Because art is the only investment you can hang on your wall, or place on your bookshelf…


eBay Find Of The Week – Antony Micallef

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

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

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

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.


eBay Find Of The Week – Chris Johanson

Mission School artists including Barry McGee and Margaret Kilgallen are extremely collectible right now. But unfortunately their works are only affordable to fairly serious art collectors. Chris Johanson, who is also associated with the Mission School, is quickly joining their ranks.

Chris Johanson Peace Be With You

Chris Johanson – Peace Be With You – 2004

Five or six years ago, a basic drawing by Mr. Johanson could be had for around $1,000. No longer can you find such a deal. Part of the reason is that Mr. Johanson is now doing larger installations that feature materials he has found or have been donated to him. Small, affordable pieces aren’t a part of his shows. 

And since Mr. Johanson has not shown at a gallery since 2009, collectors are forced to buy older pieces. And that drives up the price of his work.

We’ve seen a piece on eBay for a while that is being sold by Kantor Gallery in Los Angeles.

Chris Johanson I'm Happy Because

Chris Johanson – I’m Happy Because… – 2000

Is “I’m Happy Because” worth the $3,500 asking price? Not right now. If you could buy it for $1,500, we would highly recommend purchasing it. Even at $2,000 it would be a solid investment for someone willing to hold onto it for a few years.

But the Chris Johanson piece we really like on eBay is a much stronger work.

Chris Johanson I Quit Not Caring Again

Chris Johanson – I Quit Not Caring Again – 2010

Drawn in a style that resembles his earlier works, “I Quit Not Caring Again” is far more interesting than the one for sale by Kantor Gallery. The theme of people as “columns” has been used in Mr. Johanson’s earlier works but how differently the people are portrayed within the drawing makes this a unique piece.

Chris Johanson Columns

Chris Johanson – Columns – 2004

Originally we saw this work listed for $3,500. Since then the seller has dropped the price to $2,500. Prospective buyers also have the opportunity to “make an offer” on the drawing. If you can get this one for $2,000, it’s a steal even though you are buying it from a private party.

As Mission School artists become more collectible, we believe Mr. Johanson’s works will rise in value accordingly. A rising tide raises all ships and this drawing will improve in value.

Of Bats And Bird Houses – Twixt sc. 83 at FIFTY24SF

Do you know the difference between a bat and a bird house? Neither did we until we visited FIFTY24SF gallery’s latest exhibit “Twixt sc. 83”.

Scheduled to run a month after the opening on January 13, the show is a meticulously recreated scene from Francis Ford Coppola’s upcoming homage to American gothic, “Twixt” starring Val Kilmer. Twixt’s art department, consisting of Jimmy DiMarcellis, David Hopp, and John Paul Goorjian, have completely outdone themselves by installing moving clock gears and faux brick walls. But the scene stealers of this exhibit are the bat and bird houses created by Nice, California resident John Hathaway

As the owner of “The Woodpecker” shop, the retired Mr. Hathaway creates bat and bird houses from materials he collects during his daily travels. The inherent folksy nature of the pieces immediately render each piece unique. And yet despite the assembly random materials, Mr. Hathaway’s houses are superbly constructed and will last a very long time.

Ranging in price from $20 to $150, we bought two bird houses from the exhibit. How could we not, especially when we saw Val Kilmer making the rounds Friday night.

Val Kilmer

Val Kilmer at FIFTY24SF Gallery in San Francisco – Copyright Wall To Street

While we don’t believe these will be the most valuable pieces in our art collection, they will rank among the favorites. But if Mr. Coppola scores a hit with Twixt (the jury is out on this one as Mr. Coppola has not had a box office blockbuster in quite some time), Mr. Hathaway’s bat and birdhouses might enjoy a nice bump in value.

The trailer for Twixt features some of Mr. Hathaway’s work.

