Front Street in Maui claims to be third in the world in art sales. What this means exactly is a little unclear. "Third behind New York and Paris" based on per capita sales... While I have been unable to come up with the figures to support this, undoubtedly, some of the best art in the world is available right here.
It's all here: Picasso, Chagall, Warhol, Haring , Sam Francis, Erte... the classic masters, the most collectible art... and then the up and comers.
But what I have learned selling art on front street is:
- Most people don't care about art. Those of us who love art are in the vast minority. In fact a number of people even take great pride in "not getting" art.
- Of those that love art, those of us who are captivated by new art/cutting edge art/transformational art are in the minority again.
- Art can be an investment. It is actually a great place to put your money but if you don't know what you are doing, it's likely a distaster.
- Art is an impulse buy. People buy art in the moment when they love it. The "BeBack Bus "does not exist. "We'll be here on vacation all week" is just another way of saying-- "let me out of the gallery."
- The art buyer has to like you. No one is going to give thousands of dollars for art if they don't like you.
- The art buyer needs approval. The sales job may actually be more a job of just letting them know that it's ok for them to spend thousands of dollars for an object made of materials that amount to a few hundred dollars in actually cost.
- Just about everyone is super happy that they bought art. Every time I would call someone to ask if they are still loving their art, they would say yes. When I called my very first client just to say hello, he started off telling me, "you were right. you and my wife were right, I didn't want to buy the art but you thought we should and you were right. We love it. Thank you."
- People create their own glass ceiling of attraction. I can't tell you how many times the art people effuse over is the art just beyond their financial means. When they could afford the $2000 Bertho, they love the $10,000 Warhol. When they can afford the $10,000 Picasso, they want the one that is $40,000. This allows them to not have to do anything or spend any money.
- The jury is still out on this one, but it is looking like the most succesful people in this business are hard core. Soft on the outside but when you cross them, they beat you up. If you like the art, you do not leave until you have put down the money.