ANY art collector knows that sometimes you can fall out of love with the art you bought years ago. Minds change, tastes evolve. What to do then about these artworks taking up wall or storage space? Discard them? Give them away for free? Or try to sell them via an auction house?
The just-launched Singapore website Fickle Walls offers you a simple DIY solution.
The site allows you to sell the works yourself at a price you think fair. Photograph the artworks and send them to the site. If the work is in fair to excellent condition, Fickle Walls will list it for free.
In the event that the work finds a buyer, the site takes 10 per cent of the selling price - or 20 per cent if you opt for its concierge service. If the work doesn't find a buyer, you don't pay a cent.
There are a few caveats.
Notably, the site accept only works priced below S$5,000. It provides only local shipping. And the buyer has three working days to decide whether he or she wants to keep it - in other words, the buyer can change his or her mind after seeing the work in the flesh.
But despite these caveats, Fickle Walls still presents a viable alternative to the auction route which, in any event, is not always available.
Most auction houses tend to select only strong works by blue-chip artists valued above S$10,000. Lower-priced works just don't produce enough margin for auction houses to make it worth their while.
Fickle Walls was founded by Yuen Yee Foong, a marketing and communications professional and avid art collector.
She explains: "The idea for the site stemmed from my conversations with collector friends who have outgrown their art pieces and needed a place to sell them. Other than generic online marketplaces, flea markets, second-hand furniture shops or some art galleries, I don't think there is any dedicated platform in Singapore for pre-loved, low- to mid-priced art."
As the website was launched only last month, there are only 26 paintings for sale. But a few works by notable artists have been priced to sell.
For instance, four small but attractive pieces by veteran painter Christine Mak are available for between S$350 and S$1,000.
Similarly, three small works by veteran artist Tung Yue Nang are going for S$400 each.
The priciest work on the site is a 2002 Peh Eng Seng painting of Chinatown priced at S$4,500.
There are also works by South-east Asian artists such as Yayat Surya (Indonesia), Tran Chat (Vietnam) and Ko Maung Win Hla (Myanmar) selling from S$190 to S$1,000.
Notably, not all the works are in excellent condition, and the site lets buyers know if the work has moderate wear and tear.
But Ms Yuen thinks some artworks are so precious, they can still be appreciated by other collectors despite their less-than-perfect condition: "By rehoming the art, it gets a new lease of life and can be enjoyed all over again."