An Introduction to Color Theory

Color theory is the science and art of using color. Color is a powerful element in art when used effectively as it can invoke specific emotions; be sure to check out my blog on color psychology. For artists, painters, and designers, color theory provides guidance on the relationship between colors and the physiological impacts of certain color combinations. By understanding color theory, you will better understand the relationship between colors and how we perceive them.  Color theory is complex, but today’s blog will cover just the basics. 

The general principles of color theory have existed since the 15th century, evident in the writings of figures including Leone Battista Alberti and Leonardo da Vinci. It wasn’t until the start of the 17th century that Sir Isaac Newton developed the first color wheel, a powerful tool still used to this day. Altogether, the color wheel consists of 12 colors: three primary colors, three secondary colors, and six tertiary colors. 

Primary colors allow artists to mix virtually any color on the spectrum. These are the building blocks for all other colors and cannot be created by mixing any other pigments. The primary colors are blue, yellow, and red. Secondary colors are created when any two of the primary colors. They are equidistant from each other on the color wheel and are orange, green, and violet. Tertiary colors are formed when mixing a primary color with a secondary color. 

There are a few terms in color theory that you will encounter, including hue, value, and saturation. Hue refers to the “root” color, and is often used similarly to color. It generally refers to the dominant wavelength of color out of the twelve colors on the color wheel. For example, the hue of navy is blue, or for burgundy, its hue is red. Value refers to how light or dark a color is. A color can be lightened with the addition of white and darkened by adding black. However, different colors can have the same value! Saturation is a measure of a color’s intensity or purity. To reduce the saturation of a color,  add grey or the color that is opposite of your color on the wheel. Adding the opposite color essentially neutralizes the colors, thus making it less intense. 

The World’s Best Street Art

Today, many cities commission artists to decorate walls, utility boxes, and selective areas as part of their beautification program. However, there are still artists and gangs around the world leaving their mark on the walls of their neighborhoods. Either way, street art has gained world recognition.

 

Street art has gained popularity in its expressive and uncensored nature. It also allows free viewing for those who are less inclined to visit a museum. Art within the environment is more likely to be seen and appreciated. These are five cities around the world with the most expressive street art.

 

Los Angeles

 

The City of Los Angeles considers graffiti illegal. Bold text and gang tags divide neighborhoods. As a result, L.A. commissions local artists to paint over graffiti and decorate its massive murals with colorful street art. Downtown’s Art District welcomes Latino heritage art on walls under freeways and neighborhoods. Guided tours are available to tourists for a more intimate look at the art on the walls.

 

London

 

North London in Camden or the Leake Street Tunnel near Waterloo are two places where street art is prevalent in London. The street art scene is huge in the neighborhoods of Shoreditch and Hackney. They are London’s locales for spray-painted walls such as Michelin-starred restaurants. Visitors can take a tour of Shoreditch to see London’s best artists.

 

Mexico City

 

Mexico City is the home to the most poetic, political, and traditional street art. Its neighborhoods of Juárez, Roma, and Condesa are known for the giant vivid murals. History and Latino culture are captured on the walls of businesses. Tours guided by graffiti artists are the best way to see Mexican art.

 

Buenos Aires

 

Both international and local artists have left their creative mark on massive murals on the streets of Buenos Aires. Political, traditional, and light-hearted collages adorn various neighborhoods (barrios). The barrios of San Telmo and Colegiales Crespos depict historical urban movements. Guided tours are the best way to connect street art with each barrio.

 

Berlin

 

Berlin’s graffiti-covered walls date back to the Cold War. The hip Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg borough houses the remaining stretch of what was once the Berlin Wall. Today it is known as Berlin’s East Side Gallery where 3-D street art adorns the facades of business and buildings. Visiting this neighborhood is the best way to explore Berlin’s art

How to Collect Art That is Meaningful to You

man looking at art

 

While navigating the art collecting sphere can be a daunting and sometimes a burdensome process, it is important to not lose sight of the specific reasons you are collecting these pieces. The nature of art collecting is very much grounded in passion and it is therefore essential to keep in mind that in fact scouting pieces that you are drawn to, have a particular interest in, and which you are able to create a good sized collection are all vital signs to move forward.

 

Purchase what you like

A big part of art collecting can entail purchasing art that is on the rise or is deemed by critics to appreciate in value exponentially in the coming years. The best course of action is to invest in art that you have a connection to and genuinely like. Some companies or services specialize in a model that appraises art based on artist, genre, date range, content, materials, size, coloration, style, etc. Be sure to take a look at the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (aka the IRS appraisal) for more information.

