Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

How to make a million from art assets

Friday, August 18th, 2017

Buying Art – for the financially rational minded

Above all, art is a personal choice. For those who want to know the best time to buy, this article answers the question:

How do you make $1,000,000 from art assets?

Million dollar artworks are no longer unusual*. But how do you make a million dollars buying & selling art? It’s the age old rule of any type of investment –

buy LOW and sell HIGH.

Damien_Hirst_Dots _ source Wikimedia_Commons

Damien and the million dollar dots

The problem with art is that you need to know about the artist before they become famous. That’s a little bit tricky. If you knew Modern Artist Damien Hurst and purchased his Dots work you could expect to sell them on the market today for $53,000 to $1.3 million.

As an investor, it’s about timing, so too for art investing. When an artist moves from one stage to the next, the value of the art asset appreciates. The best situation is to invest just prior to an artist’s move from proven and undiscovered to proven and discovered.

Art Asset AppreciationWhat’s Proven: an artist that exhibitions in multiple countries, and has been exhibited in top galleries or museums

Discovered: More and more people come across the artist and they buy. In economic terms, demand exceeds supply

So, when is a good time to buy?

Obviously when an artist is Unproven there is low investment value and the potential for art asset appreciation is nil. You might be waiting awhile for a good return.
Proven but Undiscovered is the best investment value because the potential for art asset appreciation is at it’s highest. The artist is climbing and just like with a stock, you want to buy on the way up. It’s like getting the pre-IPO price on a share.
Proven and Discovered is not as good of an investment because you’ve lost the timing and may be purchasing the art asset at Post IPO valuations.

 The Solution

 Booth Aster’s artworks have been exhibited and purchased in Germany, Spain, the USA and Singapore. They’ve been showcased at the Museum of Art and Design and the Art Sciences Museum. (PROVEN)

And now with July’s TEDxArtist-In-Residence out with the world’s attention, discovery is just around the corner.

Sounds like the right time to buy, doesn’t it?

As an investor, art is an under-represented asset class in most investment portfolios. According to Deloittes (2012) there is a growing recognition of art as an investment asset class by investors. And as we all know, art is an appreciating asset over time that can be enjoyed a lot longer than Chateau Laffite.

Three Affordable Art Assets currently available from Booth Aster

For those looking for investment grade art assets above $100,000, contact Booth Aster via email for a confidential discussion at booth[at]

Get Your Art Asset before Booth Aster is discovered and the assets price goes up.

*Here is a list of artists who regularly sell for well over a million in the UK. Three are women doing over a million a work which is encouraging.



Art to Lift the Soul – Why buy art?

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

People ask ‘why buy art?’ It’s simple. Does it speak to you inside?

For example:

My burnt out soul needed art for how it helped me feel.

I needed something to remind me of what passion, joy and love felt like. I needed something to remind me of who I could be if I put the fears and rationality aside. I needed something to show up each day for me when the distractions of life came by.

Art does this.

I buy art pieces that speak to me. Some I create specifically. I put them up where I can see them every day.

All of it is art to lift the soul.

I’m also asked ‘what art have you bought?’ Aka do I walk my talk? 🙂

These are three art pieces and what they’ve meant for me on my life’s journey. Do you related to the moments?

Anna Flinn_my_Donald Friend_BarFly The Bar Fly

I brought this sketch by Donald Friend, a very well established Australian Artist.

I loved its humor and lightness.

At the time it reminded me to invest in the life I wanted even if I could simply afford a sketch.

Pen on Paper, 10 cm x 15cm

Anna Flinn_my_Luke Wagner small From Where I am Standing

This oil painting is by Luke Wager, now an established Tasmanian Artist.

This totally describes how I felt, yearning for the space to fly.

It’s in my living room so I ‘live with’ this every day. It reminds me to keep believing particularly when I need it.

Oil on Canvas, 250 cm x 120 cm

VOS with Signature Cream.001 Voluptuousness of the Soul
by Booth Aster
This piece was created on request, ‘bespoke’ in art speak. The values and feelings wanted were richness, the sense of flowering and growing. The blue bra holding these wings is a touch of lightness as bras hold we girls up.Sculpture, 55 cm x 35cm x 15cm

What are you looking for in life? Is there part of you that wants to show up?

Who would you be if you could be anything?

These are the questions that got me started, these are the ones that lead me to Wings. This is we begin when I create art for you.

May you find the art that puts Wings on Your Soul.

~ Anna

7 things I learned about creativity, leadership and results as TEDxArtist-in-Residence

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

It began with a problem. Or as the Chinese would say, an opportunity.

Read on for the behind the scenes story, for the bullets, see the end.

