[What is art investment?] Is asset management profitable with contemporary art? Introducing recommended methods!

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How to invest in art

Hello everyone. This is GOSUKE, the manager of MONOLiTH, a contemporary art online shopping site.

Did you know that a work of art can also be an investment?

Some of you reading this article may be managing assets such as stocks, real estate, and gold.
Due to the current historically weak yen, it is also true that it is better to convert assets to other financial assets than to hold assets in Japanese yen.

And some of you may have heard the term “art investment”.
Investing in art is, as the name suggests, buying a work of art, keeping it in your possession, and selling it in the future.
I myself have several art collections, some of which are already valuable assets.

In this article, we will introduce how to invest in art and its appeal.
*As a premise, the content is about real art excluding NFT art.

Commentary on the asset value of art with examples

Now, let's take a look at the asset value of art with actual examples.

First of all, since it is called asset value, it must have a market price other than the selling price from the artist.
We will take a look at the SBI Art Auction, which is the most famous art auction in Japan.

This time, I will give an example of this work.

Artwork by backsideworks.

It is a work called "VALIANT GIRLS" by Backside works., which is currently very popular in the contemporary art world. It is often exhibited at SBI Art Auction.

Here are the specifications of the work.

Artist name: Backside works.
Production year: 2019
Production method: giclee printing, canvas
Size: 53.0 × 41.0 cm (20⅞ × 16⅛ in.) (P10)
Signature, etc.: Signature on the back, edition number, title on the label on the back, production year, edition number
ED: 15
Selling price from the first artist: about 200,000 yen ----

Briefly explained, it is a print printed on canvas with giclee printing. ED is an abbreviation for number of editions, meaning the number of prints made.
In other words, there are 15 works in this world.

Now, let's take a look at the trajectory of this work at SBI Art Auction.

October 20

This auction is probably the first time this work was exhibited at the SBI Art Auction.

Here are the bidding results.
*All subsequent amounts include 15% of the SBI Art Auction fee.
Artwork by backsideworks.
SBI Art Auction

2.35 million yen!

That's a lot of money at this point. This price is for the work produced one year ago.
The first sale is probably a lottery, but at this point it's more than 10 times the initial sale price.

But it's too early to be surprised.

April 21

The next sale was about half a year later.
What is the winning bid at that time?
Artwork by backsideworks.
SBI Art Auction

2.87 million yen!

Rise of 500,000 yen in half a year! Yield about 20%!
In terms of stocks, it's the amount of rise that I prepared when the stock price crashed in Corona.

July 21

It was then put up for sale three months later.

Well what happened

Artwork by backsideworks.
SBI Art Auction


4.6 million yen!?

1.73 million yen rise in just 3 months!? I can't help but open my mouth...

If you calculate the yield from the first 2.35 million, the yield is 100%!
It's a really amazing rate of growth...surprise...

May 22

By the way, it was also exhibited at the latest SBI Art Auction, but here is the winning bid at that time.

Artwork by backsideworks.
SBI Art Auction
4.83 million yen!

It's still going up, albeit not as fast as it used to be.

Here is a summary of the history of price increases.

About 200,000 yen (2019, selling price from the artist)

2.35 million yen (October 2020)

2.87 million yen (April 2009)

4.6 million yen (July 2009)

4.83 million yen (May 2010)

So the price has doubled in about a year.
If you bought it for 200,000 yen at the time of release, the yield is over 2000%.
It's a strange number that you don't hear about other financial assets.

Mr. Backside works. is a particularly popular artist, so it is an extreme example, but I hope you can understand the asset value of art.

However, this is my personal opinion, but I believe that art is not a tool for making money.
If you think it's just a tool to make money, you're just a reseller. It's no different than people lining up to buy rare sneakers or rare brands.

I believe that the best way to buy art is to buy works that you think are good or works by artists that you can sympathize with, without thinking about asset value.

The point that I feel is good about art investment is that if you hang your favorite work in your home, you will feel more energetic every day, and you will have the power to help you when you are really in trouble.

Even if you buy stocks, you can only see the chart. (The rest is shareholder benefits, dividends, etc.)
However, since art has the real thing, you can see it every day and get strength and be healed.

Investing in stocks and investment trusts is a good thing, but with surplus funds, you can buy art that you like, decorate it in your room, and look at it every day to cheer yourself up. I think it's also a fun way to spend money.

How to buy art with real estate value

Now, I will introduce how to buy art with asset value as described above.
There are three main methods.

1. Buy directly from artists and galleries
2. Purchase at Art Auction
3. Purchase with Fractional Ownership Service

I will explain each one.

1. Buy directly from artists and galleries

It is an image of buying at a store. This includes online shops like our site.
This is the cheapest price you can buy.
By the way, this is called the primary market in the art industry.
Watowa Gallery
Watowa Gallery

The difficulty with this purchase method is that it is difficult to buy popular works in the first place.
It is first come, first served, or sold by lottery.
In both cases, it often happens that resellers flock.

In the case of first-come-first-served basis, it will be sold out immediately after the exhibition starts. Amazing things sometimes form long lines even before the gallery opens on the opening day.
sh art gallery
In the case of lottery sales, there may be more than 10,000 entries for a limited 30 items, so it is a fact that it is difficult to purchase unless you are very lucky or have a connection with the gallery.

