CONSIGNMENT ART DEALS MAY BE STEALS
After five years of brokering artists and selling their works from the confines of her condo and car, Jennifer Balcos went brick-and-mortar last October. The self-described art advisor needed a physical space to showcase the fine art she sells.
“It was time to give all [these artists] a platform where things could be hung and exposed—and a place for shows and parties,” says the Buckhead resident. “Those things are hard to do if you don’t have a setting.”
Having a cozy 1,800-square-foot space also allows Balcos room to showcase art that’s on consignment. Just like fine furnishings, clothing and accessories, art is another commodity that’s recycled for resale, though Balcos says not many Atlanta area outlets dabble in it.
“That’s where I stand out,” she says. “A lot of galleries won’t accept art on consignment, but people do want fresh looks every year, so the idea is becoming more trendy.”
Consigners bring Balcos the art for a variety of reasons. Homeowners who are downsizing often find a particular piece won’t physically fit or blend into the decor of a new place. People may inherit works they’re not fond of. Whatever the reason, if it’s fine, documented art, Balcos will consider it. Consignments are offered with a 50-50 split and a one-year contract.
“I’ve had pieces from 19th century artists, midcentury oil paintings and African sculpture, with prices from $1,250 to $5,000, though I’ve received some as high as $30,000,” she says. “Even though I mainly broker with 20 artists, you don’t have to be an artist to sell something here.”
Balcos, who has an interior designer’s background, has also begun to accept select furniture and decor pieces that double as a backdrop for the artwork while waiting for their next owners. “Every piece you see here will be vintage; nothing is new or mass produced, though you might find something with a vintage body covered in a new fabric. Each piece I source has to resemble a piece of artwork; it should be unique.”
Among the finds treasure hunters might discover are a Vladimir Kagan kidney-shaped sofa in faux leather ($13,500), a 1970s Falcon chair ($1,250) or a midcentury modern cocktail table. “Right now, the midcentury movement is huge, but I what I really love is finding things you don’t see everywhere,” she says.
The consignment side of the business also affords Balcos plenty of surprises. “You never know what someone will bring through the door. It’s like Christmas every week.”
Jennifer Balcos Gallery
22B E. Andrews Drive N.W. 30305
Atlanta-based writer and editor contributing to a number of local and state-wide publications. Instructor in Georgia State’s Communication department and Emory’s Continuing Education division.