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Why Invest in Street Art?

07/01/2021

In recent years, the market for street art has flourished amidst a growing interest in the genre, from both critics and collectors alike. Leading auction houses are increasingly including street artists in their prominent contemporary art sales, whilst entire art fairs dedicated to the genre, such as Moniker Art Fair, are prospering internationally.

At Whitewall Galleries, we proudly represent a diverse collection of street artists, from artists with an established market to exciting emerging talents. Below we elaborate on several reasons why street art is one of the strongest markets to invest in this year:

1. The market for street art is young….
Street art is still very much an emerging market. Unlike more established genres, such as Impressionism or Surrealism, which have decades of financial performance to draw upon and numerous firmly established artists, street art is still increasing in popularity. Consequently, the market is in relative infancy with a lot of room for growth.

Mainstream investors are only just beginning to fully cotton onto the financial potential of street art and artist’s prices are rising accordingly. Banksy first released his Girl with Balloon print in 2004-5, selling them at £150. In September 2020, an artist’s proof of the same print sold for £791,250 at Christie’s.

2. There is a huge variety of artists and styles….
Street art is by its very nature democratic; a form of artistic expression communicated through the urban environment. Consequently, there is a huge diversity in the subjects, imagery and aesthetic within the genre.

Street artists tend to develop a signature style, one which can be traced throughout their oeuvre. Whether it’s Banksy’s darkly humorous graffiti, Mr Brainwash’s pop culture iconography, or the instantly recognisable ‘Pac-Mac’ mosaics of Invader, there is an artist or style to appeal to everyone.

3. Accessibility and affordability….
It is easy to assume that a worthwhile investment in street art is beyond most budgets, particularly when works by leading street artists can sell for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, at major auction houses. However, street art can be purchased at any price, and the nascent nature of the street art market means that even the more established artists have works available at lower prices.

4. Emerging artists
One of the most appealing aspects of investing in contemporary artists is watching their careers develop: when you invest in art, you are investing in an artist’s career. Street art is a relatively new phenomenon, with only the pioneers, such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, no longer active. Particularly in a genre of art which is by nature so evolutionary, appropriating imagery from a multiplicity of sources, investing in street art is an opportunity to enjoy following the milestones of a developing artist, from the earliest exhibitions to potentially their first big auction result.

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