 

Research first

The internet can definitely be too overwhelming when deciding what kind of art collection to start, so visiting art galleries, connecting with individuals who work at museums and exploring different art vis-a-vis is the best way to narrow this down. Speaking with professionals in person can help you become involved in a market that has a high-cost barrier to entry (which can be very intimidating to the first time art collector).

 

Putting in the time

Above everything else, remember that crafting a successful art collection is a lengthy process. If you want your collection to have a specific focus, it makes more sense to purchase one or two more valuable pieces per year–to pursue quality rather than quantity.

5 Essential Tips to Plan Your First Art Collection

5 Essential Tips to Plan Your First Art Collection

Art collecting is more than obtaining something valuable. It is about having a collection that others want to see. A good collection tells others about the art that they wouldn’t be able to determine simply by seeing the pieces alone. There are a few keys to planning your first collection.

Establish your tastes

The first step is to determine which pieces appeal to you. When you collect simply on what interests others it’s hard to make a statement with your collection. Forbes recommends touring galleries and other collections. Spend time at auctions and with other collectors before making a purchase. This will give you an opportunity to determine what interests you. Ultimately you are the one who will own the collection. It doesn’t matter if everyone shares your opinions. Your collection allows you to express your unique tastes.

Form a Cohesive Collection

Once you know what you like it’s important to know why you like it. According to ArtBusiness.com the best collections aren’t simply randomly selected pieces, but have something that ties them together. The collection then becomes a work of art in and of itself. When you know why you like a particular piece it makes it easier to select similar pieces. If you select simply based on the interests of others you may find that it is difficult to create your collection.

Create a Budget

Once you have an idea of what interests you it’s important to set a budget. How much are you planning to spend on your collection right now? How many pieces do you want to start with? These are important questions to consider and will help you determine your budget per piece as well. Art collecting can be an expensive hobby and if you spend your entire budget on one piece it may be a while before you are able to add to your collection. In addition to purchasing the piece itself you also need to consider the cost of insuring, obtaining, and displaying it.

Document Everything

Proper storage and documentation is an important key to planning your first collection. You will need to have a filing system in place to keep track of all of your purchases before you start. This paper trail is the key to establishing the authenticity of the pieces you purchase. Careful documentation preserves the value of your collection and is important not only for your own interests, but for insurance purposes as well.

Pick Your First Piece

The first piece in your collection is the building block upon which you will select your other pieces. It is essentially the first step in starting your collection. By this point you should already have a well-defined idea of what your particular tastes are. This piece should fit with the theme that you have determined for your collection. It is okay to spend more on this piece than the others as long as you don’t go over budget and are still able to purchase the remaining pieces for your collection.

15 Essential Terms to Know When Art Auctioning

15 Essential Terms to Know When Art Auctioning

Auctioning can sometimes resemble a sporting match in terms of competitiveness and intensity. Understanding the most basic principles of art auctioning will allow any individual to excel once provided with the opportunity to bid on artwork. Here are 15 terms to keep in mind as you participate in this process. 

Appraisal- The market value assigned to an item by the house specialists.

As is- The item is sold in its current condition, with imperfections and faults at the time of auction.

Auctioneer- The conductor of the auction, usually a trained professional, can be a man or woman. They are usually known for their ability to fetch outstanding prices for items, even in the stingiest of crowds. Auctioneer’s use many different styles that are catered to specific demographics.

Bid- The amount a prospective buyer signals he/she would like to pay for the item currently being auctioned.

Bought In- Art that fails to sell and gets returned to the consignor.

Buyer’s Premium- The fee that the auction house adds to the hammer price of an item, usually a percentage from 10-20%.

Conditions Report- Description of the item up for auction, usually prepared by a specialist.

Consignor- The party responsible for putting the piece up for auction. Can stem from the three D’s known as Divorce, Death and or Debt.

Exhibition History- A complete history of all exhibitions in which an item as appeared. Exhibit history may affect the value of the item.

Hammer Price- The final and winning bid, gets its name from the gavel when it comes down upon completion of an auction.

Increment- The amount by which the next bid must surpass the previous bid.

Protecting a Market- When a dealer places a bid on behalf of an artist to assure that the market value of an artist does not fall. Major artists usually expect this type of financial protection from dealers.

Reserve- The minimum price that a consignor will allow the item to be sold for. If the reserve is not met then the work will be bought in.

Sell Through Rate- The percentage compiled to assess how the auction performed. Rates below 75% are considered to be underperforming.

White Glove Sale-  An auction in with a 100% sell through rate. A party usually ensues after.

Even with basic knowledge of these terms, any beginner can approach a sale at the auction house with confidence and ease.