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
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 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.
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.
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.
* In the interest of full disclosure, we do own an original work by Mr. Campbell. And yes, we did purchase it on eBay.
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.
“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.
“Dr. Chicago” – Jamison Brosseau
“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.
“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.
“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.
“New York Heretic” – Eddie Martinez
* All images provided by V1 Gallery
Sometimes understated murals speak volumes, other times they say absolutely nothing. And even though the piece definitely stands out from its vibrant neighbors in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury neighborhood, we’re going to go with the latter on this one. It’s a good try, but next time give us something to listen to.
Wall To Street will cover the world of art from an investment perspective. The staff, and contributors, of Wall To Street are of the belief that if you pay more than $400 for a piece of art, it should have the potential to appreciate in value.
As buyers and sellers of art for many years, this blog will feature artists and pieces that we believe are a solid investment. And if we own work by an artist we are discussing, don’t worry, we’ll be sure to let you know. We like sharing our discoveries and insights and that’s why we are developing this blog. Even the SEC will appreciate our attention to full disclosure.
Street art is our passion but if the art is good and reasonably priced, we’ll feature it. And every once in a while we may challenge the traditional definition of art. That’s when you really should pay attention.
This blog will evolve over time. If you have any suggestions or comments, please contact us. If you have any criticisms, please carefully illustrate them (the more time you spend on the illustration, the more respect we will have for your opinions) and then send it via USPS.
Finally, if the idea of investing in art sickens you, please read our other blog that will be launching in the future: streettowall.com. This blog will seek to feature new artists that will look great on your walls (or bookshelves) without sacrificing your financial well-being.