Talking Art Collecting with Narcissus Arts

By The Auction Collective

Published 1st Feb 2018

The Auction Collective are excited to be partnering up with Narcissus Arts by putting together Far From the Madding Crowd – the auction and exhibition of landscape art being sold on 15 February. Nacrissus Arts is an art consultancy that focusses on advising clients on buying artworks that are under £10,000.  Ahead of the auction, we caught up with its founder, Nick Campbell, to talk about the forthcoming collaboration.

Nick, your expertise has been featured in numerous publications including the New York Times and Vanity fair. You’ve even been awarded ‘Best Art Consultant of the year’ by Spears Magazine. But, as an ‘Art Consultant’, what do you do?

Essentially, I wade through the noise of the art world and find the best artworks for my clients. Most of my clients have a desire to buy decent art but are often restricted by time, knowledge of where to look, or merely the enormity of the art world. It is my job to help them refine their focus, save them time by searching on their behalf, find them the perfect artwork for their budget and taste, while hopefully making the whole experience enjoyable and rewarding. 

At The Auction Collective, we are so excited for our joint venture with Narcissus Arts on Far From the Madding Crowd and to launch this new auction model. What was it that got you excited about the partnership?

Ultimately, I think it’s because TAC’s core values are in line with ours at Narcissus Arts; we want to highlight and promote great, affordable artists that wouldn't usually have such exposure, and also break down the conventional art world barriers that tend to put off new buyers.  

A lot of bidders at The Auction Collective are new to buying art. What advice would you give them when making their first purchase?

Rule 101 buy what you love and are happy to live with, not what you think might make you money. 

Would you say buying art is a good investment? If so, what should buyers look for?

I think it’s important to realise that, on the whole, buying art will not be a good investment. That being said, there are occasionally good opportunities that have the potential to turn into a good investment. Ideally, look for something with aesthetic appeal. Will it appeal to you/a future market? You also want to find an artist who has an impressive history and exciting future, i.e. what art schools have they been to? What shows have the had both nationally and internationally? Have they won any awards? What shows do they have planned for the future? Lastly, and arguably most importantly, originality. Try and find a work or artist that is telling a new story, or using an original technique or medium - They are hard to come by, but good investments are out there. 

If someone was looking to start their own art collection, what advice would you give them?  

Don’t be hasty. See as much as possible. Go to as many shows, auctions and art fairs as possible so you can adequately understand what it is you like the most. Once you have found an artist or movement, do as much research as possible before buying. You might like the work you saw at a fair, but actually, you might prefer their work from three years before. Ultimately buy what you love. 

I would also encourage people to try and have a continuous theme through their collection i.e. black and white Americana photography, or prints from YBA’s. It will give it a proper structure and will refine their focus. 

Do you collect art yourself? And if so, what is your favourite artwork in your collection?

I collect as much as I can. My favourite purchase right now is my latest acquisition, a lovely photograph by Gregory Crewdson, that was released in time of his latest show at The Photographs Gallery last year. 

What was the last artwork you bought, either for a client or on your own, and what attracted you to it?  

The most recent acquisition for a client was in Singapore last week; it was a beautiful Tapestry by Alexander Calder. Calder is obviously most known for his iconic mobile’s, and then his drawings, but an area that I think gets somewhat overlooked are his tapestry’s. They are big, beautiful, fun and excellently executed, and as they are generally from an edition, are exceptionally well priced in comparison. 

And finally, what is your favourite Instagram account to follow? 

Would have to be @thecollectorslist for inspiration.