Behind the scenes

It’s Thursday, 7:10pm and I receive an email. ‘We would like to invite you to be the TEDxAIR for TEDxPickering St at the Art Sciences Museum in Singapore.’

It’s in 8 weeks.

Side note: What’s a TEDxAIR? TED stands for Technology, Engineering and Design. The design side got a bit lost so 3 years ago the first Artist-in-Residence or AIR was created to link to the creative communities and to see how ideas are expressed in other mediums. Each TEDxAIR is unique. Todate there have been around 18 ranging from Mt Hood USA to the Courtauld Institute UK and now the PickeringSt at the Art Sciences Museum in Singapore.

In between saying ‘Oh, Yeh! Oh Fxxk! Oh, Yeh! Oh Fxxk!’ to myself, I read on. I am asked to create artwork and installations to inspire attendees at the TEDx event. The theme is ‘Quotients’ – as in intelligence quotient IQ or EQ the emotional intelligence quotient. They asked ‘What other important quotients are there?’

As an artist, I’m complimented. But 8 weeks is an extremely short time to do commissioned work. Understanding the essence of their need, developing the artistic concept, agreeing this, validating that it’s executable (do able), actually doing it and installing it is something that usually takes months even years.

And I’m due in Oxford the next week for a think tank. I don’t have 8 weeks!

We meet the next morning, the TEDx convener, Ri and I.

Our first conversation: We decide go for it. We know we have just met, we don’t know each other, we don’t know the budget. It turned out the previous artist who had to pull out had funding, but it attached to him.

In situations like this, it’s either step up for the ride and trust that we’ll do something amazing or run for the hills.

We decided we’d trust that we could work it out.

Delivering the promise

Over the next 8 weeks, we had to live this ‘trusting it will work out’.

Side notes: What does trusting it will work out actually look like? It’s not naivety. Lots went wrong if I used corporate standards of practice. Well, you could call it failures in that there were many hiccups. Or you could say ‘we failed forward’. Or you could see this as the real story of the creativity and innovation process. One that actually delivers.

The creative process used here is the same one I use with large companies doing white space transformation. There are more parallels between the creative process for art and for successfully executing on business transformation than is generally realized. Using an inappropriate program process is a significant contributor to the 93% failure rate seen in corporates.

 We do our first site visit. The space is huge and tiny. Both at the same time. The stage art installation is in a specific location, we’ve 4m by 2.4 m to work with. The foyer is 40 meters by 5 stories. It’s huge.

I put a concept forward, then I’m off to Oxford.

I get back and do another site visit to confirm sizes and spaces.

It’s 6 weeks out, a 3rd site visit. The head videographer (he who record the fabulous TED talks) doesn’t like the initial concept. Nor does he like its color.

Back to the drawing board.

At 3 am, I’m dealing with ‘what is the purpose of the artist?’ inner question and realize, ‘the concept, it’s the butterfly of Chaos Theory.’ You recall the one that flaps their wings over the Amazon and creates huge changes else where in the world?

TED is about ‘ideas worth sharing’. As the artist in residence, I wanted to express this in the art installation that acts as the stage backdrop.

Ideas worth sharing are butterflies that change the world

The concept is refined over caffeine the next day with Ri in our second critical conversation.

We’ll use parchment paper for the translucency. Ideas are intangible. Concept of wings flying to link to sharing. Later on we added a second layer, the gestation of ideas, like a caterpillar that eats, cocoons then morphs into the butterfly.

As this develops, one layer would be modern western pop art inspired by Roy Lichtenstein, the second, we’d use the Cutout and Shadow Technique inspired by traditional Asian paper cuts from China and the Indonesian paper shadow puppets. This is fitting for Pickering St. This TEDx is named after the first officer in the British Colonial Service who spoke both English and Chinese.

We’d laser cut the story of ideas to be modern. Given the scale which when we finally calculated what it would take 800 cm of paper, folded like a curtain, there was no way we could do it by hand. The laser cutting of the pattern would create the texture so the story would be visible. Backlight for depth.

The final concept: Ideas are Butterflies, it’s 4 meters x 2.35 meters, made from paper, space and light.

This is about as intangible and ephemeral as you could get.


The video guys oked the demo version.

Side Bar: In the creative white space of exploration and development, insights comes from unexpected quarters. Even feelings are all important elements that create a powerful concept that can be validated. Ideas develop into the vision, the thing that we say ‘this is the thing we are going for’. There is a distinct yet intangible sense ‘ah, this is it!’  

Moving into the next stage of creativity is the actual execution on the core elements of the vision. Note, in the first stage, ‘how’ is not a big element, it was simply a validation point thanks to the timeline. It was not a constraint.

