5 Questions with Linda Mariano of Redwood Art Group
Oct 9, 2023
Recently, One Art Nation has partnered with Redwood Art Group to offer ArtCollect, an online course that has been designed to support art collectors in navigating the complex and fascinating art world. In fact, Redwood’s Managing Director of Marketing, herself, leads Module 6: Art Fair Insider Tips, along with Jack Mur of Winston Art Group.
After meeting Linda at Spectrum in Miami and experiencing her enthusiasm for the art world and ability to inspire others, we knew she’d make a perfect addition to the program. Here’s a little more we found out about Linda after sitting down with her…
1AN: With a career that spans 35 years, I can just imagine how many Art Weeks you have been part of. So, during weeks in Miami or New York, for example, with so many fairs on offer, how does one decide which to target?
LM: It really is a case of so much to see, not enough time. So, prep in advance. Research the fairs. What is each fair’s schedule, programming, things you’d really like to see? What kind of art will be showcased and what are your interests? Some fairs feature particular categories of art, like limited edition art on paper, or primary market first offerings of original and limited edition works from living artists, or masterworks of well-established and past artists. The fair’s exhibitors might be limited to galleries only versus artists. From your perusing, you’ll find the fairs, events, and programming you want to see, and your schedule will evolve.
Here’s one more tip: Try to consolidate your schedule so you aren’t spending your time going back and forth across town. It’s supposed to be fun, not a time-crunching hassle.
1AN: This makes a lot of sense. And how about you? Do you have an art fair strategy when visiting other fairs?
LM: Well, quite honestly, I never go to just stroll and enjoy the fair. Because of my involvement in the industry, I’m always looking for other things too. How is the fair presented? What is the entrance and ticketing experience? What kind of programming does the fair offer? Things that pertain to the business aspects of being a fair organizer. But not necessarily too different for what I would recommend for any fair goer, because it is the experience that makes going to a fair memorable.
Things to do in advance: Go online and check out the fair’s website — programming, schedule of events, exhibitor list, and get your tickets. If you have a particular spot you are hoping to fill, take measurements, take a photo for reference, then relax and know you are prepared. Decide your budget, this will help as you walk the fair knowing what you intend to spend.
Then go and enjoy. Maybe you’ll find that perfect piece, maybe not. Be open; discover new galleries and artists you didn’t know before; listen and learn.
1AN: Having seen thousands of collectors coming in and out of your fairs, do you have any advice for people who are looking to buy their first piece of artwork?
LM: First and foremost, it’s not a chore, it’s fun to collect art. What kind of art resonates with you? Is it landscapes, abstracts, mixed media, sculpture? Not sure? Do some preliminary scouting on the internet, check out websites of upcoming art fairs in your area, stop into local galleries and look around. Is there a particular space in your home where you will put the new piece? How will it enhance your space? All of these things and more can come into play as you make plans to acquire a new piece of artwork. Enjoy the process!
1AN: True, the process should be fun! But aside from the excitement, what is the due diligence process when purchasing a piece at an art fair?
LM: By now, you’ve got the idea that I think the priority should be to enjoy the fair and the art. So, you are there, walking the aisles, meeting the gallery owners, directors, art dealers, and artists. Ask questions about the art you like and learn the story behind the art and artists. Check the price to be sure it’s in your price range.
Step away for a moment to think about it and talk about it. Beautiful art can transform your space — make a living room inviting and interesting, bring coziness to a bedroom, welcome guests with warmth in an entry hallway. Walking into a room and seeing a painting or sculpture that speaks to you can make you feel happy, relaxed, inspired. It’s not just visual appeal. It’s also the emotions and feelings that art can evoke.
Now, go back and negotiate the price. Does the piece and/or the artist have a story — a provenance? What will you receive along with the art? Is there a Certificate of Authenticity? If you are local, will they deliver and hang it in your home? Or if you are traveling, does the price include packing and shipping?
1AN: Any tips on how to identify the “next big thing” amongst a sea of emerging artists?
LM: What is the next big thing exactly? For you, it might be different than for me. It might be a style of artwork that you never thought you would enjoy, but you love it. Emerging artists are always inspiring to meet and see their creativity blossoming. Their excitement and enthusiasm inspires you. Buy artwork that lets you take home the experience. It becomes part of the story of the art in your home and collection. Enjoy it! Have fun!
Learn more from Linda Mariano by participating in ArtCollect. In Module 6, whether you are going to an art fair with the intention of buying art or just to enjoy, she will share some insider tips to help make the most of your time. Plus, you will learn about taxes, shipping, and condition information, and why you should always keep important post-sale documents like certificates of authenticity and invoices.
With a career that spans 35 years, Linda is a leader in marketing, licensing, brand management, e-commerce and promotion initiatives for major retailers, specialty retail, art industry, licensing partnerships, media and entertainment, as well as entrepreneurial business environments. Her expertise and strong track record of exceeding marketing and sales goals, building brands and driving...