When London’s Pictures of Walls was riding a wave of instant sellouts every time they released a print a few years ago, Massive Attack’s songwriter and vocalist Robert “3D” Del Naja was one of the artists enjoying gallery’s popularity.
Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy – Live 1996
During the height of his popularity, Mr. Del Naja released a series of 6 prints that referenced popular political images at the time including the Iraq War and 9/11. Each of the prints were an edition of 25 and were priced at £250. They sold out the first day they were available. Of the giclee series, “Reflected Jet”, “Jihad” and “No Surrender” became much sought after pieces due to their controversial, and striking, images.
Robert Del Naja – Reflected Jet
Robert Del Naja – No Surrender
A few months later, POW capitalized on Mr. Del Naja’s popularity by releasing most of the prints from the previous series utilizing an icy blue as the base color. Despite the print run being increased to 50 per print, each one was once again an instant sellout.
Over the years the red prints, mostly due to their smaller print run, have shown solid gains for collectors while their blue counterparts have been a little less consistent. Of the blues, “4 Noble Truths” usually sells on eBay for less than its original price of £285.
Patience can often reward collectors as recently we found the blue version of “No Surrender” on eBay with a starting bid of £120.
Robert Del Naja – No Surrender
Given a choice between the red and blue version of “No Surrender”, we would take the red every time. The bold red background makes it far more striking and powerful than its blue counterpart. But with a starting price of less than half of the original price, we would definitely by the blue version and add it to our collection.
Originally a street artist from Bristol, 3D was tagging walls long before he founded Massive Attack and we expect him to continue to produce great art long after his music career ends. Buying this exceptionally well-produced print for any amount under the original price will prove to be a safe investment for years to come.
Massive Attack – Live With Me
Political art almost always increases in value. 21st century examples include Shepard Fairey’s prints that feature political icons Lenin, Nixon, and Mao. These prints have increased in value at a higher multiple than other prints released during the same year.
Lenin – Shepard Fairey – 1997
More recently, art played an important role in President Obama’s 2008 campaign. While anyone who leaves the house once a year would recognize Mr. Fairey’s “Hope” featuring President Obama’s thoughtful image, it really wasn’t the most interesting print to appear during the campaign.
Hope – Sam Flores – 2008
Sam Flores remained true to his style when designing his Obama print and Ron English’s “Abraham Obama” had to help win over some Republican voters. But David Choe’s take on “Hope” was the best piece created. And the price that it is currently selling for on eBay supports our opinion.
Hope -David Choe – 2008
But the coolest piece was created by Indigo California’s The Date Farmers.
Cambio – The Date Farmers – 2008
An edition of 200, The Date Farmers “Obama” print was the first piece aimed directly at the Latino community. Featuring a message of “change”, The Date Farmers stayed away from the “thoughtful” Obama image and instead portrayed the presidential candidate in a much grittier manner. The commonplace, serene image of our future president was replaced by one with a man who appeared ready to run the country with an iron fist.
O Lord My Mistakes – The Date Farmers – 2011
Like the rest of the images released by Upper Playground, The Date Farmers print originally sold for $200. But since then The Date Farmers have moved from FIFTY24SF Gallery, to a show at New York’s Jonathan Levine Gallery and are now calling the prestigious Ace Gallery in Los Angeles their home. Their works have escalated in price and should continue to do so as they produce bigger and bolder pieces.
In the past we’ve seen this print sell for between $400 – 500 so $695 seems fairly aggressive. But if you can get the seller to accept a price in the previously mentioned range, then you will be acquiring a good investment that will increase in value due to its historical context and cultural relevance. And the print will look great on your wall.
Descent To Heaven – The Date Farmers – 2010
Young and hip in San Francisco on a Wednesday night? Either you are getting wasted at your local bar or getting wasted in your living room with a stash you acquired in the Haight. But with the Noise Pop festival going on, Die Antwoord is having a one-night show at FIFTY24SF Gallery tonight.
South Africa’s Cool Edge – Die Antwoord
What will be on display? We’ve heard about vinyl sculpture and hand-detailed records but nothing specific. If their videos are any indication as to what it will be like, we think it will definitely be better than anything you can buy illegally in the Haight.
Die Antwood – I Fink U Freeky
And if that video doesn’t convince you that it will be an interesting night, here’s one more:
Masked executive being ridden “piggy back” by a rat? A rooster playing with an airplane? Welcome to the wonderful, and frightening, world of Italian artist Ericailcane.
man is the bastard – Erica il cane – $3,100
With his style representing an ode to Victorian children’s illustrations, Ericailcane creates images that often deliver an almost uncomfortable intersection between man and animals, with the latter usually ruling the roost.
Ericailcane had a sellout show in November 2010 at FIFTY24SF gallery in San Francisco but usually shows is works to fans in Europe, where he is usually busy creating grand-scale murals.
