The Art of Collecting Art On A Budget

The Art of Collecting Art on a Budget

Art in general can be a little intimidating, it’s a difficult market to break in to as an artist, but usually collectors are stereotyped in to groups of people who either wear an Armani suit, or dress in eccentric attire. That’s not the case though, many are actually just like you and me. In gallery terms, again stereotypically they’re white spaces with a few masters on the wall, but even that is an ill-conceived truth for the most part. The other misconception of galleries is that they are places for the rich to hang out drinking champagne, and spending the global deficit on canvases that have a colorful splash of acrylic. Go and visit a local gallery and you will see everyone in there, and you will be surprised by the prices.

Art is complex, and when you start on the path to create a collection this is why you will see the same chain-store print on mostly everybody’s walls of their first apartment. So let’s firstly remove that wrong misconception of 90% of the galleries out there. Art doesn’t have to be expensive or over complicated, at least in the early days, making it slip in to the surrounding décor is the most arduous task you will encounter. A great starter collection does not have to be filled by Renoir.

Adding in texture, something reflective, high quality photographs, and maybe a limited edition print will all make an art wall become a focal point. If the pictures and prints are framed properly, even a greetings card can take on a whole new life when framed and mounted correctly. I took this approach when I started to collect art, I couldn’t afford the relatively small framed print that I really wanted but noticed that I could get a small print with a similar subject, and have it signed by the artist for less than 20% of the cost of the intended print. Mounting it with care and purchasing a high quality frame made the piece look even more exciting than the original piece. Now this particular work has increased in price as the artist’s market has matured significantly in the last three-years and its value now is around 50% more than the original piece I wanted.

Art Gallery
Galleries and exhibitions provide inspiration

 

The key to choosing the art you want to adorn your walls is to make sure you actually love the work. Don’t ever be tempted when you are on a budget to go out and buy something that you don’t like, just because it maybe a trend at the time. Always buy what you love from what you can afford. Think of it as what I like to call “levelling up”, level one, buy a nice piece of art, level two, buy another piece of nice art, level three, sell a piece of art and buy a better piece of art.

Don’t just look in galleries and chain-stores for art. Many of the prints from chain-stores will be available in every other chain-stores, look on sites such as Fine Art America, and you will see artists that no one has heard of, and you will most likely find a unique and original piece that is not yet mass produced. You will find something you love. Visit local galleries and art fairs too.

Photographs are a great start to collecting and the majority of photographs that you will find won’t necessarily break the bank. Photographs that are limited editions and come from well-known photographers are wonderful if you can afford them, but again, visit the print on demand sites, art fairs and local galleries where you are likely to be able to pick up something that hasn’t been produced in the hundreds of thousands.

There is something I like to call “real prints”, art that isn’t mass produced, but also comes with a much lower price tag. Fine Art America (and others too) provide their canvas prints on museum quality stretched canvases. The print quality is exceptionally high, and certainly much better than you would get from chain-stores and home furnishing stores.

Visiting Arts schools who will at some point hold a sale of their students work is also a good tactic when purchasing art on a budget. If you are expecting the art to go up in value you will however be taking a calculated risk.

But how do you fit an art collection in to a small home? There are ways that you can create an art space, and especially if you can find at least one slightly larger wall space. Start will just a few main pieces and fill in with smaller items such as mirrors and small framed photographs and trinkets. Visually the smaller items will break up the space and provide more interest to the wall. If you have some three-dimensional objects, frame them in shadow box frames to add an element of depth, at the same time allowing the eye to be drawn to the piece and create an illusion of extra space.

FRAMING YOUR OWN ART

If you are serious about art, you will know that a great painting can be downgraded to merely a good painting. Not because of its condition, and not because of its content, but sometimes what makes a painting truly great, is the frame that surrounds it. Choosing a frame just isn’t about style, it is about having a sensitivity to the artwork it contains.

Simple art
Simple Art Framed Well

 

A frame servers many purposes, it can present a work more effectively, but it can also protect the work for many years to come. When you are choosing a frame, it is easy to be tempted by the current trends, but what you really want is something that lasts longer than a current fashion trend, you want something that will suit the way you intend to display your art.