And in case you are wondering about the difference, bat houses are build so that they can fly into the house from the bottom. They are also partitioned on the inside to give the temporary residence an enclosed feeling.

Sage Vaughn Begins New Year With “Last Year” Show

Less than two months since his successful “Runaways” show at San Francsico’s FIFTY24SF, Sage Vaughn is bringing is his latest show, “Last Year” to Known Gallery in Los Angeles. 

Sage Vaughn Self Portrait

Self Portrait – Sage Vaughn ($1,000)

The show, opening January 13, features works from his popular ENVELOPE SERIES. For those who aren’t familiar with the series, Mr. Vaughn often paints on manilla envelopes while he is working on larger pieces. 

Mr. Vaughn’s large paintings have sold for $40,000, or more, in galleries like Lazerides. But the ENVELOPE SERIES, which sells for $1,000 each, is a far more affordable way for young art aficionados to add an original work by Mr. Vaughn to their collection. 

Sage Vaughn I'm Really Tonight

I’m Really Tonight – Sage Vaughn ($1,000)

Of the works available, we admire “I’m Really Tonight” as Mr. Vaughn shows his wry sense of humor. “Buildings”, another strong piece, is loosly influenced by Piet Mondrian and yet Mr. Vaughn stays away from the simplicity of the former’s neo-plasticism movement. 

Sage Vaughn Buildings

Buildings – Sage Vaughn ($1,000)

But if we were going to buy one from the ENVELOPE SERIES, it would be “Hummer”. Featuring a stylishly painted humming bird, the piece reminds us of the poignant birds from the Runaways show. If it remains unsold after the opening night, we will be shocked. 

Sage Vaughn Hummer

Hummer – Sage Vaughn ($1,000)

More mature collectors will gravitate to the unadvertised canvas, “LADS”. Priced at $10,000, many will see the piece as a bargain compared to Mr. Vaughn’s works that have sold in Europe. The muted background of Los Angeles perfectly accentuates the blue birds perched on barbed wire on the foreground. Mr. Vaughn’s large canvases may not appreciate as quickly as the latest Banksy or other popular artists, but we believe they will appreciate significantly in the future as most people will refuse to remove them from their walls. 

Vaughn LADS

LADS – Sage Vaughn ($10,000)

* In the interest of full disclosure, we did purchase one of Mr. Vaughn’s canvases at the Runaways show. And we plan on keeping it for a very long time. 

Sage Vaughn FIFTY24

 The painting Wall To Street purchased (don’t worry, we’ll publish better pictures of it in the future). 

Escif Keeps Busy In The New Year

Escif's State Bussiness

State Bussiness – Escif 2012

Some street artists create murals to improve their gallery brand. Others do it to make political or cultural statements. And as we appreciate Escif’s latest work, we believe the Spainard is firmly in the latter camp. 

“State Bussiness”, which Escif offers credit to his friends Hyuro and Jazz on his Flickr feed, once again takes a powerful shot against the results of corporate greed. It’s work like this one which we believe will ultimately increase the value of his works in gallery shows due to its poignancy and accessibility.

While having shown at Pictures On Walls and FIFTY24SF, Escif still doesn’t seem to be focused on gallery shows. This approach probably works for many of his fans but some his stronger images some times don’t make it to walls, like the one we purchased below. 

Escif Untitled 2011

Untitled – Escif 2011

And in case you missed yesterday’s brilliant, and often used images of automobiles, here is “Feng Shui”. Enjoy.

Escif Feng Shui

Feng Shui – Escif 2012

eBay Find Of The Week – Thomas Campbell Skateboard Decks

eBay can be pretty shady when it comes to buying original art. For every person who actually purchases an original Chris Johanson, ten more are burned buying fake works “attributed” to Basquiat and Picasso. But if you know what you are doing, and are not overcome by greed (let’s face it, if the Picasso was real, Sothebys would be selling it, not eBay), you can find some good deals on eBay. We have, and we’ll continue to shop cautiously on the site. 

