Photo: A custom pool installation concept by artist JD Shultz
A bit of perspective to start off
Given that this is a subjective topic as well as a cultural movement made fresh once again (so... still young and hard to pin down), we'll mostly focus on how this subject affects single-family home valuations. Afterall, Comps aside, it's about story. So while it may be hard to create historical value for your home, it is possible to commission legacy with our own hands. But more to the point here... as real estate transaction facilitators, how do we even begin to approach the subject when the opportunity comes up? First... a quick look at what we're talking about and why homeowner-inspired, custom art installations, themed permanently to a home may be more important to a transaction (and our business) than any temporary coat of paint could provide.
If you build it, they will come
Visit any attraction on the Las Vegas strip and you'll be taking in all sorts of visual wonders. In fact, the aesthetics might arguably be the main attraction for those seeking more color in their life. Afterall, your luck can be tried at nearly any motel, gas station (or even grocery store) miles outside of the glitz and glamor of the strip itself. So why do tourists the world over flock to the main drag, doling out their hard-earned capital to stay at or simply walk through any of the many resort casinos that make up the strip? It might just be the stimulation fueled by floor-to-ceiling, themed environmental art that collectively help define the rich culture there. Love it or hate it, you can feel it affect you and there's something there that artists and interior designers are also tapping into for the homeowner market.
It's a bit of an understood joke to say that no one looks up in movies (we don't often do it in life either)... that is unless you're a buyer being led through a prospective listing. In fact, it's difficult to imagine buyers being led through the Fourier of a beautiful house or room to room in an office environment without also imagining their eyes wandering toward the ceiling to fully take in the space. What if we could capture their awe in that moment of first reveal and even go so far as to create that feeling for the lifetime of the space (beyond the current owner)?
A custom, printed Plexiglas ceiling tile art installation by celebrity artist JD Shultz in the boardroom of Kobe Bryant and Jeff Stibel's new venture capital firm "Bryant & Stibel" in Malibu, CA
A movement fueled by patrons and celebrity culture alike
In a modern, bold and playful twist of color, Renaissance artist and philanthropist JD Shultz is drawing our eyes upward (in the case of this installation at Kobe Bryant and Jeff Stibel's new venture capital firm "Bryant & Stibel" in Malibu, CA). While not necessary to speak of the impact that such an installation has on an otherwise "traditional" boardroom ceiling, Mr. Shultz is himself an embedded installation in the culture-leadership coming out of California. As an "artist to the artists" one might say, his collectors include a myriad of celebrity influencers around the world and this has become an important side-note to emphasize the larger "movement" at hand in real estate.
"I love JD's art. His work is both inspiring and timeless. My entire family enjoys the bright and youthful ambiance his art brings to a room." - Will Smith (Actor/Musician)
All one has to do is follow the money and they'll see that today's patrons are deeply hungry to dip themselves into the sort of themed worlds that make any Disney or Universal space an attraction or any street like the Las Vegas strip a destination. And while the artist, style and technique may change to match the property owner/patron's legacy or vision, the principle is the same... art is on the move towards a more permanent fixture in our homes.
What's driving the movement?
The truth of the matter is that in our busy lives, we seldom look up and what's worse is that this tendency has permeated into our homes. At some point, we went from the ornate opulence of commissioned frescoes and classical architectural spaces to being thrilled at finding a home with crown molding. This isn't to be harsh, it is what it is, but this may be at the heart of this movement to draw our attention up, down and around. It's at very least the blank canvass with which artists have to work.
And as the pace of the world accelerates, this reinvigorated pivot in art and design (towards a sort of private, themed safe-haven away from it all) is gaining momentum. It has already breached the barriers of the ultra-luxurious casinos and resorts, is moving through the celebrity home market and is currently entering into the single-family housing market. But it's important to remember that while personalized, themed environments are an interesting exploration into what can be done to make your property stand out, the concept is clearly rooted in history.
One doesn't need to look hard to see and feel the impact that art patrons have long had on our art and cultural legacy (think the Sistine Chapel). In fact, given architectural and interior designs' important contributions dawning back to the earliest beginnings of structure and dwelling, it could be said that art migrating from the ceilings and floors to the constraint of framed squares on the walls could, in itself, be the shorter story in design history, opening the question... where do we go from here?
Why is this important to RE professionals?
So, all of this is a lead up to the prediction that this "freeform canvass" or "spatial art" movement (if it's still not too early to label this dramatic, modern shift to celebrity-fueled, everyday home art installations) is, if not an influential push, is certainly one that has already seen the light of day. And as this becomes more prevalent in wider markets, the question becomes "what effect will this have on property valuations?" At least... if you're interested in moving Kobe Bryant and Jeff Stibel from their Malibu locale. In a broader stroke, what would permanent installations mean to home valuations we work with?
Classical architectural revivals done well or Tahitian-themed landscaping that frames a custom, tropical pool certainly affect valuations of a property, if not merely for restoration or maintenance considerations. And while this is understood, it is unimaginable for an agent or homeowner to skip an opportune moment to boast a home's previous owner if that owner was a celebrity of moderate to significant acclaim - so why wouldn't custom art installations by celebrity artists have similar impact on a home's valuation?
Some things to consider as we look ahead
This is a lot to take in, but we wanted to keep you in the loop on this and other, important real estate market trends as we watch them unfold. Especially given that the Spatial Art movement appears to be taking root and that it may significantly impact home valuations around the corner. Of course, we wouldn't seek to define the art in this article, nor would we be inclined to exclude from it many other fantastic forms of expression that have been infused into residential and commercial spaces over the past century. Instead, the question we bring to the table is... how can these custom installations in single-family homes affect dynamic housing market valuations in the way historical certifications might?
This is to say... if a home's list value is ultimately based on perceived value (what someone will walk up and pay for it in the end), then how much more is this the case when you begin to add elements of a celebrity art auction into the mix? As real estate specialists, our clients will be looking to us to demonstrate leadership and drive the conversation. You may not be an art critic, but your listings have always required a bit of story-telling and salesmanship. It's certainly something to keep an eye on...
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