One of the factors I always consider is where the work will be displayed. I also consider how the art will be transported and how often, and all of these things combined should be the first step in deciding how to frame a piece of art.

When I sell my work directly, I never roll it up. I always supply the work in what I like to call a transit frame. This frame doesn’t have to be expensive, it just needs to be robust enough to get the artwork from A to B. I’ve lost count of the times when people have contacted me to say there has been a mistake, the work was offered without a frame, and it turned up in a frame! They perfectly understand when I tell them that it is only for protection.

Some it seems rather like the supplied low-cost frame, and they tell me that they have decided to keep the artwork in. My transit frames are usually supplied by a local wood company who use off-cuts from their larger items or re-used wood, so I guess they already have an aged look, and they are superb for transiting unframed art and keeping it protected.

Keeping an original master in a cheap frame is not such a good idea, especially as some cheap frames that include glass that offers little to no long-term protection from different styles of lighting. The last thing you want is to find that the colours have faded in a very short time. Particularly when it is a digital print on photo paper. When you are looking at digital prints, make sure the paper is good quality, and that the ink is of a non-fading variety.

Many of my art pieces and especially when purchased from Fine Art America, are printed on only the finest papers and canvases. The medium you print on also has to be considered when you chose a frame.

When you frame any art work you need to be sensitive to its previous history. Always take some time to research how a particular piece or style has been framed in the past. I was recently asked to appraise a piece from a local artist who stopped painting many years ago. There was little in the way of reference, but I could tell immediately that the frame the client had chosen wasn’t of the right time period for the art.

Occasionally you might pick up a piece of artwork that needs to remain in the original frame to retain its value, and its provenance. If the frame is damaged in any way, you might want to think about getting it restored, but never over restore a frame. In some cases, the frame can be as valuable as the art itself.

You will also want to make sure the environment you hang the art is suitable. Damp rooms are always going to be a disaster. But for the most part, people who want to hang paintings and other artwork in their homes, probably wouldn’t think it worthwhile to get an expert to come in and carry out a full UV test, and look at the humidity levels. But, if the art is valuable, you will want some assurance that where you hang it isn’t going to eventually destroy it.

A good frame can often regulate the humidity of a room, and counter any other factors such as light. Particularly where the light is bright and has high UV levels. Making sure that any glass that is used is suitable can certainly pay off in the long run. If you are truly serious about your artwork, then you can ask a specialist to produce a bespoke sealed enclosure.

The other question to ask is if the artwork actually needs a frame in the first place. A good stretched canvas can be more visually appealing without a frame, and especially when the artwork extends around the edges. I have seen people who have spent lots of money on a beautiful frame, and then found out that actually the piece looks much better without a frame at all.

But most importantly, always remember that a good frame can completely change a piece of art. It can take it from good to great. What a frame should never do is detract from the artwork contained inside it. It’s all about the harmony, and it is all about the art. No matter how that art was produced, at some point it will need protection.

Once you own the art that you “love”, you have two big choices still to make. Frames we have covered, but you may want to consider mounts too. The mount is just as important as the frame, and if you are on a budget, it is better to pay for a mount to be professionally cut to fit the artwork, and then spend less on the frame.

THE CARD TRICK

If you still think your budget will be overstretched buying good quality art, it’s time to take a stroll to your local greetings card shop, or you can visit http://10-mark-taylor.artistwebsites.com and take a look at the greetings cards available. We are now in the $3/£2 range of art here, but remember, you are unlikely to see greetings card art on chain store prints. You are still going to be buying something a little more exclusive.

Mix up the sizes of your art by purchasing a small card, an inexpensive larger frame, and a larger picture mount cut to fit. This allows you to have a wide mount which will make it appear to be more expensive. The caution you need to take around this will be too make sure that you don’t pick a card with a big bold “happy birthday” written in comic sans. Plain cards with no test work best for the card trick.

