#24 Collecting Art? Where Do You Start?

Last weekend, I had a chance to go see Art Toronto, an International Art Fair 2012 at the Metro Convention Centre. Because of the rain, there were more people than I expected. In fact, it was a nice way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon browsing contemporary arts from all over the world.

Art Toronto, 2012

The main purpose of Art Toronto is to attract buyers in the city. I wondered how well it is fulfilling its goal since Canadians are relatively new with purchasing and collecting art. I asked some gallery representatives at the event how different it is to exhibit a booth at these art fairs targeted for buyers around the world. I received a lot of similar responses. The exhibitors were thinking of Canada as a new buyers, and because they are just starting to collect art, we are more. Canadian buyers are different from those of America or Europe. The type of works these buyers want also vary.  
Example of contemporary medium expressing contemporary subject matter

So, what kind of works catch these young collectors' attention? Canadians are fairly new with collecting works of art, but even more so when it comes to contemporary art. There were some beautiful works that I would like to personally keep for my own house. On the other hand, some works made me question "who would want to have it in their house?" So, my question is, how does one piece get sold whereas the other one doesn't? Also, what was the gallery's intention of putting a piece that has a greater potential of not getting sold?
Example of the use of contemporary medium with traditional subject matter

For instance, take a look at this piece. It is a picture of Buddha. Take another look at it. What is the material used? You won't notice until you go up close and personal. The piece is made entirely with stickers.

I realized that there are three types of works at Art Toronto. Completely traditional works of art - that use traditional medium, and depicting traditional subject matter. There are semi-traditional or semi-contemporary art, which use traditional medium to depict contemporary subject matter, or use contemporary medium to depict traditional subject matter. Lastly, there are completely contemporary works of art, which incorporate contemporary medium to represent a contemporary subject.

Camal Pirbhai, Virtual Textilolgy, 2012

Most of works by Camal falls in the middle. His pieces are contemporary, but he uses both contemporary medium and traditional medium. I noticed that his works are becoming more and more contemporary. A lot of his works in the past involved a degree of traditional element in them, as you can see in White Light collection or Fool Me Once collection. It seems like Camal keeps challenging himself to draw away from traditional to what is more cotemporary. For instace, if you look at Virtual Textilology, you can observe Camal being totally comfortable away from traditional features.

Example of contemporary subject matter expressed through traditional medium

As Canadians are new at buying and collecting art, I feel that we are more comfortable of viewing and purchasing the traditional works rather than contemporary works. However, I'm not saying that no Canadian won't purchase contemporary art. I just think, in my opinion, that people tends to collect a work of art that they are aware of, and comfortable of, such as traditional paintings. As people become more friendly with contemporary art, I know that it will be more popular in the near future. 

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