What Katy Did: Don't know about art but...

This week, columnist Katy Evans talks about her recent foray into the world of art and her meeting with artist/comedian Vic Reeves.

The world of art has often astounded me. I've never understood why people fork out small fortunes for what, in my opinion, are pictures that look like a school child could have scribbled them.

At present, a Damien Hirst painting of spots, in a swirly circular pattern, hangs in the Eyestorm Britart Gallery on St Nicholas Street with a price tag of £15,000, which to me seems insane.

However, I've recently started to come around to the idea of purchasing art as an investment. The aforementioned dotted canvas originally cost the gallery £1000. If, back then, I had had the foresight, plus a slightly stronger reckless spending streak, to buy Damien's spotted art work, I could be selling it right now and pocketing £14,000 - more than enough to pay for the deposit on the house I am buying AND with enough left over for the luxury bathroom and extended kitchen I am so coveting but know I can't afford.

Another missed opportunity was to purchase a signed photo by the late Bob Carlos Clarke. The picture of his I like most is of a naked lady sitting, facing away from the camera, on a black satin-covered seat, with long, dark, curly hair flowing down her back and wearing a pair of black PVC gloves. A month or so ago this was £650 framed. Now the artist has gone and popped his clogs, it's worth £5000! But, as they say, hindsight is a great thing.


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When you are trying not to over-spend, purchasing an expensive piece of art seems out of the question but maybe occasional, outlandish gestures are, in fact, the way to go for future profit. After all, better to invest an appreciating asset rather than fill my closet with shoes that, once worn, are worth pennies.

Actually, I have confession to make. I have, in fact, purchased a piece of art from the gallery - a photograph the 50s photographer William Klein. I must stress (to family members reading this in shock) that said purchase cost nowhere near the amount of the BCC photo mentioned above and was somewhere in the low hundreds rather than up in the thousands (and anyway, I don't even have it yet as I'm paying for it in instalments and the shares I'm selling in Standard Life will cover the outstanding balance).

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The picture, which I instantly fell in love with, is of a lady called Barbara holding a coffee filter and wearing a furry hat and a rather surprised expression on her face. Babs will fit perfectly with the other black and white prints I have of Audrey Hepburn and Marylyn Monroe. But perhaps the fact I do love it defeats the purpose of buying to sell later at a profit, as no doubt I won't want to part with her. Maybe the best idea is to buy art you don't actually like then store it in the loft for a few years. Art lovers I'm sure would scorn such a suggestion but why not? People invest in all sorts of things - commercial property, stocks and shares etc - not because they necessarily love the purchase but to make money, so why not with art too?

The current Eyestorm exhibition is by comedian Vic Reeves' (aka Jim Moir), who I had the pleasure of interviewing. He was easy to chat to, as was his wife Nancy who looked every bit the celebrity and was lapping up the attention. As for the art, Vic's quirky birds are not really to my taste so I decided not to make a purchase, though going by my logic above perhaps I ought to! I did, however, get a signed copy of his autobiography as who knows, perhaps that will be worth a few bob or two in years to come?

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