PLACEMENT

When placing your art remember that there is an average eye level that you should be aiming for. Hanging art too high will serve no purpose other than giving the viewer a strained neck. Hanging it too low, then the same is also true and the impact of the art will deteriorate. The centre of your main pieces should be 58 inches up from the floor for the average height adult.

THE LEARNING CURVE

Inexpensive art allows you to collect quantity, but also consider not buying so much art and focus on quality. This will set you on the road to becoming an art collector, but there is a steep learning curve. Yes, you can sign up for classes, but the reality is that most of us just don’t have the time. So, take some time out and visit art fairs and exhibitions. This will give you the opportunity to see what others are buying, and it is surprising just how much information you will pick up for free.

The art world is a social network, albeit a physical one. Your influence and rating as a collector comes down to being able to afford higher end pieces, and relationships with galleries, artists, and organisations supporting the arts. But some of this also comes down to honing your skills and updating your knowledge. Reading everything you can about a particular group of artists, and then you will soon pick up from combining visits to art fairs and galleries which work sells and what is likely to be the next big thing. The other important thing here is too ensure that you document what you learn and keep notes as you go along.

Go online and visit the auction houses, by looking through current and previous auction sale catalogues you will get a feel for what is selling and how much pieces are selling for. Auction prices are on public record, so in order to learn, go through as many of the sales records as you can for a particular artist.

Often you can make few visits to galleries, the good galleries have a web presence, and although the feeling of seeing the art online is different to seeing the art in the flesh is very different, you will be able to get a good feel for which galleries present which styles of art.

Of course, you can always become a patron of a museum or gallery space, but you will at this point need to commit some cash in to the process. It is a great way to increase your knowledge in an expedited manner. In general, the more you give, the more you will be able to interact with curators and other patrons. Often curators will give presentations to their galleries or museums patrons, and these demonstrations are a great way to understand how the experts make their decisions.

Developing your interest in art will in time connect you with an incredible and sociable community and is best approached as a life adventure that will enrich you.

AN ARTISTIC GRIEF

Depictions of artists as suffering souls constantly abound. Turning tragedy in to masterpieces seems to be the way many are depicted, but the reality is very different, sometimes. You might remember my post entitled “Exceptional Minds” a while back, for those who missed it first time around, you will find it further into this article.

A Brandeis University Economics Professor, Kathryn Graddy, has collected and studied information on over 15,000 paintings to see if bereaved artists are more successful than those who have not experienced similar trauma. Matching auction data from French Impressionists and American artists to the death dates of key figures in their lives, paintings that sold either for high prices, or paintings that had a place in the Metropolitan Museum of Art were considered successful. Interestingly though, paintings that were produced close to the death date of a key figure in an artist’s life were found to be less successful than others created at other points in an artist’s life, at a trauma free time.

The study found that paintings created within a year of a significant figures death actually sold at prices some 52% lower than the average sale price for that particular artist and were less likely to be given any space in the Met’s collection. French Impressionists suffered slightly more than U.S counterparts, on average their works were valued at 10% less if they were painted in the year following a significant death.

Graddy’s work was presented as a paper and it is clear that more research needs to be done to better understand the real “picture”, but the current figures reflect other studies on how grief affects people’s art. Researchers spend a lot of time linking mental health conditions to great work, but there is a less nuanced understanding around how universal emotional experiences like mourning affect the mind of a creative person.

Formal art therapy has been shown to reduce anxiety and the surge of adult coloring books taking hold of the world is also an indicator that people really do switch off from the trials of life when filling in the often complex patterns.

But as I have written before, there is no doubt that some of what we now term as the Masters did suffer from grief, anxiety, and mental health issues. As a promising artist, Richard Dadd committed the ultimate crime of murder in the summer of 1843. He was never sentenced in the true sense of the word, instead he was committed as a “criminal lunatic” who then went on to continue to paint during his confinement in an asylum. Today he is remembered as one of the Victorian era’s most accomplished artists. So much so, that The Art of Bedlam: Richard Dadd can be seen at the Bethlem Museum of the Mind in Beckenham, South London, until the 6th February 2016.

