The Artful Collector: Hello, 2014!

Gary Lippincott: Portrait of the Franks, private commission 2013.  This would have made a GREAT Holiday card, wouldn't it?
Gary Lippincott: Portrait of the Franks, private commission 2013. This would have made a GREAT Holiday card, wouldn’t it?

I didn’t send out Holiday cards this year (to be honest, I’ve given up the habit) but celebrating the New Year is something I refuse to give up!  I love the wacky drama of it all, and the freedom to be boisterous and melancholy (all night long) and I love champagne – and I don’t have to wrap and send any gifts – so it’s a perfect holiday for me in all respects!   I’m also the kind of person who makes New Year’s resolutions – and have, on occasion, even been one of the 11% of those who keeps them!  So, while I get teary eyed with nostalgia when the clock hands move to midnight, and the “big ball” descends in Times Square, I have as much fun looking forward as I do looking back.  (If only I had a better memory, and could remember the past year in better detail – but it’s already receding as I write this…..!)

Zipping by. . .

It seems only yesterday that I started blogging for Amazing Stories.  But it’s really been more than 40 weeks (and I have the posts to prove it!).  Hard to believe that I’ve come up with that much to say . . . and even enjoyed doing it!  Why, that’s more than 60,000 words . . . and counting!  I wasn’t sure, when I first started, that I would be able to keep up – other bloggers were so smart and clever, I read their posts and wondered: Will I be able to keep coming up with new and interesting things to say?  The sheer number of words . . . was daunting.  But I discovered, to paraphrase Twain, that I usually didn’t have the time to write a short post, so I had to write a long one instead  🙂

Does this mean I could write a novel some day?  Maybe.  But writing is not enough….you also need readers.   Given the paucity of comments I’ve gotten on my posts so far, I don’t have much reason to be optimistic.  So . . .

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION #1:  Be more controversial in my postings.  I need to be opinionated!  The way to get more readers is to get people riled up.  That way I can write whatever length posts I like, and still have followers!  I’ve been way too inoffensive, that has to stop.  I took part in a jolly exchange on facebook having to do with digital prints that really got people steamed… I know how it’s done. I came close with my posting on “the best fantasy art convention” but it only annoyed one or two people, not really anywhere close to where I need to be, in terms of attracting an audience 🙂  I resolve to do better in 2014!  Which brings me to –

Highlights of Yesteryear  . . .

I never would have thunk it in 2012, especially considering the toll taken by the recession which (yes) affected all collectibles and art markets, but 2013 turned out to be my best year ever in business.  I mean, super terrific.  I made more sales for more artists, even ones I don’t know and have never met, and had higher revenue for Worlds of Wonder, in 2013 than in all 23 years I’ve been in business.  And that’s WITH the stable of artists I represent being hugely reduced  – it’s now down to about 9, from 15 (2010) which even then was greatly reduced from where I was all through the 2000s – representing about 24-30+ artists.  And those higher sales were ALSO made with me going to the same conventions, and having as much fun there, but taking one-third of the number of panel space to display an equivalently lower number of paintings, at lower prices, and overall selling two-thirds fewer artworks that way.  Clearly my business has changed in significant ways!!!  For one thing, it means I don’t need to exclusively represent dozens of artists, or have 300 paintings in my closet, or travel long distances, to sell art.  As only one example: I sat with Chris Moore at IlluxCon, 2013, selling his art.  And while sitting and selling Chris’s art, on site, I played matchmaker over the weekend and sold $20,000 worth of art that was not on display, to a collector overseas, for another artist who happened to be sitting nearby (Ciruelo Cabral, whom I represented for a brief time, ten years ago), just by using my iPad to send pictures.  So . . .

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION #2:  Don’t worry, be happy.  Yes, the world is changing.  I NEVER would have guessed it, but this is good news.  So, go with the flow. (ok, so this conflicts a little with being controversial, but I’ll be easy-going about being opioniated and judgmental, ok?  🙂

And finally, for those who say:

Those Who Cannot Remember the Past. . . Are Doomed to Repeat it *

I really hope so.  Because (and twisting the meaning, of course!) that means that a whole new generation of collectors will be entering the field who will be drawn to the art on its merits, and not just because the painting was used for the cover of a book they read when they were twelve.  For many sf/f art lovers today, the time when this field of collecting was defined by when and where a work was published . . . has passed.  It is no longer a genre confined to (or described solely as) illustration, or advertising, or packaging art – but rather simply by the adjectives “fantasy” or “science fiction.” (or several other labels, none of them defining the art by its function).

Of course, I also could have added “and not just because it was painted” to being drawn to the art…..but I’m not ready to go that far.  Especially because there are many, many talented artists in this field today who ARE still painting with paints and whose work needs to be seen – and still not enough good venues for them to show off their work.  Yes, there are still conventions and such.  But access to their work could always be better.  So . . .

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION #3 (and last one, since all good things come in threes):  I will give more space to championing artists, old and new, and reviewing their work, in 2014.  I will talk less about “how” and “where” to collect and more about “what” art and artists to collect, and why.  It’s a new year, and The King may be Dead, but Long Live the King!

Next week: I wrap up my series on art hierarchies, and you’ll see why I saved that one for last  🙂

*quote: George Santayana

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