Art and Design

REPOST: $1 billion art week could mark recovery

With major auction houses set to bag over $1 billion in revenues, this week is arguably a critical moment in the fine art market. Based on the following report by CNBC, the “big demand and the biggest prices are in post-war and contemporary art, which are more popular with today’s younger, new rich.”

Source: Christie’s
“Leda and the Swan” by Cy Twombly

The three major auction houses are set to auction off more than $1 billion worth of fine art this week, marking a test of whether collectors can shrug off turmoil in Washington and sagging stock markets.

Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips have an estimated $1.3 billion worth of works on the block this week. That would mark an increase from last May’s sales total of $1.1 billion, but about half the sales totals from the market’s recent peak in 2015.

This week is arguably the most important of the year for the big auction houses and comes at a critical moment in the art market. While prices, confidence and supply rebounded after the presidential election, with solid buying last November and early in the year at art fairs, it remains to be seen whether the uncertainty in Washington and recent softness in stocks could slow the growth.

For their part, the auction companies are optimistic.

“I think the mood is very good,” said Loic Gouzer, co-chairman of Christie’s Americas post-war and contemporary art. “Clients are calling on a constant basis wanting to know what’s going on, what’s for sale, they want to see the works.” He added that “for us the driving force is the works. If we have the works, the quality is there and people follow.”

The big demand and the biggest prices are in post-war and contemporary art, which are more popular with today’s younger, new rich.

The star of the week will likely be Jean-Michel Basquiat, the 1980s artist who’s primitive, bold canvases have become favorites of collectors who came of age in the 1980s. Sotheby’s is selling a 6-foot untitled Basquiat from 1982 that’s expected to sell for $60 million, which could be the most expensive piece sold for the week.

Continue reading HERE.

Three basic summer fashion tips for women

The fashion industry is a huge business. After all, Europe’s richest man made most of his money from this sector. However, it is also something that continuously evolve, with innovative trends emerging season after season. This summer, expect new or reinvented fashion styles to hit magazines and shopping malls.

Summer is not only the best time of the year to have the most breathtaking outdoor adventures and island getaways with your friends. It’s also the season when you can express your style and be confidently fashionable. However, finding the right clothes to wear does not only mean expertly choosing the perfect color and outfit combinations. In this sunny season, comfort should always come first.

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So what should you keep in mind before organizing your summer wardrobe? These basic summer fashion tips for women will give you the most relaxed and carefree sunny days you’ll ever have.

  1. Always go natural.

Did you know that synthetic fibers like polyester and rayon trap more heat than natural ones like cotton and linen?

Natural fibers are more breathable than other common synthetic materials. Plus, cottons and linens absorb sweat and dry faster, getting rid of that sweaty and sticky feeling all day.

In addition, synthetic fibers allow bacteria from our skin to readily grow and could cause body odor.

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  1. Ditch the backpack and go for a tote.

If you’re just going out for a short road trip, travel light. Having a backpack stuck to you back will not only make you sweat from the effort of carrying a huge bag but it’s also another layer away from the cool summer breeze.

Summer is all about the fresh and sunlit vibe, so don’t let a backpack ruin that. A tote or a crossbody will always be a smarter and more fashionable choice.

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  1. It’s time to buy that cotton scarf.

A cotton scarf is made of natural fabrics. It doesn’t only absorb heat, it can also help you manage your hair – in style. There are different  ways to wear summer scarves and each can match any outfit that you have planned for the day.

One final trick is to soak parts of the fabric in cold water before you put it whether around your neck or to tie your hair up for an extra cooling effect.

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REPOST: Pigcasso: The pig creating art that sells for thousands

Can animals really make masterpieces? This pig certainly can and her works may even soon be featured in a Paris or New York art gallery. ITV has the full story:


A pig that was saved from a slaughterhouse now spends her days creating artworks that sell for up to $2,000 (£1,600).

Aptly named Pigcasso after her namesake Picasso, she started painting in October last year.

She now has her own art gallery, with art collectors describing her pieces as “abstract”.


Pigcasso spends her time on the South African farm creating artwork. Credit: APTN


The sow was brought to the South African animal sanctuary where she now lives when she was a piglet.

The manager of the sanctuary Joanne Lefson, who rescued Pigcasso, says she first noticed the sow’s talent when she placed some balls and paintbrushes in her pen to play with.