Dadd’s work offers a melancholy perspective on art, mental illness, and our seemingly obsessive view that they might be somehow related. In Iceland, recent studies have shown a link behind creativity and mental illness. At the age of 20, he had been shown at the Royal Academy.

Had Richard Dadd had not been famous as a “mad” artist, he would have been famous as a Victorian Orientalist painter. In 1842 he travelled as a gentleman’s travelling companion, visiting Egypt, Turkey, and Syria. It was Egypt that stayed with him throughout the remainder of his life, and his interest went beyond art. He believed he was in contact with Egyptian Gods, and he also thought that the Pope was out to get him.

In August 1843, Dadd stabbed his father to death. He escaped to France, was extradited and spent the remainder of his life in Victorian asylums. First in London’s Bethlem Hospital, or better known as Bedlam, then housed in what is today the Imperial War Museum, and eventually died in Broadmoor, in 1886.

Contrary to preconceived ideas of a Victorian asylum, Dadd was allowed to paint, was given painting materials and a space to work on his art. What he then went on to paint presents an often eerie archive of a troubled mind.

His 1853 work, “Portrait of a Young Man” was painted during his stay in Bedlam. It has a dreamlike, fantastical nature to it, and his portrait of the “Alienist” doctor, Sir Alexander Morison has similar surreal qualities and composition.

But his works prior to his incarceration were no less remarkable. In fact his works prior to and during his stays in asylums show no marked differences in style. His world had become much more limited, but it seems that this did not impede Dadd’s creative style at all.

But it was not just Dadd who was tortured by mental health issues, countless painters, composers, writers and musicians have suffered at the hands of some form of mental illness. Be that a bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, or depression, some of the greatest works of all time have been penned, painted, and created in the artists darkest moments.

Ludwig Van Beethoven, some have speculated suffered from bipolar disorder, and his eventual death from liver damage indicated that alcoholism may have played a part in the great composers end.

Edvard Munch was another troubled soul, his most famous work, “The Scream” has been said to have suffered with depression, agoraphobia, suffered a nervous breakdown, and frequently had hallucinations. The latter giving him inspiration to create his most famous work.

The Norwegian artist said of the relationship between his mental illness and his work, "My fear of life is necessary to me, as is my illness. Without anxiety and illness, I am a ship without a rudder ... my sufferings are part of myself and my art. They are indistinguishable from me, and their destruction would destroy my art." He wrote in one of his journals, "Illness, insanity and death were the black angels that kept watch over my cradle and accompanied me all my life."

Of Van Gogh's mental illness, the painter has been said to have suffered from depression perhaps even manic depression, bipolar disorder, hallucinations and episodes of derangement as well as epilepsy. He ultimately committed suicide in 1890 at the age of 37.

But it is not just artists and composers who have suffered mental illnesses, Sylvia Plath, famously known as one of the early confessional poets, detailed her story on the pages that she wrote. “The Bell Jar” was written in the form of a novel, and her poems often reflected her life.

At just 20-years-old, she stole her mother’s sleeping pills, crawling under the porch of her home to die. However, she vomited up the pills and was found, bringing to an end the 40-hour police search to find her.

After she had attempted to take her life, she was admitted to McLean Hospital for some six months, and she received one of the traditional therapies of the time, the electric shock treatment. Ten-years later she did succeed in taking her own life, after making her children’s breakfast, she wrote a note for the housekeeper and put her head in the oven.

One of my all-time favourite artists is Jackson Pollock. Jackson suffered with clinical depression and in 1938 he had a breakdown. He took to alcohol and abused certain substances in order to cope with his debilitating self-doubt, and a marriage that was in turmoil. Yet Pollock to me and many other people was an inspiration, he was also a visionary abstract artist.

So many of the great artists, composers, writers and poets have suffered in some way, yet mental health is still seen as a stigma, and the stigma is the only shameful thing about mental health. There is often a lack of understanding when it comes to these disorders, and it's that lack of understanding that can leave those who are battling these issues with feelings of isolation and hopelessness.

