I am often asked by would-be collectors about the difference between Emerging Artists, Mid-career Artists and Established Artist, and, mostly - with a spark of greed lights up in my interlocutor's eyes - what it is convenient to buy.
Dutiful premise, I am not a speculator, but a lover: I poetically insist that in life one must feel with the heart before passing the information to the brain, however...there is a clear distinction between a person who loves art, understanding its language and a person who wants to gain financial benefits out of it, therefore, dispassionately, I answer what follows:
An emerging artist is someone who’s in the early stage of their career, someone who’s caught the eye of an art critic and/or gallery, but hasn’t yet established a solid reputation as an artist amongst art critics, art buyers, and art galleries and, independently from their chronological age, who has created a modest independent body of work;
The Mid-Career Artist is an artist who has created an independent body of work over a number of years and who has received regional or national recognition through publication or public presentation of his or her work. A Mid-Career Artist has had a significant number of solo exhibitions at significant galleries and museums, located nationally or internationally;
An artist who is at a mature stage in his or her career and who has created an extensive body of independent work. An established artist has reached an advanced level of achievement by sustaining a nationally or internationally recognized contribution to the discipline, and their work’s value has been decided through consistent years of sales, and confirmed at auction.
Please, refer to this link to read my source (http://www.bmoreart.com/2009/07/differences-between-emerging-mid-career.html)
Then they ask me what to buy, and the subject gets delicate because unfortunately art is subject to too many variables that can establish its price; for the artists of the first two categories, we can’t count on fixed variables: it can be subjected to market dynamics established for the most part by gallery owners who, through more or less reasonable means, make the an artist’s quotation fluctuate. (And yet the art market has refocused his goals toward short-lived commercial success rather than a career.); on the media exposition of the artists, or on their CV or exhibitions, on the material of the artwork...
For the third category, whose audience are wealthy people, there are more conventional prices, set by various factors, as international acclaim and appreciation for individual contribution to the art backed up by a line of solo and group exhibitions in significant institutions and an impressive body of work.
One of the first painting by Raffaello Sanzio, at the age of 15, Madonna Col Bambino, (1498), Casa Santi, Urbino
My entourage does not normally target this category, so my answer is irremediably that an art lover (but if your eyes shine at the idea of concluding a deal, can I ever remain romantic, by hoping that you are a lover?) should trust his taste, instinct, the existing corpus of his collection, or have a clear idea of what he would like to create; people have to stay aware of their own collection or a collection they wish to build, and imagine how a particular piece would fit in it. Envisage the potential of your art becoming influential in the future while you curate it. This way, you will not make a mistake, even if one of your emerging artist discoveries doesn’t become exceedingly famous.
Heart, taste and brain.
But yet, when seeking an artwork worth your money, finding the person whose work is fresh and unique, standing out from the trends or pleasantries is crucial. Dedicated artists who take risks and welcome challenges, whose visual language shows a continuous development, who do not stagnate, who are serious about art as their livelihood, who have certain evidence of academic or professional accomplishment (even from the art school period), and who may be well-received by a small number of art professionals are usually the best ones to invest in.
A keen eye, true passion, and courage in art buying can pay off, especially if combined with constant circulations through local (or better, international) art world.
Not to mention internet, this unquenchable source of information, which constantly proposes un new about the (art)world: there are legitimate websites to enter in communication with the art market - I just mention the most popular, but there are a countless number: artsy.net and artprice.com -, there are all kind of representations, galleries, live auctions online, e-commerce...and if you are not a cyber person, today there are more public galleries, pop ups and exhibitions than ever before - you can now immerse yourself in art freely with a lot of galleries charging no or minimal entrance fees; maybe also because of the worldwide economic crisis, people is (re-)discovering art’s healing powers for the spirit, and they are more dedicated to it, making it accessible and legitimate to each of us that wants to encounter it.