"Collect out of love" was one of the key messages delivered at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery's latest Friday Conversations event.
Discussion focussed on Indigenous art, and the distinguished panel comprised;
- a Gallerist - Dr Dianne Mossenson, Indigenart and Mossenson Galleries
- a Curator - Mr Glenn Iseger-Pilkington, Art Gallery of Western Australia (Indigenous Art)
- a Collector - Dr Jo Lagerberg.
Professor Ted Snell, Director of the Cultural Precinct at The University of Western Australia (UWA), acted as moderator and he steered talk towards practical advice for people interested in collecting work from within this genre.
Each panellist offered advice from their differing standpoints within the Arts community, and the trio were often in agreement.
Tips for collecting Indigenous Art
1. Consider the cultural significance of the artwork
Cultural information is transferred through Indigenous Art, Mr Iseger-Pilkington says, and a potential buyer should pay close attention to the ‘content' within a piece.
2. You don't have to spend a lot to acquire quality artwork.
It's not necessary to spend a fortune to add a valuable piece to your collection.
In fact, Mr Iseger-Pilkington has never paid more than $1,700 for a piece destined for his personal collection. He says that by purchasing items in the lower price bracket, he's supporting developing artists and acquires a tangible piece of their development.
3. Do your homework ... sometimes!
One of Dr Lagerberg's purchasing rules relates to research; when it is necessary and when it is not.
For pieces under $3,000 her advice is to go for it, buy whatever grabs you without having to do any research. However, when you are considering artwork valued from $10,000 - $15,000, she recommends you do your homework.
Dr Lagerberg also suggests that for the more expensive items, hold off on buying until you are absolutely certain. She says it is wise to revisit the piece a few times and if you love it more and more each time, then it is right for you and your collection.
4. Build good relationships, with good galleries
Most good art from Indigenous communities goes to galleries, Dr Lagerberg says. For this reason, it is advantageous for a collector to build strong relationships with reputable galleries.
However, Dr Dianne Mossenson advises that gallery representation can not be the only measure of quality artwork.
She says galleries are now subject to a number of restrictions that influence their purchasing decisions (including budget, strict collecting policies and a curator's personal taste).
5. Listen to your heart
A resounding message delivered during the panel discussion was to trust your instinct and buy art that you enjoy.
"Collect out of love", Mr Iseger-Pilkington advises. If a piece will give you pleasure everyday, if it pulls at your heartstrings and makes you happy, then make it your own.
"Don't be narrow-minded and driven by other people's taste," Dr Lagerberg urges. She says you should use your eye and believe in what you like.
In her personal decision-making experience, Dr Mossenson identifies one of her criteria as whether or not she believes in the artist's work.
The next Friday Conversations event is scheduled for April 20 from 1pm and will feature John Cruthers, Art Consultant and Curatorial Advisor of the Cruthers Collection of Women's Art, UWA.
For more information on the current exhibition Purnu, Tjanpi, Canvas. Art of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, or to download the Public Program and Events Information, please visit the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery website.