But it's not just the mental health issues that people are battling, many are fighting against the associated stigma, something that is hard to remember in a world full of bias. Until we can educate one another about mental illness, and for us to show compassion towards those who suffer, ignorance will endure as will the stigma alongside it. It's an illness not always visible by the human eye, people have inner fights with their own demons.

It is also an illness that for generations has not stopped great works, great compositions, and great writing from being produced. But those artworks, poems, musings, and that wonderful music, should be celebrated given the inner demons carried by the works creators, not only battling those demons, but battling against stigma, bias, and misconception. In fact they are often as challenging as the illness itself.

Mental illness is a big issue. As a society we generally ignore it until we have to face it, or it happens to us or someone we know. It is also a huge issue for business, yet we still see examples of discrimination. We are starting to see a movement to tackling mental health issues in the workplace, but can and should businesses do more?

It can be something as simple as making sure that employees have a fair life/work balance, or maybe, as we find it necessary to have a trained first aider in a factory, an element of training could be given in how to recognise the signs of mental health to members of staff.

That doesn't need a trained counsellor, it needs someone who can recognise the signs of mental health problems, and how to intervene, assist, and support, in a helpful way, at least until such time as professional help can be found.

CHRISTIE'S

RELEASE: CHRISTIE’S AMERICANA WEEK 2016

New York – Christie’s is pleased to announce that Americana Week 2016, a series of auctions, viewings and events, will be held from January 16-22. The week of sales is comprised of Chinese Export Art on January 21, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, and Silver on January 22, Philadelphia Splendor: The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Max R. Zaitz on January 22, and the inaugural sale of Outsider Art Liberation Through Expression: Outsider and Vernacular Art on January 22.

In all, Americana Week 2016 will offer over 500 lots and is expected to realize upwards of $8 million. In conjunction with the sales, Christie’s will also host a preview brunch with Stephen S. Lash, Chairman Emeritus, and John Hays, Deputy Chairman, on Sunday, January 17, in memory of Dean Failey, and the annual Eric M. Wunsch Award for Excellence in the American Arts on Wednesday, January 20, honoring Morrison H. Heckscher and Peter M. Kenny, recognized for their contributions to the expansion and modernization of the American Wing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and for their continued advancements of scholarship to the field of American Decorative Arts.

IMPORTANT AMERICAN FURNITURE, FOLK ART, AND SILVER

JANUARY 22 - 10:30am

Christie’s sale of Important American Furniture, Folk Art, and Silver will present 140 lots from the 17th through 20th centuries and is expected to realize in excess of $3 million.

Leading the sale is The Extraordinary Joined Oak and Pine Polychrome “Hadley” Chest-with-drawers, Hadley Massachusetts, circa 1715. Previously unrecorded, this early painted and polychrome-decorated “Hadley” Chest is just the fourth chest of its type to emerge. The façade explodes with an array of decorative details that are all the more remarkable for their nearly intact survival.

The joinery and motifs are derived from the carved “Hadley” chest tradition of the upper Connecticut River Valley from the late 17th through early 18th century, while the unique decorative scheme shows the presence of new ideas during the period. The other three known are all in institutions and the chest offered here is the only one of the group of four that makes such extensive use of the lozenge design. Among collectors of Americana, this is an icon in the field and highly sought after object for its original paint.

Following the “Hadley” Chest in the sale is a William and Mary Mahogany and Maple Dressing Table, Philadelphia, 1700-1730 (Estimate: $250,000-500,000). Highly elaborate and conceived with frenetic energy, the stretchers on this dressing table make it one of the most exciting Baroque furniture forms to survive from early America. The same unusual stretcher design is seen on two other dressing tables in the collections of the Chipstone Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Ownership of this dressing table is traced to the early twentieth century by Edward Corydon Wheeler, Jr. (1877-1954), a stock broker and antiques dealer living in Boston and later Weston, Massachusetts.

