A heightened level of investment art sophistication is on display in Kelowna this month.
A Calgary based firm, ArtEvolution.com., is now showcasing limited edition works of Salvador Dali until July 10 at the Sandhill Winery, 1125 Richter St., and the art of Dr. Seuss from July 12 to 23 at the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort & Conference Centre. The exhibitions will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The two art exhibition and sale events were encouraged by feedback from art buyers in Kelowna, said Christopher Talbot, president and founder of ArtEvolution.com, a technology driven marketing and distribution company that he says strives to take the mystery and risk out of the art investment buying.
Living in Calgary, Talbot said he was aware of Kelowna, but when he visited here and sold some art to local buyers, he began to feel there was an audience for investment art buyers that was untapped.
“There is a very eclectic mix of people who live here in Kelowna, people who are very astute about art and about their own art collections, people with a lot of taste,” Talbot said.
“I just felt there would be a very positive response to our approach about how to market and distribute art.”
He relates one story of a couple talking with him about the art sales.
“The husband wasn’t really that impressed but his wife said this is huge, this is comparable to golf where the PGA tour were to come to Kelowna,” Talbot laughed.
He says his company’s foray into art selling in Kelowna is a first, and he hopes the success will open up opportunities for future such events here.
“We’ve talked about the idea of having a permanent location here at some point, but we’ll start with these two exhibition sales and see where we go from there,” Talbot said.
“But the feedback I have so far from people here has been very positive.”
Talbot brings very much an outsider approach to the art world, his goal being to make others feel more comfortable and knowledgeable about investing in art.
“Surveys show that about 80 per cent of people on average never set foot in an art gallery,” he said.
“And I think that is mainly because most people feel out of place, not sure what they are doing or what constitutes art. My philosophy is that I want to take art to the people, make it a more positive and educated experience.”
Talbot, a native of Australia, began his own interest in art in his early 20s. After leaving home as a teenager, Talbot ventured into the real estate business where he found financial success.
At one point, he decided to make his first investment art deal, selling six apartment units for two Dali and one Picasso artworks.
Through real estate and subsequently opening a Maserati sports car dealership, his interest in art continued to grow.
“I was dealing with people at that point who were very affluent, and were interested in buying and selling art,” he said.
Talbot eventually left Australia and moved to Texas where he started a seismic research and data company in the oil business, which in turn brought him to Calgary.
But he has also spent a great deal of time in Europe, including every summer in the French Riviera for the past 35 years, which allowed his interest in the art world to continue to percolate.
In his take on the art business, Talbot says ArtEvolution.com’s role is to provide qualified and credible works of art with authentic value backed up by investment guarantees and reliable historical representation.
In short, he wants to take the “buyer beware” out of the decision-making process for art investment buyers.
Talbot said the Dali exhibit will include wall art pieces and 13 bronze sculptures, while the Dr. Seuss collection features close to 60 art pieces.
Dali’s claim to fame as an artist came from his surrealism approach to art, painting images created from his own imagination.
Talbot says Dali became an outsider to the surrealist art movement in Europe, moving to New York City to build his legacy to the art world.
“He was a shameless promoter of his work to the point where many people thought he was a madman,” Talbot said.
“But he had one famous quote about that, saying, ‘The difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad.’”
On Wednesday, July 6, Talbot says Dali art expert James Saunders, with the Dali Museum in Paris, will come to the Kelowna show to give a presentation about the artist.
While most people tend to associate Dr. Seuss with children’s books, author Theodor Geisel was an illustrator and author after his graduation from Dartmouth in 1926 through the 1950s, one of lasting achievements being to write the Dr. Seuss books to address literacy among children and encourage them to love reading.
The simplicity of his message was illustrated most famously by The Cat In The Hat, a children’s book that used 236 words, bringing together his drawing style with a simplified vocabulary for beginner readers.
His artwork became a platform from which he delivered 44 children’s books, more than 400 World War 2 political cartoons, hundreds of advertisement marketing campaigns and satirize support for countless editorials.
The admission to both exhibition and sales is by donation, with Talbot intending that some of the proceeds will be donated to buy art supplies for a local arts program for children.