The find for this week is a pair of skateboard decks, by artist, filmmaker, and surfer Thomas Campbell.

Thomas Campbell Skateboard decks

Associated with the artists who were involved with San Francisco’s Mission School, Mr. Campbell’s stock rose with his association with the “Beautiful Losers” exhibit in 2004. 

Now, Mr. Campbell is showing in respectable galleries like V1 Gallery and is commanding mature prices for his paintings and sculptures. So being able to buy not one, but two, of his works for $400 is a pretty good deal. 

Yes, each one is from an edition of 500, but they are hand-crafted decks that eschew the traditional skateboard shape. And despite being from editions of 500, we believe in a year or two they will double in value as Mr. Campbell continues to grow as an artist. Don’t sleep on this auction.

thomas campbell skateboard decks

* In the interest of full disclosure, we do own an original work by Mr. Campbell. And yes, we did purchase it on eBay. 

An Unseasonal, Yet Completely Satisfying, Thanksgiving At V1 Gallery

If you ever needed a reason to move to Denmark, the ability to regularly visit Copenhagen’s V1 Gallery would definitely suffice. Their upcoming event, “Thanksgiving”, featuring Jamison Brosseau and Eddie Martinez is just another reminder of the great shows they produce. 

Delivering seven paintings that feature brightly colored shapes that cannot be defined as purely geometrical or abstract, Jamison Brosseau’s acrylics on panel deliver a certain sense of complexity in a non-threatening manner. But the works will definitely evolve in the mind of the viewer the longer one spends gazing at them. 

Initially, “Fancy Stephanie” ($2,700) was our favorite with its easily identifiable features and yet still gave us plenty to think about. 

art, fancy Stephanie, Jamison Brosseau

“Fancy Stephanie” – Jamison Brosseau

But “Dr. Chicago” ($2,700) and “Dr. Chicago Returns” ($2,700) truly are the standouts that should be purchased as a pair. These paintings work well together as the former delivers shapes that appear abstract while only to have them more defined in the latter. And yet again there is enough mystery between the two pieces to leave the viewer wondering about the journey, or transformation, that has taken place. 

Jamison Brosseau, art

“Dr. Chicago” – Jamison Brosseau

Jamison Brosseau, Dr. Chicago Returns

“Dr. Chicago Returns” – Jamison Brosseau

While Mr. Brosseau’s works are good, he is fortunate to be paired with seven drawings from the increasingly popular Eddie Martinez. 

Born in Connecticut and now a resident of Brooklyn, NY, Mr. Martinez seems to be moving away from his neo-expressionism style that reminded of us David Hockney and de Kooning to a more primitive, abstract version of Basquiat. And the results are even more striking. 

Of the seven drawings, “Blue Heaven” ($2,000) immediately catches our eye. Whether city-based Mr. Martinez is trying to show us his version of heaven on earth or an amobarbital-influenced world, the mixture of flowers and abstract heads is arresting and leads the viewer down whatever path they may choose. 

Jamison Brosseau, Blue Heaven

“Blue Heaven” – Eddie Martinez

And if that isn’t enough to entice potential buyers, the even more abstract “The Great Eye” ($2,000) will definitely not last longer through the opening night on January 13. Aside from the striking red background, Mr. Martinez employs an almost minimalist use of color to create this strong piece. If we were going to buy a piece from this show, this would be it. 

Eddie Martinez, The Great Eye

“The Great Eye” – Eddie Martinez

And for those whose wallets can afford a more significant work, V1 Gallery has three oil paintings for more mature spenders. Of the three, the least expensive “New York Heretic” ($25,000) is definitely the best investment. As former New York residents, it has the grit and edginess of New York before former Mayor Rudolph Guiliani turned Times Square into Disneyland. It is brilliant and worth every penny. 

Eddie Martinez - New York Heretic

“New York Heretic” – Eddie Martinez

* All images provided by V1 Gallery