Nick Knows Art... and has moved from London to Austin to know and grow more!

Londoner Campbell recognizes Austin as the US' most dynamic, up-and-coming art city and wants to be part of it's future

Article by Sarah Ivens

Photography by Skylar Reeves

Originally published in Austin Lifestyle

What made you move to Austin?

First, on a personal level, back in early 2021, a red-headed Texan [fiancée Kelly Frye] introduced me to Austin, and I have been intrigued ever since. Secondly, from a professional point of view, Austin’s art scene is small, but with huge potential for me to grow my business, Campbell Art Advisory.

What do you love about Austin from an aesthetic angle?

It feels like the entire city is a charming, leafy suburb, even if you are a few blocks from Downtown. Ancient Live Oaks create a constant canopy over streets that are filled with a patchwork of homes of all designs. The architecture is varied:  big bold contemporary boxes are nestled next to mid-century gems and sweet little Victorian cottages, each with their own identity. I suppose the adage ‘Keep Austin Weird’ is the thru line for this city and why so many people are moving here from all over the world. There is character and personality around every corner.

When buying art, how do you find a treasure? 

There is no hard and fast rule for finding a treasured piece of art, that’s part of the joy of it. Whether it’s at a graduate show, an international art fair, or simply walking the streets of an unknown city, you can find treasures everywhere. However, from a non-emotional, rational analysis, to truly decide if a work will continue to be a treasure, I try to answer the following questions:

1. Aesthetic - Does it visually appeal to me now and will that appeal last? 
2. Originality - Is the execution unique or is the message new? 
3. Past and Future - Where did the artist study? What awards have they won? Equally, what shows do they have coming up, and where is their next residency? 
4. Price - How is the work priced when bearing in mind all of the above? 

Only once I have assessed these can I determine how much of a treasure a work is. 

In terms of where to find these works, pre-pandemic I went to, on average, about 25 art fairs worldwide each year. Times have changed, and as a result of COVID-19, almost all artworks at fairs are now also represented online, so I don’t have to attend nearly as many. Instagram has also become a very useful resource where one can discover interesting talent. I  try to share works I  find interesting on a regular basis at my handle @CampbellArtAdvisory.

Personally, my collection is totally eclectic, which I think is indicative of who I am as a person and the journey I’ve been on since I began collecting 16 years ago.

Any upcoming trends in the art scene for 2022?

We are going to encounter a continued blurring of lines between traditional roles of art advisors, auction houses, gallery exhibitions and primary and secondary market sales. Advisors will host more pop-ups, as I plan on doing this year around the US, and specifically within Texas. Auctions will expand their gallery arms. Mega-galleries will collaborate to take large private collections away from auction houses. No doubt, the art world is in an interesting state of flux. 

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