Portrait of gallerist Manny Neubacher, and fashion stylist Anya Shor. Illustration accompanies Sara Angel's article
EYE WEEKLY - 11 / 04 / 2010

The Art Stylists: Helping You Get Art Bang On Any Budget

Starting an art collection isn’t out of your league. In fact, it might be the wise thing to do with the money you’ve got.

Not long ago, gallerist Manny Neubacher, 39, and fashion stylist Anya Shor, 35, discovered a complete disconnect between their generation and its ability to buy art. “I was told repeatedly that people feel intimidated by galleries and daunted by where to start,” explains Neubacher. The husband-wife team decided to join forces in 2009 and founded The Art Stylists, a consultancy service dedicated to bringing unknown, young Canadian contemporary artists to the broadest possible audience. Today the couple’s services are in high demand. Their specialty: helping clients build terrific collections on a tight budget. Last week, Neubacher and Shor gave a special lecture at the Toronto International Art Fair titled, “Buy Early, Buy Young.” EYE WEEKLY met with them beforehand, and, in an exclusive interview, they revealed their top choices for artists to invest in now.

  • Start at art-school graduate exhibitions, Toronto’s Open Studio (Canada’s leading printmaking centre) and the Queen West art crawl; these places offer a broad range of prices so you can find a piece within your budget.
  • Join gallery lists, so you will be invited to openings.
  • Read publications like Canadian Art and websites like www.akimbo.ca; they’ll keep you up to date and confident about your choices.
  • Know how much you’re willing to spend; it helps keep you focused.
  • View as much artwork as your time permits (at galleries, art school exhibitions and art fairs).
  • Enquire about other options; if you like an artist’s work but it’s out of your price range, see if there are smaller works that you can afford.
  • Don’t assume that the bigger the piece is, the better the investment.
  • Trust your instinct. Choose something you want to live with and you won’t go wrong.

5 Artists to Invest In Now

Adrian Williams, Untitled. Assemblage. Illustration accompanies Sara Angel's article
Adrian Williams, untitled

“His work is original, remarkable, with a sincere sense of romance that never crosses the line into cheese,” says Neubacher. “As one of the founding members of the casino much-celebrated Winnipeg-based Royal Art Lodge, it’s amazing that you can still get one of Williams’ page-sized works for so little, when similar pieces by his best-known colleague, Marcel Dzama, will run you $15,000. We think he is a sure thing!”

Paul Butler, What's Within, Collage mixed media, 2011. Illustration accompanies Sara Angel's article
Paul Butler, what’s within

“Highly respected amongst his peers, and considered one of the best collage artists around, Butler has earned serious attention for his organization of international collage parties, which have drawn celebrity attention, including the participation of musician Beck,” says Shor.

Alex McLeod Kingdom Disaster, 2010 Chromogenic print Photography 24 x 36 in. 8/10 Illustration accompanies Sara Angel's article
Alex McLeod, Kingdom Disaster

“McLeod’s last show of magical-looking digital landscapes sold out in record time. As of October 28, an edition of brilliant pieces, specially commissioned for the Toronto International Art Fair to raise funds for the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art will be available for $850 each — an incredible buy since most of McLeod’s work starts at $3,000,” says Shor.

Nicholas Aoki, Stephen Appleby-Barr, Christopher Buchan, and Lauchie Reid as Team Macho, Caution Bats, collage. Illustration accompanies Sara Angel's article
Team Macho, Caution Bats

Says Neubacher: “Every work by Team Macho is the collective effort of five artists (Lauchie Reid, Chris Buchan, Nicholas Aoki, Jacob Whibley, and Stephen Appleby-Barr) who we love for their painstakingly crafted works, each piece a kitsch-classic mix.” Now’s the time to buy TM, when some works can be had for as little as $600. “Appleby-Barr has already been snatched up by power-dealer Nicholas Metivier, who has sent prices for his individual works soaring above $4,000,” he says.

Kristine Moran, Sunbathers, 2010, oil on canvas
Kristine Moran, Sunbathers

“Her prices have doubled in a few years and we believe that it is just the beginning,” says Shor. “Moran has created a buzz since graduating from OCAD and it hasn’t let up. Now showing with Clarke and Faria Gallery (alongside established art titans like Scott McFarland and Douglas Coupland), Moran’s future looks very healthy.”