Into the next hurdle

In parallel, I’m also creating a TED talk. Actually, it feels like the TED talk – they ask if you had one idea to share, the idea of a lifetime, what would it be? Which feels pretty high stakes for me. Then it is finding the courage to share what really feels important. In real life, there is always more than one thing going on.

Back to art in action. This is strategy in action. Art is a concept delivered. Art is strategy executed.

Sidebar: This is a big challenge that a lot of companies face. The great idea may exist but executing those ideas is a problem. That’s why so many million dollar ideas don’t see the light of day. Sound familiar? Underneath this, we used a structured process to hone the most appropriate idea for our goal, and then a second structured process that integrates artistic creativity with program management to deliver results.

How do we actually convert the concept into reality?

It is only impossible until you do it

We, by this stage, Ri is firmly part of the creative team, we put a call for help out as more detailed work on the concept continues. Art is a team process.

The concept is sketched and tested – about version 8 or was it 15? – it feels right.

I spend 12 hrs hand folding paper to experiment to see which technique works best.

Lasers, at the scale we need, are huge and expensive. It turns out the one that could have done it, has been decommissioned.

The guys at the Fab Café at the Art Sciences Museum test out part of the concept so we know how it will behave when we laser.

The files we need to instruct the laser are infinitely more complex than we’d thought. There is no spray can dot creating tool in AI. Every dot is by hand. On an 8 meter file.

One graphic designer collapses working till 3:20 am.

We are now 3 weeks out.

Ri is discovering skills she didn’t know she had. We break files limits, we work around things. We adjust files so that the layers cooperate together.

We are now 2 weeks out.

We find a laser. The guy is wonderful. ‘Come in with the file. I’ll cut. I need it in dmx format.’

What’s dmx? We discover. We also find out that converting our file to this does stuff. More fixing (failure = recover in action).

It’s a week out.

The laser dude, he’s never cut paper. He’s on the adventure too.

Lasers are hot. Paper burns. He’s doing it layer by layer.

We have 10 different panels to burn. We need a spare in case one tears. 20 panels. It is 3 days out.

I get the call saying ‘don’t worry, it will be fine’

It’s all be so crazy, I actually do. Not worry, this is.

Friday am it’s ready to be picked up. The event starts Saturday at 12 noon.

The sheets are 2.4 meters long and 80 cm wide. I’ve got to work out how to carry them.

It’s raining. Parchment and rain is not a good look.

We were meant to be doing set up Friday am. Someone else is using the space Friday. We can’t start till 7pm.

I get there with everything I’ll need – I’ve this artwork ‘Ideas are Butterflies’, plus ‘Gaia’s Wings’, an 8m by 4.5 m installation for the foyer and another 6 pieces for the installation at the entrance of the Art Sciences Museum. It’s 9 pm.

My security pass is only valid from midnight.

I get in, there are some amazing volunteers who help put together the parchment. We lay out the pieces – there are 10 sheets of parchment, 80 cm x 2.4 m each. We have to work out which fits with which. It’s an 8 meter across puzzle.

Carefully we connect the 10 panels. Thank God the room next to the stage is huge.

Even more carefully, we fold the huge fragile artwork so it’s like a curtain.

We create loops so it can hang.

We get it on the rod, and carefully, carefully carry it to the next room, to the stage to hang it. To tweak the folds so it really looks like a curtain. I finally leave at 4:30 am Saturday.

A few hours later, at 10:30 am in the morning when I get back in, the lights appear, thanks to the video guys… we light up… it’s a sunrising light with the caterpillar of an idea being born as a butterfly.

It’s noon. TEDx begins. Ideas worth sharing.

Take Aways from Doing the Impossible aka TEDxAIR in 8 weeks

  1. Create Magic. You can create magic and the insanely impossible if you believe you can.
  2. Trust in each other. This can exist even if you haven’t ever worked together before. We trusted that each of us were doing our best. We knew we were not perfect and that we were on new territory. Conversation was critical to our success.
  3. Disciplined Creativity for Delivery. Underneath this story is a structured creative process integrated with the discipline of adaptive project management.
  4. Continuous prototyping. We validated continuously. This took time and resources. There was wastage – which was required as we didn’t have time for ‘do agains’
  5. Future Focused. Things went ‘wrong’ all the time. The closer it got to the date, this moved from once a week, to every day. At times it felt on the hour. To succeed in this type of environment, we had to live from trust. Practically this meant that each time things went off, we’d both go ‘ok, back to the big picture, so how?’ We were solution finding, future focused. At no time were we blame or past focused.
  6. Collective leadership. I lead the creative vision, Ri was instrumental in the execution. It’s a team effort, we each added different parts. At least 13 people contributed to this. Some of whom I didn’t even see, but they are there and are appreciated.
  7. Challenge is Stretch. Creativity and innovation will get No’s. The video guys were still unsure of the final work when they started doing recording tests at 11:30am. They wanted to take it down. But they kept it up for my TED talk as the first speaker. Then they left it till the break, and finally the whole event. They’d found that the art did work for them.

