From Emerging to Established: A Resource to Help Collectors Navigate the Art Market

Artwork Archive | August 31, 2020

Photo credit: 1AN

"The art market is known for its complexity and lack of transparency, and for those just getting into the market, it can be quite intimidating." Julia Wehkamp, co-founder of One Art Nation (1AN). 

The art market is complicated, but access to educational resources does not have to be. One Art Nation (1AN) was founded by Julia Wehkamp and Amanda Dunn in 2013 to demystify the process of buying and selling artworks.

Artwork Archive is thrilled to partner with this pioneering platform. We're both driven to provide more transparent access into the often opaque art market. And we believe it is important to arm collectors of all stages with information to help buy, manage, preserve and enjoy their artworks.

1AN co-founder Julia Wehkamp took the time to share their mission and the ways that they are supporting collectors.


What motivated you to found One Art Nation (1AN)?

We created One Art Nation (1AN) in 2013 to help develop the skills of emerging collectors, as well as stimulate the established art market through new and innovative online art education. We found that you could find lots of information online about arts and culture and art history, but there wasn’t much on the practicalities of buying and selling art.


How have you created access for those intimidated by attending art fairs, auctions and galleries? 

The art market is known for its complexity and lack of transparency and for those just getting into the market, it can be quite intimidating. Even the most established collectors and professionals struggle to navigate the ins and outs of the market. We wanted to create a non-threatening environment with a global reach to bring more clarity and understanding by leveraging reputable industry experts and sharing valuable information.


What types of educational gaps did you see in the collector space? 

When we started 1AN, our focus was primarily on emerging collectors such as our friends and colleagues buying their first piece of art or those coming from emerging markets that didn’t have a history of art collecting in their families. We then quickly realized that established collectors were looking to us for information on how to protect, maintain and sell their collections as well as art professionals looking to start and develop their careers.

Photo credit: 1AN

What topics are collectors most eager to learn about? 

We ask our members what they are interested in learning about and it’s quite varied. Therefore, we’ve built our programming to cover A to Z of buying and selling art. Our goal is to bring together prominent art experts from across the globe to address topics that range from building, maintaining and protecting a collection, to tax and financial aspects of owning art. This is the type of content that matters most to art collectors and professionals, both experienced and new.


In our current pandemic climate, are you seeing a shift in the type of content collectors are seeking?

In the past few months, it seems that many collectors have more urgent matters to concern themselves with than buying art. Especially collectors who own or run businesses in financial distress, or who have, in one way or another, been directly affected, healthwise.

As markets plunge and the desire or need to raise cash increases, art financing has become more attractive to clients and banks as a quick source of capital. We've noticed that investors are seeking liquidity and are looking to access information on art-lending.We've also seen an increased demand for education on succession planning. If there's one thing we have learned from Covid-19, it's that nobody is untouchable. With this realization, more collectors are looking to take steps to begin a succession plan, starting with documenting and managing their art collections.   


You've been in the driver seat for a lot of great content, what piece of advice would you offer to emerging collectors?

The old adage is with your heart, but use your head. However, we also recommend thinking about how the piece will fit into your space. I've fallen in love with work before, bought it and brought it home, only to determine that it doesn't really "fit" anywhere. How you present your collection also has to please your eye, as you have to live with it every day... which circles back nicely to the "buy what you love" theory that we led with here! 

This will also help soften any risks taken (which is another tip: take risks!): if a new collector makes a "mistake" on an emerging artist, it's not such a big deal if they love the work! And well, the same goes for seasoned collectors: buy what you love... over time, you'll naturally decrease risks, ensuring your money is well spent!

1AN online curriculum


You don't just focus on art collectors. You also have a curriculum for art advisors. Why educate art advisors?

The first professional development program we created was Art Advisory 101 followed by Art Advisory 201. No industry wide standard existed and pretty much anyone could call themselves an Art Advisor without any formal education and/or certification.

Aspiring art advisors are left on their own to navigate the market and no education existed to help them establish appropriate fee models, manage client relationships, navigate client conflicts, understand what drives the price of art and more.

Art Advisory 101 and Art Advisory 201 have been created to cover the key aspects of running a successful art advisory firm from how to navigate the art world and run a successful art advisory business to following best practice and managing client relationships.


How are you making content more accessible to collectors and art professionals?

By offering our content online, we are transcending borders and making quality education accessible internationally. It’s free to become a 1AN member and we have members from all over the world. We’re a Toronto based business and it’s amazing to see our global reach. Not only is our content accessible and convenient for the viewer, we can curate knowledge from top art experts no matter where they live.


What has surprised you since the founding of 1AN? 

What we’ve learned most is that those experienced in buying and selling art have just as many questions about the art market as those just starting out.

Navigating the idiosyncrasies of the market is challenging for all.

We’ve also realized that although the art market is a billion-dollar business, the industry and those that drive it forward is quite small. It can seem quite inclusive on the inside but in reality, those that support the industry all have a shared passion for art and are keen to help demystify the market.


If you could install any artwork in your house, what would you choose?

In my house? Or in my dream house? Because the installation I'd most love would deserve a huge wall! I recently came face-to-face with a large-scale piece by Métis artist, Christi Belcourt that took my breath away. What an honor it would be to stare at her work every day. My general productivity would go down, but my spirits would be high.


Looking for some tips for your art collecting practice? Check out The Essential Guide to Collecting Art.

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