Street Art’s themes are often anti-consumer, and a good proportion is about the money-grabbing ways of the people who buy and sell art (amongst other things). But if street artists never sold anything they wouldn’t be able to make any more work…unless, perhaps, they had a rich benefactor, which, let’s face it is rare these days. So most are well aware of the marketability of their works and the apparent ‘sell-out’ this might represent.
Many make their own market, selling through trusted dealers. Some of the most famous – such as Bansky – sell direct and these works can then be bought on the secondary market, such as MyArtBroker. Banksy set up a street stall in New York in 2014, to sell a slew of canvasses but very few passersby realised they were for real and walked on by! Had they looked closely they might have spotted certain signs of authenticity and bought a £200,000 painting for just a few dollars.
If you do want to support street artists don’t buy unofficial copies (anyone can photograph a work and print it up on canvas). Always buy certified pieces produced by the artist personally, you’ll get an authentic work – hand stencilled, or silk-screened with the artist’s approval of colour and finish.
Is it worth investing? As any good dealer will tell you: “buy what you like”. If you don’t love it – don’t buy.
But, yes, street artists are very hot property on the art market. Works bought for a few hundred pounds a few years ago can go up in value to hundreds of thousands: Bansky, Blek le Rat, Eine, Shepard Fairey are all examples of this.
In short: Trust your instinct, buy what you love and buy authentic.