As an image, it is similar to buying rare items from apparel brands such as Supreme, and rare sneakers. You can read more about art galleries here!
Recommended art galleries in Tokyo

An explanation of art galleries and introduction of recommended art galleries in Tokyo. Let's go to an art gallery where admission is free, you can buy works, and you can meet artists.

2. Purchase at Art Auction

It is a purchase at an art auction such as the SBI Art Auction mentioned above. In contrast to the primary market introduced in 1, this is called the secondary market.

SBI Art Auction
SBI Art Auction

In a world where tens of thousands of yen are commonplace, it's actually quite difficult for the general public to get their hands on one, but the price varies between auction platforms and depending on the day of the week. .

However, since it is necessary to know the market price of artists and works, it is never easy for a beginner to suddenly purchase at an auction.
It is important to watch auctions several times and study past bidding results to gain an understanding of the market.

In addition, anyone can participate in the auction, and now it is possible to bid with one click while staying at home with online bit.
I once won a bid for 1 million yen when I clicked lightly, and it made me feel a little sick lol.

You can read more about art auctions in this article!

3. Purchase with Fractional Ownership Service

This is a little different from 1 and 2, I don't have art at hand, and I buy a part of the ownership of art. As an image, I think that REET of corporate stocks and real estate investment is close.

fractional ownership of art


For example, if there is a piece worth 1 million yen, we divide the ownership into 100 pieces and sell each piece for 10,000 yen. If the value of the work reaches 1.2 million yen, the rights holder will receive an unrealized profit of 2,000 yen per unit. The owner of the work can buy and sell it between users within the platform described later.
In addition, if you buy 100 units, the work will be your own.

Services include ANDART and STRAYM .
We also handle works by world-famous artists such as Banksy and Andy Warhol.

However, this divisional ownership is completely different from the so-called art collection, and has a strong investment flavor.

Characteristics of art whose asset value is likely to rise

Then, what kind of art should we aim for with asset value?
I don't have a definitive answer to this question, but my thoughts are:

1. Affiliated galleries are strong
2. The style is easily accepted by many people
3. In the end, popular people become popular

I will explain each one.

1. Affiliated galleries are strong

Artists often belong to galleries and carry out their activities.
A gallery is like an entertainment agency, and just like the entertainment world, an agency with a strong push has more opportunities to be exposed to the world, the gallery is located in a good location, and there are strong connections with collectors.

Of course, you can belong to a strong gallery because your work is wonderful, but as a result of belonging to a strong gallery, demand will increase, so the asset value of your work will tend to rise.

2. The style is easily accepted by many people

Putting aside whether the expression “acceptable” is good or bad in terms of art, works that are easy to accept in terms of appearance tend to be popular.
Recently, I feel that there is a tendency to sell things that have a solid pop illustration touch or cute girl motifs.

However, I think that it is common for works that sell well to not only look good, but also to be of high quality.

3. After all, popular writers become popular

If you say this, there is no origin or child, but this structure is undeniable.
In capitalism, the highest value is "rarity", and there is a trend that only things that are recognized for their value are justice, so it may be unavoidable, but as more and more people gather for popular artists, their works grow. I'm going to be a painter who will be sold out immediately.

Also, if you tell the world that a talent or influencer owns it, it may increase its popularity. By the way, if you'd like, please refer to the article that introduces the author's recommended contemporary artists.
Recommended young contemporary Japanese artists

Introducing hot Japanese contemporary artists. A 28-year-old active art collector carefully selected from already popular artists to those who will become popular in the future.

The appeal of art is to buy what you like without worrying about the value of your assets

The above is the explanation that art is an asset, and how to purchase it.

However, as mentioned above, it is not easy to buy art with recognized asset value, as it requires a certain amount of capital and it is necessary to pass through a high magnification.

Therefore, if you try to buy art for asset purposes, you can't buy it for the rest of your life.

Therefore, as an author, I think that it is good to buy works that you like and that you think are good, without worrying about the asset value for the time being.

I think there are various reasons, such as the coolness of the work itself, or sympathy with the artist, but the artist who made the work that I bought in that way will become more popular as they continue their activities, and someday it will become an asset value. have. I think it would be great if that happened.

In connection with that, there are words that left an impression on me when I was talking with the artist.

“Customers buy the artist’s work when it hasn’t sold yet and give them money to continue their activities. I think it's nice to have a close relationship."

I think it would be really wonderful if I could buy art with this kind of mindset, and even create a collection.


It's been a long time, but on this mail-order site MONOLiTH, we are selling works selected by artists who are making wonderful works.

Look at the works and artist information on the site, and if there is something that you feel in your heart, I hope you will pick up the work.

Click here for the site
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At the end

So, it was a commentary on the asset value of art.
Anything will do, so I hope more people will become interested in art and buy it!

Check out this article for the basics of buying art.
Basic knowledge of art purchase

[Art Collector's Handbook] A thorough introduction to the basic knowledge you need to know when purchasing contemporary art!

Introducing the basic knowledge you need to know when purchasing contemporary art in order to select works that will not fail. A must-see for those who want to buy art!

Thank you for reading this far.
See you soon!

MONOLiTH Operation ManagerGosuke Onoda