Today we have been speaking with Andrew Ewbank, who is a Partner and Auctioneer at Ewbank’s, a leading regional auction house in Surrey.
What have you been up to during lockdown?
Working, both from home and at the-saleroom, albeit behind closed doors. That and looking after the kids and in free time taking some time for some much needed work on the garden!
Is there anything in particular you have learned from the last few months?
Personally, what is really important, quality time. For a work perspective That the auction industry is perhaps more robust than I had perhaps given it credit for, and that demand for quality goods on the secondary market endures.
How do you think the art industry will change, going forward?
The continued growth of online sales. Not so much a change, as if you have the right structures in place it was always as massive part of what we have always done, but the change is the willingness of buyers to trust in both the technology and the art establishments ability to provide unique and beautiful items remotely. Our online sales were typically around 60%, the move to 100% since the end of March has been seamless. And demand is high.
Do you have any advice that you would give to people entering the industry?
I know that this is a difficult time to be looking to break into the industry, while online sales have been high, the lack of consignments during lockdown meant that time was lost and job opportunities were frozen for many. My advice would be to not give up, persevere, the market will and is starting to improve I hope. Also to use this time while you search to increase your knowledge and skill set, be it through online learning or your own research.
Are there any art organisations that you have been particularly impressed by in the way that they have evolved and responded to the current situation?
The museum sector has been very hard hit by the lack of footfall, thankfully the doors will be open again soon and I hope many will prevail. Locally we have supported a number of such charitable business for a number of years. The online presence, including through social media, of companies like The Watts Gallery in Compton has been fantastic during lockdown, bringing there fantastic artworks to the public in their own homes. Following our Rainbow Charity Auction in April which raised over £21,000 for the NHS, Ewbank’s will be holding a Charity sale to support another fantastic local Gallery, The Lightbox in Woking. A timed sale of original artworks will be held in July hosted via our website. Organisations like this with the foresight to organise such wonderful fundraising activities at such a difficult time have my upmost admiration.