The Fine Art Gallery located in located in the heart of Swakopmund on the first floor above Swakopmund Optics is celebrating their 10th anniversary.
The Windhoek Observer’s Entertainment reporter, Rinelda Mouton (RM), spoke to Tina von Wenzel (TW) at the gallery who recalls some of the galleys special moments, he also spoke about the current state of the art industry and about the galleries future plans.
The gallery was established in 2007 and is dedicated to the promotion of Namibian and South African art. The gallery aims is to introduce collectors around the world to emerging African artists whose works show strong potential to increase in value.
RM: What is your view about the current state of the local fine art industry?
TW: As significant appreciation emerges in some corners of the art market, we see growing interest from clients about incorporating art into their investment portfolios. Fine Art Gallery combines art and finance. The gallery uses quantitative research to help investors build a diversified art portfolio.
RM: What are some of the challenges that you have experienced over the years?
TW: People don’t like making appointments first. They must contact the gallery first to make an appointment. Although it seems that running a gallery is an easy job, people must understand that gallerists are busy with correspondence. When artists make an appointment beforehand they can expect the whole attention of the gallerist and are not treated like an in-between. Also, once an artist is granted an exhibition, they must stay in contact with the gallery. Keep them informed about the progress of new artworks.
RM: What concerns do you have with artists who showcase their work at your gallery?
TW: They must obey the rules of the gallery regarding delivery of images for advertising and delivery of artworks to prepare the exhibition. An exhibition is not put up in a day. Prepare a decent list of your works with titles, medium, sizes and prices.
RM: What have you noticed about artists over the years?
TW: Some artists stick to the same messages in their exhibitions. It is such a pity that this happening. Although Namibia has this enormous wildlife potential we only have, one wildlife artist. Wildlife artists have a genre of their own. They know exactly the anatomy, habitat and environment of their subjects. Viewers notice the difference.
RM: How has the economic crisis effected your business?
TW: Not that much. The Fine Art Gallery has a strong international market and local buyers currently invest in art to secure their finances, but the focus lies on Investment Art – Rational art investment strategies aimed at achieving returns should therefore be focused on less pricey emerging and mid-career artist segments. As the artist becomes more successful, so will the value of his or her works and, therefore, your investment.
RM: Over the past ten years, would you say the creativity of artists has improved?
TW: Sometimes artists stagnate. Certainly, there are exceptions like Chris Snyman, Namibia’s most emerging artist who already plays a significant role on the international art market (80 % of his artworks are shipped to oversee clients), but in general yes – creativity has improved. Most of the Namibian artists don’t have the financial resources to even visit the neighbouring countries to see other contemporary art works and study other techniques. This is important to find new inspiration and challenges.