To cross the threshold from emerging to established artist is a practice of partnership. In order to advance their career trajectories, the gambles taken by up-and-coming artists must also be met by the support of trusting patrons.
On the part of the latter, finding and encouraging new artists takes both an informed eye and sufficient trust in the artist’s ability to grow their potential into consistency. While this carries its fair share of risk, engaging in a budding artistic career is certainly not without its rewards. Here, Lisa Periquet and Trickie Lopa of Art Fair Philippines weigh in on the value of championing new artists, and the knowledge one must possess in order to do it well.
First off, do you believe it’s important to consciously support up-and-coming artists?
Trickie Lopa: I have never consciously set out to support up and coming artists simply because they were up and coming artists. What I’ve consciously done is to focus on the art I acquire to work from the year 2000 onwards, because I connect to art that is being made today, the art of my time. It perhaps becomes inevitable that this usually means that the pieces are from artists that are just starting out.
Lisa Periquet: Supporting emerging artists is a good way to familiarize oneself with the landscape of art-creating [that’s] going on. It also helps develop and hone one’s taste and appreciation for artistic styles.
How do you spot new talent and potential? What do you look for?
Periquet: I look for a connection with the work, something about it that attracts me. It’s mostly intuitive at first encounter–then I will probe deeper and probably assess the work within my own personal parameters of art. That may include originality of concept, how it references other contemporary artists or past art in history, how the artist uses the medium, and the like. I would then try to find out more about the artist’s background and art practice.
Lopa: Educating yourself in art involves pretty much the same tenets for any artist, new or old talent. Check out exhibits of galleries with regular programs, such as the galleries that exhibit in Art Fair Philippines. Try and speak to the artists and the gallerists; they are usually around during opening night and will be more than happy to explain their work. I find that the Ateneo Art Awards is a reputable barometer of what young artists are up to, and for recognizing significant work.
What advice do you have for new collectors who are looking to support young, up-and-coming artists?
Lopa: Arm yourself with knowledge that goes beyond the commercial aspects of art. Our local museum exhibits, particularly those of MCAD, the UP Vargas Museum, the Lopez Museum, and the Ateneo Art Gallery provide wonderful opportunities to view varied curated work.
Periquet: Places to look for young and upcoming artists might be group shows in galleries–especially those of recently graduated fine arts students or young artists whose names are unfamiliar–art events such as Art in the Park, or art collectives that are community-based.
Some collectors may tend to gravitate to the work of artists who are already established and familiar. Would you encourage them to support up-and-coming artists instead or additionally?
Periquet: There’s nothing wrong with a conservative approach to art collecting. Supporting emerging artists is always a risk, but tracking and engaging in their career path, especially if successful, can be rewarding.
An artist’s skills are of course expected to grow over the years. How can one spot promise and potential in the work of new artists who are clearly still discovering their craft?
Periquet: The potential could be in the sparks of an interesting concept, or great technique that one spots in an artist’s work. The real skill is in how the artist takes that spark and develops it over time beyond mere technique and shows consistency.
Interview by Arianna Lim
Illustration by Kim Tomacruz and Carl Graham