Trade Talks – Adam Prout of Tribal Art London

Adam Prout of Tribal Art LondonAdam Prout has been joint organiser of the Tribal Art London fair for several years and is an expert in tribal and ethnographic art. 

What areas/items are currently selling well?

Oceanic art is selling well at the moment, Fijian and Tongan clubs as well as the top end Australian Aboriginal.

In African art, utilitarian objects like headrests and stools continue to sell for good prices.

What do you think are the current ‘good investment’ items – ones to watch?

Adornment. You can still buy fabulous pieces of South African beadwork, for example, for under £200

What antiques do you have at home?

Pretty much everything in my home is antique, as well as my home itself!

What do you think will be the antiques of the future?

Probably early and quality technology (the phone I am typing this on?)

How is the industry changing and what will it look like in the future?

Everything is much more online these days, of course, I think VR (virtual reality) will change how we buy eventually. But I think we have seen all the changes we are going to see in our world for a while.

Tell us some trade secrets – what are your top tips for buying?

Touch things, hold them (not easy when online)

What antiques/artworks would you buy if money were no object?

20th century art – amongst my favourite artists are Brancusi, Braque, Moore, and Hepworth.

You’re down to your last 50 quid – what antiques/art would you buy?

Anything I could get more for… and you’re up and running again!

Where are your favourite antique hunting destinations?

I still love antiques markets in the UK. Small ones like Portobello and large ones like Newark, I pretty much try and go to them all regularly

What are some of the biggest mistakes that buyers make?

Not handling the objects before they buy them. (Online) that horrible feeling when you lift it out of the box.

Do antiques appeal to young buyers and, if not, how can the industry reach out to them?

In tribal there is some interest from younger people, I have been trading 30 years and in last five or so there has been more interest than ever from younger, fresh-faced new buyers. This year at Tribal Art London we’ve initiated a day of talks and events about tattooing, which is attracting great interest from a young contingent. It’s looking good.

Find out more about this year’s Tribal Art London, taking place at the Mall Galleries from September 6-9.

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