An interview with Claire McCaslin-Brown, founder of McCaslin Art Advisory

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McCaslin Art Advisory offers a unique blend of fine art consultancy, art business strategy and branding, and an incubation platform for exceptional emerging artists.

Working exclusively with private investors and collectors, and looking to expand their services to the corporate (investment) market, McCaslin Art Advisory is one of the premier art specialists in London. We spoke to Claire McCaslin-Brown about the process of working with McCaslin Art Advisory, and their unique access to, and knowledge of, the global and ever-expanding art market.

What sets you apart from other art consultancies in London?

My passion for art! My consultancy reflects my own personal brand and my personality so when a client buys our services, they’re really buying into my brand. This is such an individual business and I work with each client myself. I get to understand what motivates them about art so that I can best advise them on establishing a blue-chip collection.

McCaslin Art Advisory works with established and emerging collectors. Are these primarily individuals or corporates? Or a mixture of both?

At the moment, my clients are primarily individuals, but I am also starting to offer services to corporate entities, foundations and collections.


Can you describe the process of introducing a new collector to the art market?

I usually meet a new collector at an art fair and we go round the fair together looking at art. I introduce the collector to new pieces, and I watch how they react to works. As an art adviser I am quite intuitive and I can pick up a lot by spending an initial hour or so doing this. I then put together a mini-report on my observations, and come up with some suggested pieces I think would be acceptable to start a new collection.

As a follow-up question: If a collector with a limited budget was looking to invest in art (as opposed to collect), what would McCaslin Art Advisory suggest.

I would suggest a minimum budget of around £10,000.00 – £25,000.00 and I would accompany the collector to several handpicked, blue-chip galleries or artist studios.

“Lay & Bristle”, 2013, by Pato Bosich, oil on board

 

How do you measure success?

Success is a happy client and matching the right artwork to the client, delivering that work to the home, and seeing it installed. McCaslin Art Advisory offers each step of this process – from the purchase of art to home-installation.

Do you ever suggest co-investment opportunities for your clients (i.e. for a major blue-chip work)?

I don’t, no. I have seen too many of these types of investments fail to be honest. I would only work with a client who has a pre-defined budget and knows how much they wish to invest.


Your website says you “source works of art privately, through our network of galleries, at major art fairs or direct from the artist studio.” Can you share with us some of your favourites from the above categories and why you would recommend them to clients?

A favourite artwork is one the collector or buyer is intuitively drawn to. It’s not my own favourite, necessarily.

I particularly like paintings and I am drawn to contemporary painters who work in this medium.

One of the most exciting things about working in the art market is the knowledge you gain over the years, and the trends that you see each year or so. Currently there is a trend towards art history, and drawing inspiration from art historical references by modern-day painters. So for example, the new Damien Hirst pointillist style paintings with blobs of vividly coloured paint which were inspired by the artist Bonnard. We see elements of this trend also in some of the works by the German artist, Martin Eder, which portray a remarkable universe in which his realistic style and classical compositions are combined in a dream world. I acquired one particular work for a client which had a strong appeal because it drew on the historical aesthetics of the pre-raphaelite movement (in terms of mood/colour) which the client liked, as well as the subject of the work.

“Stehen Lernen”, 2014, by Martin Eder, oil on canvas

 

Are there any artists McCaslin Art Advisory works with that are particularly noteworthy/a good investment? How should an artist approach you should they be interested in your artist agency concept?

I would have to say that all of the artists I work with are a good investment. I select artists based on their background, education, the shows they have behind them – these elements all contribute towards an emerging artist whose career is taking off.

We have worked with the Beijing-based contemporary Chinese artist, Shi Guowei, whose works have been popular with clients. “About Birth”, 2008, is hand-coloured onto a black & white photograph and was acquired for a Belgium-based collector. His work is appealing to both a Western audience as well as a Chinese audience and expresses the complicated relationship of his generation to the history of Western and Chinese art. Currently we are working with the South American artist, Pato Bosich, who references a wonderful mix of European literature and culture in a lyrical and romantic way suggestive of Casper David Friedrich at times. There will be a show of his drawings at the University of London in the autumn which we are promoting.

“About Birth”, 2008, Shi Guowei

 

An artist should send me their CV in the first instance.

 

You operate a Consultancy Services for Art Businesses. What does this entail? Do you offer a concierge-cum-introductions sort of platform?

Occasionally a new art business will set up a company and hire staff to run it, but they don’t necessarily have a background in the art world. We can help inject some of that background context and in some cases provide a service that could be PR, marketing or branding. I also have a small team of specialist consultants who come from management consultancy backgrounds and can offer practical advice on supply chain and operational issues for the larger blue-chip artist studios.

A concierge service for the art market in London is something we could definitely offer and, as we receive more demand, we will expand this.

Readers of The Art Collector will receive a special invitation to the
autumn show of Pato Bosich’s drawings, “Antiquity” at the University of
London from 2 October. Please contact us below:

www.mccaslinartadvisory.com

Tel: +44 (0) 203 151 8810
E: claire@mccaslinartadvisory.com

 

 

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