“It wasn’t long before I discovered that she really liked the bristles and the paintbrush for some reason. And it was just a case of nurturing that talent,” she said.

The artwork, some of which now hangs in Pigcasso’s very own art gallery on the farm, has sold for prices ranging from $280 to $2,000.

The funds raised from art sales go towards the South African Farm Sanctuary, a haven for rescued farm animals.

Continue reading HERE.

Beyond aesthetics: Art as an alternative investment

Most investments available to regular investors today are usually paper assets—representations of ownership of an asset, such as a stock, bond, or money market account. They generate portfolio income, but their value or prices can fluctuate drastically depending on market conditions. They are in direct contrast to hard assets, which contain actual value in the nature of the item itself. They include precious metals (particularly gold and silver), diamonds, oil, real estate, and even artworks!


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Monetizing art is often considered an alternative investment. It is very illiquid and to some extent, risky. However, it can be a great investment option for people willing to put their money aside long-term.  Artworks, especially those created by established artists, are highly valuable. Their prices generally increase by age, but some can instantly be priced at the higher end of the spectrum if they were created by a famous personality. In some cases, valuable artworks (in all forms) may be found right in the attic: an antique wardrobe, pre-war photographs, a decades-old Chinese vase, or a painting bought many years ago and whose creator is now popular.


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Works of art’s prices are highly unpredictable. While they may generally increase over time, there is no guarantee that they could outperform stock indexes, for example. Most sales are conducted through private dealers and auctions are the most popular venues, attended only by people with the highest interest for such niche items. The best prices are given to those that were created by top artists—which include those that were virtually unknown while they were still alive but suddenly received considerable attention posthumous. Every work of art is unique, which means that it can create both opportunities and hazards for investors.


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Nonetheless, it is always a good idea to diversify one’s portfolio. A mixture of paper assets, currencies, real estate, and alternative investments can help one take advantage of the vast potential of these types of assets. As for works of art, however, investors should start with a genuine appreciation of the objects first before deciding to turn them into a platform to make money.


To get a professional advice regarding alternative investments, or if you wish to know more about investing as a whole, I recommend talking to an advisor at LOM Financial.

Art and business: Design as a key value differentiator

From website interfaces and company logos to digital graphics and magazine covers, design plays a crucial role in magnifying what a brand truly represents.  It is way beyond aesthetics or graphical outputs. In many cases, design is at the core of the business itself. Some companies grew tremendously just because of a small tweak in their logo; others managed to gain long-term success because of a major overhaul in their creative department. In the business world, a powerful design concept often converts to great profits


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We are at a point in time when visuals have become one of the most important aspects of promoting a brand. Design startups have grown to exponential levels and companies are striving for market superiority through ground-breaking business emblems, graphics, and other creative components of marketing. This is the age when art and design have become ‘capital assets,’ and some of today’s best design houses continue on redefining and revolutionizing standards while keeping product and service quality top-notch. Unsurprisingly, they have become very attractive to investors and investment companies, too.


The top design schools

Some of today’s best designers attended formal training and underwent professional mentorship. The likes of Stefan Sagmeister, Michael H. Riley, and Thomas Heatherwick received their design education from what are considered to be the most prestigious design institutions in the world.   According to QS World University Ranking, the top design schools include the Royal College of Art in London, the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab in Cambridge, and the Pratt Institute in New York. A diploma in any of these schools almost guarantees a beautiful career and a handsome paycheck.


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Design’s economic value

It is very difficult to measure how much impact a particular design can have on a specific product, service, campaign, or the company as a whole. It is something that cannot be expressed in numbers. However, the most innovative companies are also usually the leaders in design. Others who refuse to do the same (because it is something that cannot be clearly tied to high ROI) may fall behind. According to a study, design-driven companies have outperformed the S&P Index by 219 percent over past 10 years. Such companies include Airbnb, Apple, and Starbucks.


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Improved customer experience

Companies investing heavily in design are most likely to provide the most powerful customer experiences. The idea is to get customers’ attention, increase their engagement in a particular product or service, and motivate them to keep coming back. The ‘right’ design can help the business attain a clear understanding of the various ways that consumers engage with their brand—from brochures and TV advertisements to websites and social media. In other words, those that foster creativity may enjoy greater market share.

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Especially in this day and age of high consumption of digital products, design sits at the core of incredible brand experiences. Many companies are discovering that integrating great design into the business model and operations can significantly boost loyalty among customers, which can ultimately translate into desirable business results.