Christian Pearson aka Sumo (Gallery 1:1): The “One to One” approach
The gallerist and founder of Gallery 1:1, Christian Pearson or better known as Sumo, shares insightful information about the Urban Contemporary Art Gallery and also about making purchasing decisions in the art world. Interview.
Could you present your gallery in a few words?
Gallery 1:1 was created in 2018 because I was able to seize an opportunity given to me. The gallery combines my studio and the exhibition space under one roof, this enables me to work and meet clients at the same time. Dedicated to sharing the passion for Urban and Contemporary Art with roots in Graffiti culture, the gallery presents artworks by selected artists and pioneers that are authentic and have influenced today's Street art scene. The name 1:1 indicates a "One To One" relationship between the artist and the gallery as well as a close and respectful relationship between art enthusiasts, collectors, and the gallery. It's about being equal partners in work, passion, and background and sharing this mutual passion with the customers. Gallery 1:1 is the physical place that reunites all of this.
« Buying an art can be an expensive passion if you do not give due diligence to research. »
Is art a rational investment or an expensive passion?
It really depends on why you buy art. If it is purely an investment, it can be a rational one depending on your level of emotion, risk management, preparation, and research. If you are getting into collecting, without doing your due diligence and just blindly buying into the hype, it will become an expensive passion. Bluechip or established artists tend to be a safer investment than betting on an underdog because they have the highest value on the market, which is likely to hold over time. However, the reward can be considerably higher if you believed in an emerging artist before their big break. So it also depends on the level of risk you're prepared to take. In any case, every investment comes with the risk of loss, no matter how safe it seems or how experienced the buyer or advisor is. Personally I am more motivated by passion and I don’t buy art purely as a speculative investment.
How can a buyer assess the price of an artist or a specific work?
To assess price and make purchasing decisions, you need to first do your research and not only seek professional advice. What you can definitely do is monitor prices in auction rooms, art fairs, and other sales platforms. Find out as much information as you can about the artist and his work. As a gallery owner, I tend to do a lot of this research myself and I get a lot of information firsthand, though I also base my choice of artists on a set of criteria that may not necessarily be in line with yours. So talk to gallerists, you will surely get helpful insight. But like with every investment you should keep in mind what your initial plan is. I also believe that art doesn’t need to be expensive. I like to appreciate art for what it is and the joy it brings. At the end of the day it really depends on the reason to why you buy art.