Ericailcane – Lisbona, Portugal
Last week Studiocromie listed several etchings and watercolors by Ericailcaine on their site. We really like the previously shown “man is the bastard” as its corporate reference of the man in the business suit. But “Boeing 747”, with the slightly more expensive $3,235 price tag, is equally interesting and provocative.
Ericailcane – Boeing 747 – $3235
The true gems amongst the items for sale are the simple watercolors on paper. Of these, we like “Rana” the best.
rana – Ericailcane – $2,190
Despite not having the fine detail of his etchings, “Rana” has the striking colors associated with his outdoor murals. And seeing a frog in a red cape and pointed shoes makes us smile for some reason. With its more modest price tag, we believe it is the best investment of all the pieces offered.
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If their is one criticism about the art being produced currently, it is the lack of intense emotional response after viewing it. But when it comes to the work of Guy Denning, the opposite may be true. And his latest exhibit at London’s Signal Gallery, “We Are All Prostitutes” with Frank E Rannou, Mr. Denning once again proves that he is a master at capturing the essence of human emotion in his subjects and his patrons.
Guy Denning – Like Someone Who Has Lost The Way – 2011
Dealing with controversial subjects is commonplace for Mr. Denning. Last year he honored the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with a show a few blocks away from the original tragedy. Hosted by Brooklynite Gallery, the show was an ambitious mix of paintings detailing the emotions of the day and the ones that followed.
Guy Denning – Occupy (Weather Report) – 2011
More recently, Mr. Denning has featured “a drawing a day” on his Facebook page and the Occupy demonstrations were featured regularly. Of the limited artwork we’ve viewed as the result of the Occupy movements, Mr. Denning’s passion for current events captured the essence and spirit of the protests while accurately featuring their message.
But his latest exhibition, “We Are All Prostitutes” with French painter Frank E Rannou, has Mr. Denning once again featuring women in his paintings and drawings but with a much more jagged edge shown in previous works.
Guy Denning – Aggression, Competition, Ambition – 2012
Focusing on the exploitation of women by society, Mr. Denning’s paintings and drawings feature women strikingly portrayed in their most vulnerable state. The canvases and drawings are layered with detail forcing viewers to stare at these captivating images.
Guy Denning – Our New Cathedrals – 2012
For those who don’t have a minimum of $1,300 to spend on a painting (Our New Cathedrals is currently selling for approximately $3,300), there are several amazing drawings for sale.
Guy Denning – study for Aggression, Competition, Ambition – 2012
Priced around $700 after conversion, Mr. Denning’s drawings are an excellent value and are always admired by his Facebook followers.
From a pure investment standpoint, the only thing holding back the value of Mr. Denning’s works is his productivity. Obtaining a piece by this self-trained artist isn’t difficult as he produces a voluminous amount of work each year.
And when you consider the amount of work that goes into each piece, one must wonder whether or not Mr. Denning has a difficult time sleeping at night.
As owners of several pieces by Mr. Denning, there is no question that we believe his works will improve in value over time. While they may not share the same exponential increase as the latest Banksy print, Mr. Denning’s work will offer an intensely personal experience for its owners and their friends. Eventually, Mr. Denning’s works will enjoy a similar value, and respect, as paintings by Francis Bacon and Michael Andrews. You can bank on it.
Normally the staff at Wall To Street will seldom recommend buying a print as an investment. With so many great artists selling works for under $1,000, it doesn’t seem necessary in our opinion to purchase one of an edition versus an individual work. But there are exceptions which catch our eye. Banksy prints definitely hold our interest along with the occasional Shepard Fairey and pieces by Nick Walker.
This week’s find is by the contemporary artist Antony Micallef. Represented by London’s ultra-trendy gallery Lazarides, Mr. Micallef’s amalgamations of pop culture that examine the dark underbelly of today’s society.
Antony Micallef – Minotaur Whore – 2010
Mr. Micallef’s work gained wide recognition when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie purchased some of his work. But to his defense, Mr. Micallef’s work has been shown in Los Angeles, Tokyo, and London to large audiences that embraced his deconstructions of brand worship and societal taboos.
But long before Mr. Micallef was being favored by the Hollywood elite, he was producing prints for Pictures On Walls (P.O.W.).
Antony Micallef – Friendly Fire – 2006
“Friendly Fire” made its debut in 2006 at P.O.W.’s “Santa’s Ghetto”. An edition of 250, it quickly sold out and was much sought after by fans of Banksy and Shepard Fairey. The hard-hitting image, which definitely polarized viewers, displayed Mr. Micallef’s artistic talents with his ability to remix current events with cultural references. Frequently we would see the piece selling for upwards of $2,500.
And that didn’t surprise us as Mr. Micallef’s future prints didn’t share the same precision, or immediate cultural relevance, as this wonderful print.
Antony Micallef – God I Want To Be Bad – 2007
As the “runaway train” effect on the print market has finally gotten back under control, we still see this particular piece as one that will grow in value as Mr. Micallef continues to increase in popularity. If you can secure the piece for $1,200, we would definitely consider it a great acquisition at a fantastic price.