If they hadn’t said no initially, I’d not have stretched the creativity. Ideas would not be butterflies that change the world. Their challenge added hugely. They stretched me as an artist. And yes, they got stretched too. We both expanded.

If you are having challenges with creativity, time frames or getting results, it is an issue with the creative process-in-action.

Scale it: do you need ideas to deliver? Is your time frame short? Establish what each week gained would mean to your clients, organization and staff.

For example: a concept that is potentially $2.5 million per year in 2 years is worth $48,000 a week. $25 million pa is $480,000/week. Your measurement may be people helped as an NGO. In both cases, the more swiftly and brilliantly the idea becomes come real, the more valuable it is.

Getting creativity right is more that reducing risk and preventing loss, it is about making the impact and getting the results you really want.

Put these 7 points into action. You will see creativity, innovation and leadership delivering at a higher level. You will see results.

If creativity, time frames, strategy or results are high on your list of priorities, connect with me for an exploratory conversation on the situation, to give you initial insights and see if we both are a fit for each other.

Project Wings Pte Ltd (c) 2017

FINTECH: the Art of Money

Friday, October 21st, 2016

The link between money and art is obvious in Italy. Money is an artwork.

Stay with me for a moment. This is a human not a technical question. Take that million of gold. It’s factually gold. A metal. We’ve put value on it.

Back in the day, money was gold. Gold was used for exchange. Gold was rare, beautiful and useful.

Officially, as an economist, the idea is that to create money you can either make things or provide services that others value.

Or today, you can use a keyboard, a computer and be an approved authority and create it. Now it is FINTECH.

A government borrows from a central bank and puts money out in the markets. What actually happens today is something is typed into a computer. It is “Ones and Zeros”.

The funds then go to the regular banking system that most businesses and people use.

The banks can then lend with leverage. One dollar becomes 10. The 10 becomes 100. At least this is the idea. The banks may not lend or only lend to a selected few.

It’s what the Quantitative Easing was about.

It gets interesting when money is electrons.

It’s all electrons.

Which is pretty creative. As there is no limit to electrons. So there is no limit to money. I’ll save inflation and governance for another day.

If money is now infinite, what is it really as humans? as a social system?

FinTech is accelerating money as electrons with new ways to use information technology around finance, exchanges, payments along with anti-money laundering, tracking terrorists and undesirables and control.

The art of money is now about electrons, trust and confidence. It’s about exchange.

I create XXX, provide service YYY or send you ZZZ, and you send me ‘N’ electrons.

Money is artwork.

In art, a masterwork is a work that lifts and expands those engaged with it.

The dark side of a master work is to create something that looks like a master work, sold as a master work but it’s actually a fraud, debased and destructive of trust.

This is the challenge for FinTech and the Modern Money System.

Is it to be a masterwork or will it simply be a fraudulent block of gold – gold on the outside and lead on the inside?

With FINTECH Festival celebrating finance and technology, perhaps we might also talk about the human side of money in the days of electrons?

What does money really mean now? What is its value now money is infinite?

The Money Thing

Sunday, September 18th, 2016

The million triggered something. What is money and meaning in the well lived life?

A million dollars can be…

  • A book sized block of gold or meals for a decade or 20 weddings or 4 degrees from a top university
  • A fraction of a CEO’s annual salary or 241 rice farmers and their family working all year
  • Research into the biggest disease, malaria or 83,333 rural family in Kenya having access to income

It could be as simple as million dollar health insurance policy. Peace of mind for a minor illness… actually, is it really about being healthy?

A million is a pretty amazing thing. It’s big enough to do something with and it’s small enough to have meaning.

At the other end of the money scale: there is an estimated 1.2 quadrillion dollars in the financial markets. Mind boggling. If a million dollars is a square millimeter, it’s 1.6 football fields.

The million is a useful measuring stick.

But the interesting thing is what is it that we want to measure?

In life, is it the millions? Or is it something else?

As a career focused A type personality in banking and technology, millions can easily become the thing. It’s a job hazard. It’s easy to loose sight of the meaning.

We saw this in the Financial markets in the last decade, where decisions showed ethics had lost meaning.

There is value in meaning. Even in the financial space. Particularly in the financial space.

