How collectors choose the emerging artists they buy

Mint Artists Eleanor Aro and De’Shaia Ventour in the Mint tent at the Belle Isle Art Fair. (Photo © Vickie Elmer)

Emerging artists’ work looks fresh and intriguing, yet they are unknown. So many collectors are nervous or unfamiliar about buying from artists who are still in high school or college.

New art buyers and major collectors alike seek the new, the fresh artists who could become the next big thing – in the regional or global art market. Art flipping has become a thing, based on finding a hot new emerging artist.

They and more serious collectors come to the Mint Artists Guild tent or to galleries that highlight new and emerging talent.

Mint has collected five pieces of advice for collectors who want to buy emerging artists work, but also want to choose pieces that could appreciate in value:

  1. Continued, steady growth. Seek an emerging artist whose career is growing steadily, not a hot flash that will flame out.  Look carefully for fresh emerging artists who take risks, and “whose visual language shows a continual development,” recommends Discovery Art Fair in a post.
  2. Seek on social media. Instagram has become an important place to connect with promising, emerging artists and see work – and work in progress. However, meeting artists and seeing their work at an exhibit or juried art fair – such as the Palmer Park Art Fair or Belle Isle Art Fair, where Mint has group tents – will provide even more information and insights.
  3. Find artists who have support. To invest in an artist with a future, choose one who has been acquired by a museum or notable collectors, or who has a gallery, agent or art dealer – or who has an organization such as Mint – backing him or her. Do your research to see how much energy and support the gallery will give, based on how many artists they work with.
  4. Look for exceptional work and style. Choose art or an artist who has a distinctive style or a compelling approach or theme to their art. Buy work that feels fresh and exceptional, that “stands out from the trends.” Avoid artists whose pieces feel too similar to other artists.
  5. Choose work ethic and longevity. Select an artist who is driven and has an exceptional work ethic.  You want someone whose passion and creative output will continue for decades and who has “the resilience to deal with the setbacks this industry throws,” wrote Marine Tanguy, CEO of MTArt Agency in a blog post. And as a collector, avoid impulse buys; dig deeper into the artists’ story, education and exhibits, art writer Ana Bambić Kostov suggests in a post for Discovery Art Fair.

Mint Artists in our Learn and Earn group are chosen for their talent, drive and willingness to learn and engage in the community. A number of them including Eleanor Aro, Prince Matthews, and Journey Shamily, have work in major Detroit area collectors’ homes or offices.

Collectors also need to visit a lot of art fairs or exhibits to hone their eye. “The more art you see, the more knowledgeable you will become, which is important for anyone thinking about art as an investment,” wrote Rebecca Wilson, chief curator and an art advisor for Saatchi Art in a 2017 report on emerging artists.  Buying work from emerging artists may be a smart strategy for building an art collection. “Not only do you have the chance to be among the first to buy from a future art star, but there tends to be much greater access to an artist’s work—both in terms of price and availability—at the start of their career. ”

If you want to buy some amazing, collectible emerging artists work, pick up a ticket to Mint Masterpieces on Oct. 19. Or follow Mint’s events on Facebook and here on our website for our next art pop up or events.