How to Use Social Media to Create an Art Collection, According to Jean-David Malat

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Jean-David Malat is one of the most powerful men in art. At the age of 43, the Paris-born, London-dweller has built up such a fierce reputation as a tastemaker in contemporary art it is said that he can make or break an artist with the nod of the head. Listing Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kate Moss and Madonna as clients and friends, he’s also known as “the best-connected man in London.”

But here’s the thing. Unlike many stuffy galleries and curators, Malat credits one thing with helping him stay ahead of the game and getting to where he is today: social media. From Instagram to Snapchat, Malat trawls the web looking for upcoming talent, and says social media is fast democratizing a once elitist world.

In addition to works by established artists, his brand new venture JD Malat Gallery is launching on June 11 with a 17-piece collection by Henrik Uldalen, a self-taught painter who Malat discovered on Instagram. What this means is that if you want to start an art collection, with a bit of patience and a couple of apps, you could be snapping up future stars before the art galleries get there.

To meet him, Jean-David is as affable and personable as his grey Ozwald Boateng suits are sharp, and as the director of a London gallery he has has done everything from sell Banksys to own a Picasso. Now that he’s going it alone with JD Malat Gallery we asked for the lowdown on how to use social media to create your own show-stopping art collection.

Some social media platforms are a goldmine for finding new artists. Others aren’t so good. Instagram is an ideal platform because it’s so well-suited to art – it’s so visual by its very nature. It tends to attract younger artists also, which is exciting because you get to see so much raw talent. Instagram’s grid allows an artist to curate their own work in a really interesting way.

I tend to steer clear of Twitter because it’s often less visual. Facebook is great for seeing an artist’s community. I mean, you’ve got to have a sense of discretion – you can ‘like’ their artist page, but friending them personally straight away probably isn’t the best move. Snapchat gives another glimpse into a less filtered personality. You shouldn’t ignore channels like Tumblr, as it has some really tightly-knit artistic communities and a lot of promising talent.

One of the things we are doing differently is that we eliminated composition and image construction, abstract expressionists and modern artists leaned heavily in composition and construction of the image, their thinking which was the thinking of the time was very much based in Cartesian logic and of course art had to represent its time. We can see this in Kline for example, but this is valid in Rothko, Motherwell, Newman and to a degree in all of them, Kline used to construct his images with a careful planning beforehand, in fact more times than few he sketched compositions in little plates and then used a projector to enlarge them in the big canvases, he could take a year deliberating if one brushstroke should be painted or not, and all this is visible in his paintings, although apparently brush strokes were painted quickly and with a sense of spontaneity only the actual gesture was done so, because the planning of it, were was it going to be and how, was planned meticulously. This deliberation is visible in the finished work, time is an element in a painting and time in Kline’s work is a rapid gesture done with lots of consideration, in a whole, time in Kline’s painting is long and composition denotes planning and deliberated decision making. What I do is different, my paintings are not constructed following composition guidelines, I do not make previous sketches, paintings are constructed in the act itself of painting without deliberation and in one single brushstroke. Impulse is the important element in my work, by eliminating composition and logical image construction, images deriving from my process are faithful results of impulse, the speed present in their making depicts the speed present in our time, which is by the way a hell of a lot faster than the time people lived in the 1950’s. By abandoning planning and deliberation in the painting process I was able to rid painting from composition and doubt, what we see is the true image of impulse. In the pictures, the largest painting I’ve done so far, it has 3 meters by 4 meters. artecontemporanea #artist #artabstrait #abstractart #abstraction #contemporaryabstract #contemporaryabstraction #abstraction

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The best way to start looking is with hashtags. As I mentioned, following hashtags of artistic styles is a good approach. Now that you can also follow hashtags on Instagram, this is even more pertinent – if you are interested in hyperrealism, follow #hyperrealisticart or similar hashtags. If you’re into abstraction, try #abstractartwork. Once you spend a bit of time searching, you’ll find yourself surrounded by some fascinating work.

If you just start browsing well-known art magazines or artists, you’re less likely to find someone who’s truly undiscovered. Have a look at the size of the artist’s following as well as the quality of their art. Also be sure to check out other artists they follow – if you like their work, you may like their taste, too.

Pay attention to the details. It’s amazing what you can learn about a person by studying their art. Common themes and subjects, favored mediums – all of these elements inform the viewer. I like to foster a good working relationship with the artists I promote, and if you feel a positive connection with a painting or a sculpture, I think it bodes well for how you may relate offline.

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