If the money thing was not there, what would you measure your life by? What give it significance? What gives your life meaning?

How to Buy Right-For-You Art

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Art is about Feelings.

‘When will you marry’, Gauguin asks as he paints.

An investor paid $300 million for these Tahitian beauties in 2015. He cared alot.

What it takes to buy art? How do I make sure I get something that is meaningful for me?

And pay fair value?

There are 5 steps to this.

What is art in the first place?

It’s the expression of human creativity and dreams (ok, also nightmares, but this is human to). It’s our spirit in action. Art goes way back to our cave-man days. We are creative. Painting, sculpture, performance, installation.

It’s pleasure. It’s style. It’s investment. It’s status.

Which leads to the next question:

Why would I want to buy it? How much should I pay for it?


Step 1: Work out why you would like art.

For example: you may want… art can do all of these:

  • statement of your future and vision – symbol
  • color on the wall or to fill in a space – decoration
  • uplifts you, gets conversations started – inspiration
  • remind you of a holiday or a lovely experience – memory
  • look good, the glamor and status of having ‘art’ – image
  • make money – a financial investment

Step 2: Work out where you can get it

For example: you can get art from…

  • your family (maybe!)
  • shows/exhibitions/events
  • interior design
  • art galleries
  • artists

Go to galleries. Take a friend and explore. Find an opening and join in. Wear comfortable shoes. As a bonus, this is great exercise. You’ll get your 10,000 steps for the day done.

Online art galleries are now global. If you are interested in a piece, look at a large high resolution file. The thumb nail is not the same as the original. Just like a photo of your beloved is not the same as having them there with you. Online is a great way of finding the right piece that is not  in your  location.

Contact an artist you like directly. You can get a piece from their existing art or discuss ‘bespoke art’. This is art created by an artist with a particular person or organisation in mind.

Step 3: Research aka go take a look

At this stage, you are looking for:

Step 3a: what you like

Step 3b: where you can find it. + do you like the source

Step 3c: what it will take financially

This can be and is fun. Explore. Go to new places. Take a friend and have fun discussion what you see. Art is personal. So you’ll like some and hate others. It’s cool. Be social.

Art is sold in three ways. Most people invest in art through one of these:

  1. Artist  you get to see and hear about what’s behind the work, what else they have going on, what it takes to create that piece. You know it is genuine work.
  2. Gallery who represents the artist selling you directly. Convenient if you don’t know artists that you enjoy and value.
  3. Broker who buys art to sell when the price goes up. Some galleries operate this way.

Step 4:  Work out your budget/investment

Art is both an investment (it can be resold) and something you use through enjoyment. Art prices ranges hugely. From a tens of dollars to millions of dollars.

So why does the price range so much?

Many factors go into ‘why it costs what it does’. Here are the main elements:

  • The materials used
  • The time it takes to create
  • If it is unique – the concept
  •  If it is scarce – ie is there only 1 like this or are there 10? Or 500? Or can there be an unlimited number of copies of this?
  • It may be part of a series or standalone – a full set of a series has extra value
  • Is the artist established – works in galleries, shown internationally, in collections or museums?
  • If you are looking at it for you – that it speaks to you.
  • If you are looking at a financial investment: what the demand is? Will other people buy it – ie is there a market for it?

Some people care about technique – back in the day Gauguin painted on burlap in a rough style that was considered unfinished. These days, one of these is worth $300 million.

I bought a sketch from a well known artist for $2000 years ago. It’s worth $5000 more now. Art appreciates.

Step 5: Do it… get your art!

Pick the piece… it may be small, it may be huge. Pick the piece that gets you started. Where you feel. Oh, wow, I’m here with something that has meaning, magic and mystery.  This is what art is.

Have it packed for safe delivery

Step 6: Put it up on your wall, in your foyer etc and ENJOY

Prepare to have folk over and share your art.

Have your story ready… people always have their opinions… and they usually ask ‘What is it about’, ‘why do you like it’? Why did you pick these piece? What was happening in your life? What do you want from life beyond the artwork?

They’ll give you their opinion. They may even ask what you paid.

When I invest in art, I invest both emotionally in the meaning and story I have about it, and financially.  I recognise my own story about it. I share my story about the artwork like this:

  • This piece speaks to me because – may be it is the story of the painting/sculpture.It could be that it’s a brilliant reminder of a holiday.
  • When see it, it does xxx… eg makes me happy, reminds me to be courageous.
  • Then I ask them… what do they see… as we each see something different.

Do this and you’ll be a brilliant conversationalist, host and art appreciator!

Enjoy Art and your Investment,

Booth Aster © 2016