Q&A with Paul Becker of Art Money - Art Collector

Art Money booth at Sydney Contemporary 2017. Courtesy: Art Money.

Since 2015, Art Money has been offering art lovers interest-free loans between $675 and $50,000. Founder and CEO, Paul Becker, offers advice to collectors, talks about the company's roots and his plans for the future.

What was the motivation behind starting Art Money?
I simply wanted to make it easier for people to engage with art - make it more accessible. I felt Art Money was a way to solve an industry problem, help grow it, and support artists, galleries and art buyers alike.

Have you seen an increase in the range of people purchasing artworks since Art Money’s inception?
Perhaps the simplest response is to say that 30% of our customers are buying their first artwork ever from a commercial gallery, so I believe we are on the way to growing the market. Our survey data shows the vast majority of buyers say Art Money influenced or enabled their decision. And already in 2.5 years, 33% of Art Money users have used it again to buy more work, often multiple times. People are using it as their art buying budget.

Why is expanding the accessibility of art ownership important to you?
Three reasons:
1) It allows more people to bring art into their lives with all the rewards we know that brings (a flip side is breaking down the misconception that art is only for the wealthy)
2) We want to support artists earn income and make a living from their practice (not to mention support galleries, typically small business owners passionate about art).
3) A society that values culture and creativity is a more diverse, innovative and healthy society.

Are there any artworks that you have your eye on at the moment?
I think Justine Varga is one of Australia’s most wonderful artists and she continues to create beautiful work and challenge boundaries. I’m loving Penny Byrne’s intelligent, whimsical and sharply political ceramics - just what the world needs now. Having spent some time overseas, I’m really amazed by the world standard quality and exceptional value of Australian art – I hope we can support our artists by growing demand both at home and internationally.

What advice would you give new collectors looking to start investing in art?
Look, look and look. It’s fun, free, and you’ll learn your taste and gain confidence. Do it with a friend. Go to commercial galleries, art fairs and events like Art Month and Night Art. Plenty to see on Instagram. Also: Trust yourself (you don’t have to like everything); allow yourself to buy for love (forget about investment, that’s not what it’s about); find out the story behind the art, meet the artist if you can.

How did you find the reception at Sydney Contemporary?
Fantastic. It’s great that the Sydney fair is now annual – this is a big step forward for the whole art ecosystem in Australia.

What's next for Art Money? Can you tell us of your expansion in the States?
We are getting a great reception in the U.S., we are facilitating art sales and galleries are partnering with us daily - we have over 500 gallery partners globally now, half of those in the U.S. and internationally. We’ve already helped many sales between buyers and galleries from different countries and we do have plans to offer Art Money for buyers in more countries around the world - the art world is global.

Emily Grant

>> To sign up to Art Money go to www.artmoney.com/au

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