Every fine art photographer, myself included, hopes that his work will become part of a corporate collection. And there are times that you see the work of a particular photographer and you know immediately that it is a fit with your company’s overall image. Still there are some guidelines that should be kept in mind.
Identify a style of artwork that expresses your company’s overall image and/or purpose, while also complimenting the office aesthetic. The style can be thematic, e.g., “Vanishing Texas,” or it can be focused on one type art media, e.g., photography, oil, canvas, etc. When identifying a style think about what that style says about your company, as well as the space it utilizes. For example, an established law firm decorated with dark woods and conservative lighting might find the muted tones of many of the “Vanishing Texas” fine art photography prints suited for their space. while a high-tech company open space may find some bright, poppy “Urban Paradoxes” fine art photography prints better suited for their space. Don’t rush into a purchase. Take the time to think about what best fits your corporate image.
If you are not sure about corporate collecting in a way that fits your company image, meet with a reputable professional corporate art consultant before making any costly purchases. Know the difference between a corporate art consultant and corporate art broker. The consultant is focused on your needs. The broker is focused on selling from their catalogue and making their commission.
Support the local community. Many companies build their collection around local artists. The advantage to this is that it demonstrates to clients, employees, and the city the company’s appreciation of, and commitment and loyalty to, the community. This sort of commitment often leads to some excellent opportunities for local and national publicity and press.
Keep your clients in mind. The artwork that your company displays sends a direct message to every visitor and client, often leaving an indelible impression. You may like a particular piece, but if it is offensive or confrontational, you run the risk of alienation a potential client.
Keep track of details. Appoint an employee or hire an art consultant to catalogue the artwork as it is purchased, to update records as necessary, and to see that the pieces are properly cared for. Careful record keeping can prevent issues in the future concerning damage, loss, and value.
Understand what you are collecting. Limited Editions are limited print runs. General print runs are not limited in number. Of particular importance to fine art photography is knowing what sort of digital file your Limited Edition print is printed from.
Lastly, it is always good to meet the artist if you can. At the very least learn about what motivates their work, and the back story behind that particular piece. Add this information to your records. Share it with your employees. What better publicity for your company’s corporate art collection than to have your employees excited and talking about it?