This story begins with a hot pink pair of Christian Louboutins so jaw dropping that my friend couldn’t help but call them “major” (major should be pronounced with a Posh Spice accent so that you have the full effect). As I was staring at the shoes I began to put two and two together. I ran and grabbed my bright purple dress, my orange purse, and pointed to the shoes. It became a little clearer why I had been so attracted to the Carlos Betancourt print I had helped my family purchase a few weeks earlier. After all, the print completely embodied my personal aesthetic. Heck, it actually probably visually embodies my personality. I’ve been described as talkative by elementary school teachers, bubbly by friends, and was once nicknamed Light-Bright by a co-worker. So here’s the point: everything around us influences our taste in art. Every buyer should be purchasing something that speaks to them and that they love but it should also be worthy of investment. Friends always ask me how I pick a print. Here's what I (mostly) considered when buying this piece:
This print in particular has a lot going for it. First, from a broad art-market perspective artists with a Latin American Flair are getting hot. There has been an influx of collecting that focuses on this as a cultural art movement. Or look at it a different way; consider how important politically Hispanic voting trends have become within the past decade. Simply put, the time has come to recognize the culture and the often romanticized and vibrant imagery that goes along with it. It also can’t hurt that reputable art fairs such as MACO and ArteBA have forced critics and collectors to take note. Betancourt in particular fits within this change and has personally contributed to a movement in Miami. Opening up his studio in Miami Beach to fellow creative-types, Betancourt was there before Art Basel even alerted the glitteratti that Florida could house important art and artists.
From a design perspective the piece is also fabulous. It flows, it’s balanced, and the colors are vibrant and complementary. The size itself was also a consideration. This piece measures 50x50 which makes it more digestible since it is comprised of hundreds of smaller images. The Betancourt work is nuance and detail based, this can be lost if a piece is too small. Larger pieces also really confront and encompass the viewer. This allows you to feel like you’re almost a part of a happening and the rich, celebratory life that the artist is expressing.
When buying a piece like this you have to do your homework. First I checked the edition number; this work was an edition of three which is low. Often editions of 30 to 100 are acceptable and provide a means of owning work that you may never otherwise have access to. At auction Betancourt holds up, and he’s in the Smithsonian’s Portrait Gallery and the permanent collection at the Met. He has an understanding of art history and clearly conveys his influences. Betancourt mentioned Jeff Koons and David Lachapelle when I met him at the opening and openly talks about how the work itself is narrative. A narrative or a link to what is current, historical, or cultural makes artists relevant moving them to the realm of fine art. Expressing that one exists also insures that a collector is dealing with a seasoned, educated artist. I like it when artists (or at the very least their galleries) can explain the purpose and message of the work. In this case they were able to do just that AND it didn't hurt that the print was gorgeous! ;)
I hope this helps to clarify a few things! I’ll be sharing a few artists that I’ve come across that I absolutely love and tell you all about the new gallery that’s about to open.