Also included in the sale is a Rare and Important Queen Anne Walnut Compass-Seat Armchair, Philadelphia, made circa 1755 (Estimate: $500,000-800,000). A triumph of the curvilinear form, this armchair illustrates the mastery of movement and harmony achieved by mid-eighteenth century Philadelphia chair makers. This chair is being sold with the approval of the trustees of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to benefit acquisition funds. Part of a rare set of armchairs, the other known chairs from the set comprise two at Winterthur Museum, two in private collections with one of these currently on loan to The Metropolitan Museum of Art and a fifth illustrated in 1983, but whose whereabouts today is unknown.

IMPORTANT AMERICAN SILVER - JANUARY 22 - 3:15pm

The afternoon session of the Important American Furniture, Folk Art, and Silver sale features significant American silver spanning 17th through early 20th century. From a beaker made by America’s first silversmiths, John Hull and Robert Sanderson around 1670, to a Tiffany tureen designed by Elsa Peretti, the sale represents a full history of American design in silver.

A Jeremiah Dummer platter and a Jacob Hurd sugar bowl display very fine baroque engraving, while a large cream jug by Elias Pelletreau is a lively work in the rococo taste. The 19th-century silver in the auction runs the full gamut of the revival styles of that eclectic century, with a very strong selection of Tiffany works in the exotic styles of the aesthetic movement. Of particular note is a giant wine cooler in the Japanese taste and a rare silver lamp in the Islamic style. A collection of art nouveau works by Gorham in their celebrated “Martele” pattern is a particular highlight of the sale.

PHILADELPHIA SPLENDOR: THE COLLECTION OF MR. AND MRS. MAX R. ZAITZ

JANUARY 22 - 2pm

The carefully curated Philadelphia Splendor: The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Max R. Zaitz represents over 100 lots of the best of what was available to consumers in early America. As with many of their fellow collectors, Mr. and Mrs. Max R. Zaitz were inspired by their passion for America—the opportunity and success it allowed them. Beginning with the purchase of their Charles Steadman (1790-1868) designed home built in circa 1830 in Princeton, New Jersey, they collected patiently, zeroing in on objects that passed their high standards for quality and condition.

Highlights of the collection include Queen Anne through Federal furniture with remarkable surfaces made from Boston to Philadelphia, eagle adorned Chinese Export ceramics, silver and needlework, which once embellished every room of their household.

For Mr. and Mrs. Max R. Zaitz, collecting Americana was a privilege and a way of celebrating this country. Upon entering the home, the visitor encountered a card table flanked by two side chairs from the renowned Deshler suite, three of the most stunning survivals of Rococo ornament from eighteenth-century America. It is their assemblage of these and several other masterworks from Philadelphia in particular that makes The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Max R. Zaitz one of the most important to come to the marketplace in recent years.

LIBERATION THROUGH EXPRESSION: OUTSIDER AND VERNACULAR ART

JANUARY 22nd at 10am

Christie’s hosts its inaugural various owner sale and first dedicated auction of Outsider Art in more than ten years—Liberation Through Expression: Outsider and Vernacular Art.

This tightly curated sale of 50 lots includes works across various media—sculpture, painting, works-on-paper, and gelatin silver print photographs, from preeminent Outsider artists, including James Castle, Martin Ramirez, William Edmonson, and Bill Traylor. The sale includes several works by living artists, including Thornton Dial, George Widener, and Dan Miller. Nearly half the sale comes from the Marvill Collection, which contains superb examples of American Outsider Art and vernacular sculpture.

CHINESE EXPORT ART FROM VARIOUS OWNERS – JANUARY 21 at 10am & 2pm

With nearly 250 lots of quality and rarity, the Chinese Export Art sale on January 21 features porcelain and paintings made for the China Trade. Four significant private collections highlight the sale including the renowned James E. Sowell Collection, The Collection of J. Jefferson and Anne Weiler Miller, The Betty Gertz ‘Hatcher Cargo’ Collection, and The Collection of Walter and Nancy Liedtke.

