AT a time of rock bottom interest rates, art is supposed to be an investment category worthy of consideration.
And the trick with any form of investment is to buy at the bottom of the market.
That is one reason why student exhibitions are popular.
No one I know can afford a Damien Hirst or a Tracey Emin these days, but what about when they were just starting out and their names meant nothing outside the family circle?
A college artwork bought for a song might now fetch an auction sum worthy of a fanfare.
If this idea appeals, get along tonight to Commercial Union House – that grey building which straddles half of Newcastle’s Pilgrim Street like a concrete leviathan – and make your way to the third floor.
There you will find the B&D Studios where, from 6pm, the gavel will fall on work by students and staff in the fine art department of Northumbria University.
“The auction is open to all and a fantastic opportunity to purchase unique art work before these student artists are discovered by the outside world,” says Barry Nicholson of the university’s faculty of arts, design and social sciences.
He adds: “Many of our graduating students have gone on to establish themselves professionally in the region, as well as nationally and internationally.
“Will you be able to spot the stars of the future?”
For sale will be drawings, paintings, photographs, prints and sculptures.
While most of the lots comprise work made at the university, some work by invited artists will also be offered for sale by seasoned North East auctioneer Jim Railton.
The purpose of the auction is to raise money for the 2013 Undergraduate Visual Art Degree Show in June.
The students want to do a professional job as they apply the final veneer to their university careers.
There will be exhibition catalogues to produce and marketing to be done.
Barry Nicholson says money will also be needed to transport work to London in July for an exhibition called Free Range, featuring the best of work produced in higher education establishments over the year.
There will be 120 lots offered at tonight’s auction with some of the work created by the students you see here: Andrew Potts, who is from Newcastle, Lily Mellor, from Liverpool, and Chris France, from Milton Keynes.
Remember the names. One day one or all of them might be filling major galleries across the world.
For more information and to view work due to be sold, go to www.nufineartauction.weebly.com
Meanwhile, take note of this important advice from the young artists. Only cash or cheques will be accepted tonight as card payments cannot be processed. Small price to pay for a masterpiece.