Art What! Arts Singapore

Art What!: An Interview with Troy Sadler, Managing Director of Arts Works

Screenshot 2021-03-28 at 12.31.53 PM

The Ordinary World by Anton Afganial

In adapting to the times and restrictions of the pandemic, it makes complete sense to take on a digital approach to the business of art. Around the world, we’re already seeing galleries make the move toward creating online viewing rooms, where viewers can enjoy access to artworks on microsites. It stands to reason then, that it wouldn’t be long before a gallery in Singapore would follow suit.

Local art gallery Art Works has done just that, having launched their online gallery this March. Dealing with work that spans contemporary art, fine arts and investment grade pieces, the gallery will feature a highly curated collection of over 60 pieces of art priced from $2,500. The aim of the initiative is to break down barriers to make art more accessible for all and the process of art-buying less intimidating, with a diverse range of contemporary art pieces available, ranging from acrylic to oil on canvas paintings, as well as spray-painted works.

Sea of Love by Nana Tedja

Having started out as a fine art gallery with an investment advisory arm, Art Works later diversified into a multifaceted art business, with its gallery aiming to demystify and democratise art for all by creating a comfortable and welcoming environment that makes the process of buying art accessible and enjoyable for every level of art consumer. Over 2020 and 2021 in particular, the company has tapped into the ongoing trend of wanting to redecorate living spaces, thanks to how much time people were spending at home due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

“Considering our prices are quite entry level, I’d say that it’s easy to start building up a love for fantastic art, and our selling point isn’t just price, but really the quality of the work,  fresh and exciting and current, with enough range to appeal to everyone.”

“Despite the pandemic, we’ve seen very strong sales for the last 12 months, and the commercial side of our business has been doing great, from finding interiors and art for hotels and resorts, to offering arts advisory to our clients,” says Troy Sadler, Art Works’ Managing Director. “Considering our prices are quite entry level, I’d say that it’s easy to start building up a love for fantastic art, and our selling point isn’t just price, but really the quality of the work,  fresh and exciting and current, with enough range to appeal to everyone.”

Jose Martinez’s Double Empire

Art Work’s highly curated online gallery then, will give buyers in Singapore a chance to invigorate and compliment living spaces by purchasing art to curate their own home. With people spending more time at home, and with borders between countries not opening up anytime soon, consumers are looking to spend their disposable income elsewhere. With this, Art Works’ online gallery comes at an opportune time for those looking to make their first foray into the world of art buying.

“The art buying market has seen phenomenal growth over the last 5 years or so.”

“We’re still maintaining our physical gallery, but people can see our broader collection online,” says Troy. “We do have plans to open a larger street level gallery next year, but we’re just waiting for things to open up for now. I think the art buying market has seen phenomenal growth over the last 5 years or so, with more people purchasing art than ever before, regardless of medium.”

Illusion by Yuan Xin

On what exactly makes Art Works so attractive as consultants, Troy says, with complete confidence, that it is their keen eye for quality. “Clients know us for our good eye, and we’re very confident that the artworks we provide will resonate with the public and help businesses grow,” he says. “I’ve been doing art a long time now, even before I was dealing in wines in my previous job. Art really is my long-term passion, and we’re always expanding our network, expanding the model, and all about developing a long term relationship with both our artists and our clients.”

Art Works work closely with a unique mix of exciting, up and coming and artists from around the world. There is Igor Dobrowolski, who paints delicately shaded large-scale works in monochrome hues and has works that sit in the private collections of numerous celebrities including Channing Tatum, Gigi Hadid, and Nicole Scherzinger; British artist José Martinez, who is based in Singapore and a favourite in the local arts scene who is well-known for architecture and portrayal of mega-cities in his works; Manuela Karin Knaut, who combines a great variety of materials in her paintings, holding true to the workstyle inspired by elements of street art scenes; and Chinese artist’s Qiu Shengxian, whose works feature the “mother and son” concept that is derived from his childhood experiences growing up in an era of famine during the Cultural Revolution.

Magnolia by Frederico Tomasi

“It’s also so important to us to educate the clients, and really let them know the value of building a collection and investing in great art, which in turn helps these artists get a foot in and continue growing.”

With regards to their selection of artists, Troy again emphasises the diversity and quality of the works. “Sometimes there’s just this energy they give off, and we’re always looking for that kind of work that resonates with us,” says Troy. “We’re also always looking to help our artists grow, and offer them representation in key markets. It’s also so important to us to educate the clients, and really let them know the value of building a collection and investing in great art, which in turn helps these artists get a foot in and continue growing.”

“But really, a lot of our acquisitions are a matter of right time and right strategy, and the work comes in when we need to find our artists, present them to our investors, and explain what makes them such a rare find, and future stars in the market,” he continues. “It’s about the accessibility of it, and offering clients this range of work, whether it’s photographs or oils, with both younger and more established artists in order to service the market.”

metal by Igor Dobrowsky

“With varied price points across our artworks, we hope to provide buyers with a unique curation of artworks from known artists across the globe and get their favourite pieces of artwork straight to their doorstep.”

All artwork sold by Art Works is insured by Chubb, each one with the approval after of an internationally-licensed valuer. “With Art Works aiming to democratise art for everyone – from first-time buyers to art enthusiasts and long-terms collectors – we are thrilled to launch our online gallery this year,” says Troy. “With varied price points across our artworks, we hope to provide buyers with a unique curation of artworks from known artists across the globe and get their favourite pieces of artwork straight to their doorstep.”

Fashion Baby by Qiu Shengxian

“I think it all comes down to being a very personal thing, and I always say to clients, there are no right or wrong answers, so long as the work you see excites you,” Troy concludes. “It’s like music – you get a sense of it based on the first emotion you feel, and hopefully, it’s one of excitement, where you trust your instincts and boldly make that first purchase to go with what you like.”

Art Works’ online gallery is accessible here.

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