10 questions with Art Collector Alvaro Jimenez

October 23, 2022
4 min read
Installation views, Art Now: France-Lise McGurn Sleepless, 2019. Photo ©Tate - Oliver Cowling

Tell us about your background and journey into art collecting.

I was always interested in art since I was little but started collecting art and became passionate about it at the age of 17. As background, my father is a shareholder of a small auction house and he insisted on taking me to meetings and auctions when I was young. In those I met employees and collectors from whom I learned how to think about art from collecting and investing perspectives.

What was your first acquisition? Do you still own it?

I bought a painting from a Spanish artist (Tras los setos, Lazkano). I don’t own it. I think it’s a beautiful piece but my taste has evolved since, I sold it 5-6 years after

Can you share some insight into your collection? What are some of your favorite pieces?

I focus mostly on contemporary art but I am very open in terms of technique, style and format. I have works from artists such as Somaya Critchlow, Secundino Hernandez, France Lise Mcgurn, Adam Pendleton, Vicente Matte, Magda Skupinska, Donna Huanca, Jana Schroder, etc. Separately, I also buy prints of established artists. I would say 50%+ of those are as investment but I also have some at home from artist such as Alex Katz or Jonas Wood. 

Did you make the jump and acquire some NFTS at all?

Yes. In recent years, I have also acquired a couple of NFTs. The first one I purchased was The Currency by Damian Hirst as I was intrigued by the socio-economic experiment he created with that work. 

Do you collect as an investment or purely for joy? Or both?

Both, I need to like any piece of art that I buy, but I also do my research to try to make financially savvy decisions. In the past, I made the mistake of buying art purely for joy but as I have an evolving taste I ended up having to realize financial losses on some of those works. On the contrary, I also bought paintings as an investment and ended up holding them in boxes or security rooms without even seeing the painting once, which didn’t make me happy either. As a consequence, I learnt that for me both, joy and investment, have to come together

Installation view: Adam Pendleton, These Elements of Me, 2019, APMA, Seoul, 2021, courtesy of Amorepacific Museum of Art, 2021, photo: K2 Studio, 2021

How do you scout out new artists? What about their work gets you to look further?

I scout through a combination of methods: a) advisors, galleries, dealers and friends, b) internet, c) auctions and d) art fairs and events. In terms of work, I pay a lot of attention to uniqueness of style and technique, the evolution of the work of the artist over time, presence in museums/exhibitions and quality of backers (galleries and collectors)

How do you think the art world has changed in the last five years?

Massively, time will tell whether the changes are for the better or worse and whether its permanent or just a passing trend, but from my point of view there has been tremendous change on two fronts:

  • Ownership. The ownership model for art has been completely redefined with the appearance of fractional ownership and physical vs digital ownership.
  • Artist landscape. The focus on diversity and inclusion has resulted in tremendous growth for traditionally underrepresented population groups

How has navigating the art world been like for you ? What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced ?

It was tough at the beginning, but I enjoyed the process. I think the biggest single challenge for anyone starting in the art world is the opacity of the industry and understanding the dynamics. In today’s world almost any information is accessible in a couple of clicks. However, in the art world accessing a price list for a sought after artist, not to mention buying a work, is very challenging.How I see it is that this opacity and difficult environment are also good ground for great opportunities if you know how to navigate those complexities

Donna Huanca’s painting CUEVA DE COPAL #1-4 2021.

What advice would you give NFT collectors looking to start a physical and more traditional art collection?

If I was advising an NFT investor I would probably suggest to start by collecting prints. Prints are the most similar physical assets to an NFT in terms of accessibility, information and transparency. I would also suggest to do a lot of research on transaction fees, NFTs are very cheap to trade while in physical world you can easily see 20%+ transaction fees.

Installation image: Jana Schroder: Neurosox Lapse of Memory, 2021. Courtesy of the artist

What are the three most important things to know when it comes to collecting art?

I think a strong foundation behind the artist is the key to differentiate hype vs long-term stability are: a) having support from a strong collector base, institutions and blue chip galleries, b) Uniqueness of the technique and work and c) artist potential (evolution of the work and theme, etc)

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