5 Essential Tips for Collecting Street Art
Street cred has long been the most important form of currency for graffiti and street artists, but actual currency has become a close second. Big-name artists who fall into the sometimes-blurry category of “urban art”—including
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
In an effort to stem the spread of fakes, some artists have created dedicated authenticating bodies—like Banksy’s Pest Control and
’s Squarity. Others have risen to prominence through more conventional channels, and have major gallery representation to help mitigate the spread of fakes—like the Brazilian twins
, who show with Lehmann Maupin, or the French photo-muralist JR, who shows with Perrotin. In many respects, so long as collectors are sticking to reputable marketplaces, it’s just a matter of doing their due diligence.
The short answer, except when historic artists like
are concerned, is no.
Just last month, street artist
bought a Banksy mural that had originally been painted on the exterior of a store in London to protest this practice; a previous attempt to sell it ignited controversy for another auctioneer. English said he plans to whitewash his newly acquired Banksy mural in protest of street art’s commodification.
She highlights canonical graffiti artists like
, artists who are highly regarded by their peers but comparatively under-represented in the market. That may be about to change in the case of Rammellzee, an innovative hip-hop artist and wildstyle graffiti writer whose work was heavily influenced by science-fiction, and became increasingly elaborate and fantastical up until his death in 2010. A recent survey of his work at New York’s Red Bull Arts New York has helped pique renewed interest in his work.
“There’s been a lot of talk about Rammellzee over the past year and a half,” Towers-Perkins says. “He was absolutely a pioneer of street art, he collaborated with
and collaborated with Haring, and really broke the mold in so many different ways. Those pieces are only coming onto the market now, and, compared to KAWS and Banksy, are very affordable. It’s a great collecting opportunity.”
Rammellzee was absolutely unique in many ways, but he isn’t the only urban artist of an earlier generation who’s primed for a market revival. Worrall points to a recent string of sales of works by
, an artist whose splashy, explosive silhouettes were ubiquitous on the streets of Lower Manhattan in the 1980s, and who died last year.
Early pioneers like Rammellzee and Hambleton may be poised for big things. Meanwhile, figures like Invader, JR, Fairey, OSGEMEOS,
continue to have a steady stream of shows and works coming onto the secondary market, while frequent collaborations with brands and affordable editions mean there are works available at many price points, from the low hundreds to six-figure sums and above.
13'th December 2018