tell. If you are spending larger sums do your due diligence. Know who the artist is – where they have showed. What collections they are in. Has their work been up at auction? Be comfortable with what you are spending but above all buy what you love.
For an appointment and more information contact:
Gerber-Seid Visual Inc.
201 East 77th Street
Photos Courtesy of: Gerber-Seid Fine Art
Stephanie Hirsch: Her Art & Style
Stephanie Hirsch is someone to admire – she is an entrepreneur, author, designer, and now contemporary artist. Spiritual and a dedicated mother of two, she shares with us her inspiration behind her work and lifestyle favorites.
Melissa Meyers: You were a designer, author, and now an artist. Tell us how your past has influenced you.
Stephanie Hirsch: Whichever medium I have used to express myself my goal has always been to inspire people. Being a fashion designer (especially a swimwear designer), I designed with the intention for a woman to put on one of my creations and feel confident and strong, while wearing barely anything. I wrote my book “Mother Nurture” to inspire moms around the world to go on their own journey with their child, to help guide them to be the best person they could be. Now through my artwork, I inspire people with my interpretations of different sayings or mantras through beading and embroidery.
MM: Describe yourself as an artist.
SH: I try to stay connected to the light through different sayings and mantras. I interpret the emotions of these mantras through beading and embroidery. I always try to find the humor and enlightenment and to shed a positive light on our inner struggles.
MM: What inspired you to create this type of art?
SH: I was in a dark place in my life and had lost my creativity and zest for life. I always used mantras and sayings to keep me connected to a positive state, but at that time nothing would bring me back. I needed to literally and figuratively bring these mantras and sayings to life to help me get my sense of joy and passion back.
MM: Each piece has a special message. How many of each do you create?
SH: I have created 25 pieces so far.
MM: Describe the creative process and how each piece is made.
SH: First I sketch my idea in pencil, then I transfer my sketch onto a 5 x 7 canvas. I either sew or glue the beads/rhinestones onto the canvas to create a design and use colored pencil to mimic embroidery. Once the mini canvas is created I send the finished piece to India where each canvas is hand-done and takes approx. two-three months to complete.
MM: I know you have an impressive following. Who is the Stephanie Hirsch client or collector?
SH: A person who has an emotional, passionate response to the message I am conveying. It could be because they are going through or have gone through an experience and the message speaks to them. It is purely an emotional experience. Jennifer Miller is a client and very supportive fan, so much that she will rotate pieces of my work in her Southampton location all summer.
MM: Can we commission you to do a custom beaded canvas?
MM: What are the prices?
MM: Where can we check out your work?
SH: Clic Bookstore & Gallery, 23 Newtown Lane, East Hampton, NY, and the Alexandra Von Furstenberg store, 9001 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, CA.
MM: What is your favorite item in your wardrobe?
SH: My Elise Overland black pencil skirt. It is tough but sexy. I can dress it up or down and I always look pulled together.
MM: Favorite store?
SH: Barney’s New York.
MM: You have traveled extensively to India and to many exotic islands. What were some of your favorite trips?
SH: Bali, India, Morocco, and the Negev Desert (Israel).
MM: Do you have tips on decorating your home with art?
SH: Whichever artwork you choose for your home should inspire and make you smile.
MM: Can you tell me one of your new must-have home décor item, style accessory, or hostess gift?
SH: A big box of candy from Sylvester & Co… no one is ever disappointed!
Buy Now, “Mother Nurture”, $3.24
| “Religion is for people that don’t want to go to hell.
Spirituality is for those of us that have been there.”
There is no better saying that captures the emotion of Stephanie Hirsch’s artwork. Her work delves into the deeper or double meaning of words and sayings with both humor and enlightenment. “Initially, sayings can be static,” Stephanie says, “but once we apply our life experiences they can have infinite meanings.”
To convey her messages, she bridges the gap between fashion and art by utilizing beads and embroidery, which give her artwork a three-dimensional depth. The metallic sheen of the medium also serves to remind us that the mantras can shine a positive light on our inner struggles, both literally and figuratively.
Stephanie Hirsch is an entrepreneur, designer, author and artist.
She created the inca resort lifestyle brand in 1996. The boutique design house featured collections of luxury swim and resort wear. With Stephanie’s trendsetting designs, inca became a globally recognized brand. Entirely self-taught, Stephanie’s designs have been praised for her unparalleled attention to detail along with its flattering and superior fit, and it has also brought her wide acclaim and international recognition as a fashion designer.
Following the birth of her son Hunter, her journey as a mother led her to write the book Mother Nurture: Life Lessons from America’s Best and Brightest.
The book is a conclusion of her interviews with the mothers of 52 highly successful people around the world and was published in 2008 by Harper Collins.
Stephanie has also collaborated with the premier indoor cycling studios SoulCycle. In bringing her design expertise and shared vision to reinvigorate the soul, she created their fitness line of comfortable yet stylish cycling apparel.
She now turns her attention to art, using her unique vision and flair for style in creating beautifully embroidered and beaded canvases.
Check out more of Stephanie’s work at www.stephanie-hirsch.com
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