IT IS NEVER LATE!!
JOIN THE FAN OF BUYING AND SELLING ART AND IN THE MEANTIME CREATING YOUR OWN COLLECTION.
THAT IS MY STORY THAT COULD EASILY BE YOURS.
VASILIS ZENETZIS (1935-2016) THE ARTIST WHO IMMORTALISED ATHENS FROM 1970s TO 2000s
OIL ON CANVAS, 60 X 90 CM,
September 1983, London
We arrived in London in mid-August 1983 followand then at Sotheby’s for the first time. My answer was spontaneous and truthful.
“Wherever there is money involved, there is money to be made!” There were no plans for art and auctions, but I was always on the lookout for something different to teaching or something to supplement teaching and enrich my life. London offered opportunities, but which ones? I liked antiques and I loved art. Following those few local and major auctions and seeing the hundreds of thousands of pounds changing hands and the items sold, I hastily concluded that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to be a part of that action. I particularly loved the adrenalin that flowed in the auction process, I loved the theatre of bidding, starting, stopping, restarting and playing games with serious money. I, as an observer, became hooked, magnetized; I was involved, and yet I was an onlooker. Much more than that, I loved the items that caused all the drama and theatre: antique furniture, fine art, porcelain, jewellery, carpets and all the other areas of collecting. Gravity! It was like duck taking to water. I am a man of adventure acting on impulse and instinct. I jump into new experiences. I dip in the deep without being a good swimmer. I struggle and fight in stormy waters, but somehow manage miraculously to make it to the other side. The bruising is temporary, the injury inconsequential, the damage soon forgotten, and reverses of luck inexplicably more and more satisfying as they gradually become a distant memory in the face of successes. Investing in art is great but you need dedication, determination and guts to succeed, especially when the going gets tough. A serious attitude to art, a serious hard-working ethos, plenty of courage and stamina to last the journey of a lifetime and perhaps generations, are required. Little did I know that, soon enough after October 1983, I was going to be a player in the fine art arena. It never crossed my mind that I was going to trade art all over the world, was going to experience the ups and downs of dealing and was going to trust all in art. I never anticipated the joys and jubilations, the anxieties and worries, the disappointments and heartaches of auctions and private purchases and sales. Everything happened so quickly. It was so unexpected and surreal. Yet, it happened, it lifted me off my feet at such a fast pace, and that pace I set myself. How did it all happen? I still wonder! I am still unsure how I managed so many things simultaneously in such a short time! Miraculous! If investing your hard earned money is a worry, especially in stocks these days, you will read about an alternative that will give you a lot more satisfaction, a greater personal involvement and hopefully better returns on any money invested. No matter how much money you start with, where and when, it will be enough to invest, to experience the joy and satisfaction of buying art and hopefully see it rewarding you.
Our first investment was in a painting, an omen of what was to following a year’s study in the USA. The plan was to return to Athens which had been our home for the last three years and where I had a good teaching job and connections. My wife, originally from London, was expecting our first child and the idea was to have the birth in London and then return to Athens. We were poor or rather penniless, jobless and homeless, living temporarily with my in-laws. Arriving in London unemployed, without a penny in my pocket and living on charity was a situation I hated. It was a shock and a rude awakening. It caused me considerable psychological problems, plenty of hard thinking and soul searching. More so, it was job searching for September and settling into a more permanent situation that concerned me. Schools were closed for the summer and jobs were few and far apart. I was a mature man in my mid-thirties. I had worked hard all my life, and suddenly I was in London homeless and jobless, although with a home and a job in Athens waiting for me. However, I was determined to make it in London temporarily and until the baby came. Working hard in any job had always helped me to survive. It was survival time and another new beginning. Life had prepared me well for that! A childhood friend and relative was already in London trying to make ends meet and wondering how to make a living. Continue working in the housing industry or venture into the art auction business, which he knew nothing about? We visited a couple of local auctions and a few major ones in central London. It was an awakening! I was impressed! I loved the trading and items sold, but what interested me most were the huge sums of money exchanging hands. “What do you think?” my friend asked after following the first few auctions locally
August 1979, Athens Destiny is a powerful supernatural unknown, which I believe nobody can escape. With that strong belief accepted as a fact in my consciousness, I could not escape my art journey. If the powers from above had decided that I was to be involved in art, who was I to reject such a wonderful present? The truth is, I am grateful as ever to them. Living in Athens for a few years was possibly the best time of my life. Athens is an amalgamation of ancient and modern, a city of good living, great food and unparalleled entertainment in the famous ‘bouzoukia’ establishments. Superb quality of life, if you can afford it!
In 1979 marriage arrived unexpectedly but very welcome and my partner was new to Athens and all that constitutes the immortal city. Plaka and the surrounding areas of the Plaka market was a magical mélange of a place, a mix of local and luxury shops, mobile souvlaki stalls and restaurants, tourist trade and local trade, fruit stalls, food stalls, antique and junk shops. What a world of wonders, of interesting wares and characters! Plaka was a bazaar of the old and new, the cheap and worthless, valuable and priceless, ephemeral and unforgettable; bustling with all manner of people, honest traders and questionable characters, all trying to make a living. This is what makes Plaka and Monastiraki so special and unique. A world of two and a half thousand years standing proudly at the feet of the ancient and modern co-existing and magnetizing all who come here. Miraculous world indeed! Whenever one walked those areas of Athens of thirty years ago, the joy was contagious and inescapable. Where else could I show my wife the best of Athens? It was a bright, beautiful Sunday morning in August 1979! Most Athenians were on holiday in the countryside and Athens was left to the tourists and the few who could not afford a holiday to the islands and resorts. Athens is at its best when abandoned by its inhabitants. We walked through the centre, past the Hilton Hotel marvelling at the fashionable Kolonaki shops and buildings and high society sitting and buzzing at the cafes as early as eleven in the morning, and then on to Syntagma Square towards Plaka. It was a stroll I still cherish. Reaching Plaka was a new experience for my young wife but also for me. I saw and enjoyed Plaka through new lenses. I saw the beauty of it from a different angle that morning. Who knows why? I guess the new girl in my life!