‘Buy something you love and would be happy to live with’ – ArtAttack meets Nick Campbell

Over the last few years Nick Campbell has built a reputation as London’s go to consultant for finding artworks under £10,000.

After studying History of Art and Arts Management at Oxford Brookes University, Nick worked at some high-end galleries such as Emmanuel Perrotin, Haunch of Venison, Victoria Miro, White Cube and Christies in New York. Since 2013 Nick has dedicated all of his time to developing Narcissus Arts and it’s sister company, Narcissus Interiors. In 2014 Spears Magazine chose Nick as the UK’s best art consultant under 35.

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Nick Campbell, Founder of Narcissus Arts

I had the chance to speak to Nick about Narcissus Arts and the state of London’s emerging art scene.

Have you always been interested in art?

I suppose I always had an interest in art and architecture from an early age but the pivotal moment came when, at the age of 16, I walked into an Art History class and was introduced to the genius of the Abstract Expressionists. For the first time, it was explained to me that art was not just about what was depicted on the canvas, but instead that there were artworks with various meanings and different interpretations. I guess for these reasons my interest in more Modern and Contemporary Art was born.

Tell us about Narcissus Arts?

Narcissus Arts is an art consultancy that I founded back in 2010, which I believe remains still to this day the only art consultancy in the UK to specialise in Art Under £10,000. The inspiration for the company came when I encountered an increasing number of acquaintances who had c. £5,000 to spend on art but a) didn’t know where to look, b) didn’t have the time to look and c) were a bit dubious of the art world. The more I looked into Art Consultants in the UK it occurred to me that there was no individual or company positioned to help buy art for people with such small budgets. 

Narcissus Arts now advises individuals and corporate collections around the world who have the desire and passion for buying/collecting art but are not fortunate in having large budgets. 

What would be your advice for someone looking to make their first serious art purchase / start a new collection?

The most important thing to remember when collecting is to buy something you love and would be happy to live with. Don’t be swayed by other people’s opinion’s or tales of money making potentials. If you are not going to enjoy seeing it every day, then I would suggest waiting for another opportunity. 

Remember also to gather as much information about the artist/artwork as possible. Understanding the work will greatly enhance your buying decisions. 

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What’s your pick of upcoming exhibitions?

There are plenty of exciting shows coming up throughout 2016 but here is my selection from just January. 

Electronic Superhighway at the Whitechapel Gallery is certainly top of my list. This remarkable show will focus on how Computer and Internet Technologies have impacted art and artists from the 1960’s to the present day.

CONDO – A collaborative exhibition by 24 young contemporary galleries across London. This great, exciting joint venture promises to have some interesting artworks by leading emerging artists. Also, possibly some good buying opportunities. 

Not an exhibition as such, but the London Art Fair is always worth a visit. I have purchased some excellent works there in the past. Even if you are not buying, there are plenty of lovely Modern and Contemporary works to peruse. 

Which artist have you discovered recently that left you particularly excited?

Personally, I felt the recent months leading up to Christmas were extremely disappointing when it came to finding new artistic talent. That being said, one artist that I did get excited about, and subsequently bought, was South African photographer Mikhael Subotzky. There are obvious connections that can be drawn to the great David Goldblatt’s work but one series in particular, ‘Retinal Shift’ really caught my eye. What makes these works interesting is the execution of the photograph; To distort the subject matter of the photographs, which are often highly charged and distressing, Subotzky then purposefully smashes the glass in front of the image resulting in an interesting new way of presenting documentary photography.      

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Mikhael Subotzky, Retinal Shift, Installation, South African National Gallery, 2012

What do you feel the London art scene is like for emerging artists?

I believe London remains a progressive city for Emerging artists to work in however increasing living and operating costs might start to push these artists out to more affordable national and international cities. London is fortunate in having a selection of world class Art Schools that are always going to produce excellent emerging artists; however I fear London might be at risk of forcing these artists out after they graduate. 

Have you got any future projects / plans lined up?

Last summer I launched a new sister company, Narcissus Interiors, which is a consultancy designed to help with more commercial projects i.e. Hotels, Restaurants, large residences, etc. My aim for 2016 is to expand both business’es and further their international development. 

– Harry Dougall

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