The art of buying art

17 February 2019
The Sunday Times, Life, Page C2-3

NAFA Alumni Thomas Yeo and Han Sai Por were also featured.

  1. LOOK AT ART
    The first step is simply to go to galleries and look at as much art as possible. There are plenty of galleries in Singapore which offer a range of works from established and upcoming Singapore artists. There are always exhibitions and shows. You can then figure out what you like and what you do not like.

  2. LOOK FOR ALTERNATIVE MEDIA, GENRES OR ARTISTS
    A large Thomas Yeo work in acrylic on canvas can set you back by more than $20,000 as he may sometimes work on a piece for two or three years and this effort is reflected in the price. But at his last exhibition at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in April last year, he offered a series of gouache on paper landscape works, some of which were priced less than $15,000.

    While Yeo says he does not do prints as he has never "clicked" with the medium, there are more than a few artists who have worked in the medium. These works, because they can be reproduced, tend to be priced lower than the more labour-intensive oil and acrylic works.

  3. DON'T BE AFRAID TO TALK MONEY
    If you like a work, but it is out of your price range, check with the galleries for something that fits your budget or purpose, whether it is to decorate a new home or for pure pleasure. Gallerists do deal with requests for art that fit a colour scheme, or fills a particular space.

    Another open secret in the art world is that you can pay in instalments if you have built a relationship with the gallery or the artist. Veteran painter Thomas Yeo recalls allowing one collector, a university lecturer, to pay him in instalments for a $5,000 work about 30 years ago. But gallerists are quick to add such requests are usually entertained on a "case-by-case" basis, so this is more reason for budding collectors to attend events to get to know gallerists and artists.

  4. TALK TO THE ARTISTS
    All the artists The Sunday Times spoke to say they are happy to chat with potential buyers and discuss their art. Artists are usually present at openings, but there are other ways to meet them.


SINGAPORE MASTERS FOR LESS THAN $5,000
BOO SZE YANG, 53, PAINTER
Boo trained at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and is known for his technique in which he drips, combs, scratches and wipes paint on the canvas. Work: Incheon International Airport, oil on canvas, 60 x 70cm, $4,400, from Utterly Art.

View the full article here.

Source: The Sunday Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.