Olyvia Kwok: How an Art Collector Navigates the Financial World

by Ruby Clarkson

If you love art and have a bit of money to invest, art collecting can be the ideal way to combine the two.

There are a number of financial benefits to collecting art and successful collectors like Olyvia Kwok are on standby not only to show you how lucrative it can be, but also lend a helping hand for those who are trying to get to grips with the world of art collection.

Kwok began collecting art at the age of 22, when she bought her first painting for $33,000. She believed that the Chinese scroll painting which she had discovered was older than the advertised age and she was right! She sold it afterwards for $220,000. Since then, she has gone on to set up and support projects around the world of emerging artists, as well as launch Willstone Management – her company who helps people to invest in art.

The Financial Benefits of Art Collecting

There are a number of financial benefits to collecting art, including:

• Art will never be worthless, and the right piece of art will almost always go up in price over time – unlike other investment options.
• Art is also resistant to fluctuations in the market – unlike other investment options such as property.
• By collecting art, you are personally responsible for your assets and they are not in the hands of an investor or bank.

According to Kwok, the secret to making money in art collecting is to understand what the trends are, and it is her knowledge of emerging artists that has helped her to enjoy a successful career in art investment and collection. She explains, “Art can be like super-high-fashion trends. Prices can depend on trends and what is fashionable. One day it could be Impressionists and the next Surrealists, that’s why it’s so important to stay in touch with the market and to keep a short-term focus.”

Following Trends

Although it is important to buy artwork that you like, if you wish to make good money on your investment, Kwok recommends looking for the next trend. She invested in the American Pop Art market, moved onto German Abstractionism then hit the world of American minimalism, following the trend as she went.

Hitting the Jackpot with Emerging Artists

One of the most satisfying and potentially financially rewarding aspects to art collecting and investment is that you have the potential to find emerging artists and nurture them to bring them – and you – success.

A good way to find emerging artists is to visit open studios, where recently finished artwork is displayed, and collectors and investors can buy directly from the artists themselves.

Art Collecting with Willstone Management

Set up in 2010, Kwok decided to use her knowledge and expertise in art collecting and investment to help other people reap the benefits. Although it is possible to go out alone as an art collector and investor, Kwok’s business – Willstone Management can help guide you through, using her innate knowledge and understanding of emerging art markets to offer bespoke art services – with the best possible return, of course.

With over 15 years’ experience in collecting and selling art, in addition to her natural talent for spotting trends, Kwok is perfectly placed to help clients to invest their money in the most effective way, harnessing the power of art.

Using technology

As with most things, technology is beginning to have an impact in the art world. Kwok’s company have launched a free art auction app called Live Auction Art which can provide investors with transparent data about a piece of art, giving them the opportunity to analyse its potential as an investment.

Kwok states that the aim is to “show institutional clients how fine art assets can be more transparent and liquid”. The app, which Willstone Management are continuing to fine tune, highlights to potential buyers and investors, the value of Kwok’s natural talent and in-depth knowledge of art.

Kwok states that "the art market has not only retained its size since the global financial crisis – it has actually almost tripled in size. There have been some difficult moments, but this market has proven itself over and over again," so it is not surprising that there is a serious interest in collecting and investing in art.

Olyvia Kwok has shown that knowledge and understanding is the key to successfully navigating the financial world of art collecting. With the ability to spot new trends, understand the market and be adaptable, collecting art can be extremely lucrative.

About the Author: Ruby Clarkson has a passion for art, interior design, and telling stories. When she isn't writing or looking at the latest art trends, she can be found with her nose in a book. Accompanied by chocolate, of course.


Picture credit:
unsplash-logoDeanna J

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