AMERICANA WEEK EVENTS:

Preview brunch with Stephen S. Lash, Chairman Emeritus, and John Hays, Deputy Chairman, Sunday, 17 January at 10:30am

Eric M. Wunsch Award for Excellence in the American Arts - Wednesday, 20 January at 5:30-7:30pm

Related Sale 11640

CHINESE EXPORT ART

21 JANUARY 2016

New York, Rockefeller Plaza

Sale 11985

IMPORTANT AMERICAN FURNITURE, FOLK ART AND SILVER

22 JANUARY 2016

New York, Rockefeller Plaza

Sale 13084

LIBERATION THROUGH EXPRESSION: OUTSIDER AND VERNACULAR ART

22 JANUARY 2016

New York, Rockefeller Plaza

Sale 12444

PHILADELPHIA SPLENDOR: THE COLLECTION OF MR. AND MRS. MAX R. ZAITZ

22 JANUARY 2016

New York, Rockefeller Plaza

TECHNOLOGY

What happened at CES 2016?

CES began 48-years ago and at that time it was so much easier to surprise people. Now it is much more difficult because for the most part we have seen it all before. Everything at CES is blogged, posted, worthy of at least a small piece in the news. VCR was introduced in 1970’s CES, and no one attending the event could have predicted just how huge that piece of technology would become, or what it would eventually turn in to.

In 1981, the CD was introduced at CES before anywhere else. CES is important, but is it becoming less so?

CES although an important part of the tech calendar has changed, or rather the show’s purpose has changed dramatically over the years. Today CES is about spotting momentum and trends rather than spotting the next VCR.

The 170,000 attendees are now at home, and CES has been described as a transition year, but not necessarily a year that would be revolutionary. The New York Times' Farhad Manjoo described CES 2016 as an "awkward adolescence" for emerging technologies.

VR has been at CES for a few years but has yet to go mainstream, Drones are becoming ever more popular, and well the hoverboard, let’s just forget the hoverboards, but just for a second, I will get to those in a moment. What we have seen at 2016’s CES is that the next gen of wearables are likely to be the ones where the tech moves forward, but technology companies are still looking at function over fashion.

Let us come back to those hoverboards though, CES took a turn that no one could have really predicted unless it was a little tongue in cheek. U.S Marshalls raided a Chinese hoverboard maker’s exhibition stand at the show and confiscated all of the company’s one-wheeled vehicles, and took down the exhibitors signs following a claim for patent infringement from a Silicon Valley competitor.

The Chinese firm, Changzhou First International Trade had claimed that it did not know it was breaking the law, and that it had developed its hoverboard a long-time ago and kept it hidden until CES 2016, to avoid it being cloned by other Chinese companies.

Whilst many exhibitors did display hoverboards at the show, what makes this one different is because it relied on a single centre wheel rather than one at each end. This is similar to the design from Onewheel produced by Future Motion which uses sensors and computer based controls to keep the board balanced. Future Motion had sent a cease and desist letter and managed to obtain a restraining order that was then enforced by U.S Marshalls at the show itself.

Changzhou the company behind the alleged patent infringement currently lists its device for sale on Alibaba for $550 (£375) on the shopping site, or around a third of the price of the Onewheel.

"Punitive measures could include a permanent injunction preventing Changzhou from selling the product in the US, monetary damages including lost profits we can prove due to infringing sales, and even attorney's fees if the court decides it's an exceptionally egregious case of willful patent infringement," said Future Motion's lawyer Shawn Kolitch.

Although possibly the first U.S Marshall led confiscation at CES, hoverboards have faced other controversies at the show too. Ahead of CES, the organisers had announced that attendees were banned from using any type of vehicle to move around its show floors.

So that’s all for today, this weekend I will be busier than ever attempting to finish off a couple of pieces of art, and I will be popping in to my Facebook group The Artists Exchange to comment on the wonderful art that is being shared by now over 600 members! If you wish to join, then log in to Facebook and head over to https://www.facebook.com/groups/940723089340284/ Coming up very soon is a pop-up art project that everyone can be involved with. One World, Many Views, Same Time. Details will be posted on the group page.

The Artists Exchange
The Artists Exchange is growing!

 

And don’t forget, if you want to keep up to date during the week with the world of art and technology, I will be available on Facebook frequently and you can keep up with the latest up to the minute art and technology news at https://facebook.com/beechhousemedia

 

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