Founder of PxP Contemporary Alicia Puig has a lot of hats to juggle – but making art collecting easy and accessible is her #1 calling.
An early adopter of the work-from-home lifestyle, Alicia relocated from Philadelphia to Costa Rica more than 2 years ago – giving her a significant head start on everyone who only recently discovered the joys of remote employment. As this cultural shift has more people than ever spending more time than ever before at home and investing more in affordable art, Puig’s talent of connecting emerging artists with collectors has never been more relevant or in demand.
With other major investments like travel and entertainment having to wait until 2021 (or, at least, until a COVID-19 vaccine has proven successful in implementation), the rate of people buying art online has been steadily rising for months. New collectors are being made every day, though browsing Instagram, Etsy and even galleries for the first time.
And yet, most new collectors have a lot of questions about buying art, especially since collecting has been cloaked in the obscurity of private viewing rooms and hidden price tags for such a long time. Alicia has a few notes for anyone who’s looking to grow their collection for the first time – and even for those who are searching for those more experienced collectors who are looking for a more fulfilling experience.
Distance Makes The He(Art) Grow Fonder
“It’s interesting living here because we don’t have a big arts scene,” Alicia notes about her local Costa Rican community. “There are a lot of artists living here and even some who are popular on the national scale – so there are some key players – but it’s still pretty small and emerging.”
The transition from big-city living was more of a welcomed challenge than a setback for Alicia. Coming from the art worlds of Philadelphia and Amsterdam, she had spent more than 10 years enmeshed in the fast-paced, hyper-connected worlds of cultural strongholds. Relocating to Costa Rica was, as Alicia put it, “…interesting.”
Of course, interesting doesn’t have to mean “bad” – in fact, for Alicia, the operational shift was more exciting than anything else. “It pushed me as a writer and made me more of a detective, especially for finding new talent.”
And the whole remote part of the job wasn’t as intimidating, either. “I don’t feel so far removed because so much is digital now. We’ve all kind of transitioned fully online, it’s not something we necessarily expected but it’s been a benefit for me because now, what I’m doing doesn’t seem so far out there.”
If anything, working remotely from her home in Costa Rica has made Alicia more acutely aware of the international art scene. Her roster of emerging artists is expanding daily, and she’s even bringing some of them to the numerous socially-distanced curatorial projects she’s working on, including “WILD” which is featured as part of Superfine Art Fair’s current e-fair.
How To Buy Art: The 411
So we’ve entered the age of the e-fair: now what?
Buying art online (and in general) is a bit of a scary process for many first-time collectors. Couple that with the notion of navigating an art fair that’s happening completely online, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for confusion. Who do you buy the art from? Can you have it framed? How will it look in your home?! The questions are endless. Luckily at this point, Alicia is an expert in making the online art collecting process a breeze.
Alicia’s biggest piece of advice for purchasing art online is: always do your research. “I know that’s not the most glamorous,” she chuckles, “but you just have to. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can always ask the dealer, gallery, or artist about payment plans. How does shipping work, can I frame this… people are still kind of in the world of not wanting to ask questions because they don’t want to look bad.”
Purchasing art for your home? Alicia wants you to make sure that you measure twice, and cut once. Unlike your favorite home goods store, galleries and artists aren’t keen on accepting returns. “If you’re buying more for décor, make sure you know what you actually need. See if the gallery or artist can do a digital mockup for you of what the piece will look like in your home. It’s so nice to be able to envision a piece in your own space.”
In fact, there are a lot of services that gallerists, advisors and artists offer that aren’t immediately apparent, like custom commissions. “If you look deeper,” Alicia notes, “you can find those services. And most people are happy to help with that.”
Don’t Skip The Money Talk
One of the biggest barriers new collectors face is the whole Money Question. No one wants to walk into a white cube gallery and ask for a price list; not only does it feel tacky, you’re probably operating under the assumption that if you even have to ask, you can’t afford it.
Of course, a major perk of collecting emerging artists is that their work is way more affordable than blue-chip artists. In fact, you can find fantastic work by new and emerging artists for a couple hundred bucks – but of course, some of them will still be in the thousands. And that’s ok. Especially because there are some great options now for art financing that’s of little to no extra cost to the collector.
PxP Contemporary has made it a point to make collecting art as easy as possible thanks to their partnership with Art Money. The service allows collectors to split up payments on pieces over $1000 into 10 installments. “We get paid upfront, the artist gets paid and the client gets to pay over a period of time,” Alicia explains. “It’s an awesome service.”
So there you have it – art collecting has never been easier, more affordable, or more accessible than ever before. With platforms like PxP Contemporary leading the charge in connecting new collectors with emerging artists, finding the perfect piece for whoever, or wherever, whenever is the best investment you can make right now.
With the new digital art collecting scene connecting more people across the world than ever, you never know what new artist you’ll make a connection with. And of course, Alicia Puig will be there to help facilitate that gorgeous relationship!