A while back, way before I got into this modeling racket, a friend from high school, Brad, asked me a very astute question: where could he start buying art.
Real modern art with investment value with which he could fill out a budding collection.
Often, from working so closely with artists, I think the whole world is composed of them. I don't realize that there are potential buyers out there my age and even younger who are really hungry to establish for themselves a solid collection.
Most of us "stumble upon" the things we like. The internet has fucked with this kind of culture in repeated ways, some good most bad, but fortunately there is still nothing in the world like going into an antique or thrift shop and entering a different world. Becoming enamored of an object (or three!) of often pragmatic but certainly always aesthetic, value, and enhancing your life or the life of someone else thru a gift.
This is slightly harder to do in the "show at the gallery" culture. All the artists I know are true this way- they would much rather be making art and working in their studios than standing around talking about said piece or process in a crowd of people. If you want to get to know an artist personally, this is not the place to do it. Find a way to contact them and make an appointment. Altho' artists (sensitive, compassionate, etc.), these are still business-minded individuals and this means "time is money."
This is not to say that the gallery opening is not ideal. Good art sells. Period. And it is a buyer's market right now. Go early so you can see what you like. Visit again when you've turned over the image in your mind and the crowd is away. The art won't be available for you to take home until the show comes down, so you'll have about a month to decide where said piece fits amongst your belongings. There is no such thing as buyer's remorse when you support those who dare to define culture thru a singular articulate vision.
With this in mind, I would like to introduce you all to some artists whom I consider to be masters of their craft. Some teach. Most are based in Chicago. I have been privileged to work with each on at least one occasion.
These artists are the living canon. All of them are prize winners, and some have work in the permanent collections of museums. Their work and the work of others like them accurately represents the majesty of not just the figure (their subject matter varies), but also the magnificent possibilities of the mediums in which they work (mostly oils, but sometimes watercolor, pastels, wood, etc.).
Best of luck!
Bruno Surdo - Founder of the School of Representational Art in Chicago and mentor to countless artists, budding and established alike. A man enamored of craftsmanship and wit, Bruno paints with an eye for the timely metaphor and purpose of pose. Very much in demand.
Mike Rubenstein - Here is an artist who reveals a story inside of every single piece of work. Exuberant, luxurious, and a modest observer of the 80s with a penchant for the feminine form.
Andy Conklin and Helen Oh - A husband and wife whose bodies of work couldn't be further from one another in scope and scale, and this is what makes them so dynamic as a pair. Instructors at Harrington College of Design, they must be seen to be believed.
Tom Robinson - A star of the current issue of New American Paintings, Tom's work is sweeping in scale, edgy, sexy and celebratory of the feminine. The complexity of his woodwork is always new, always amazing.
Richard Halsted - Portrait artist for the individual and the family. Never have I seen work so well done by students, or someone as passionate about teaching. "Radiant" and "Intuitive" are two words that come to mind immediately for Richard.
Mary Qian - Here's a woman who would teach if she could tear herself away from her own canvas for a minute. Paint, breath, sleep, eat- in that order. Her work is gaining international attention, and the prices are going up because of it!
Amanda Johnson - Young, beautiful, electric. Amanda has studied art all over the world and it shows. With massive abstracts or gentle interpretations of nature, she too is fast gaining attention and moving lots of work.
Stephan Gianinni - Stephan's work rings a beauty that aches to be seen (Girl-in-Subway painting above). I'd swear actual, physical love comes thru this man's brush. An adept restorations expert with a mean case of wanderlust, find a way to own something this soft genius touched. You won't be disappointed.
Stuart Fullerton - A driven "plein air", or outdoor, painter, Stuart's work is subtle magic. Very active with the Palette and Chisel Academy of Art, and shows frequently. There is something here for anyone with a pulse.