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Olyvia Kwok, Art Investor: Predictions For The Art World

Until now all our articles have been researched and written in-house. But today we would like to welcome Meghan Taylor who sent us an article based on her conversation with art investment guru Olyvia Kwok. Meghan asked if we might be interested in publishing it and we of course said yes… so over to you Meghan…

It would be an understatement to say that the art world suffered when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Although there have always been expansions and contractions, art galleries, museums and auction houses were faced with challenges like no other.

Even artists who relied on exhibitions, workshops and sales to generate an income saw their mental health suffer and became extremely anxious about their future during the worst months.

“The situation has greatly impacted my mental and physical health thereby it’s become challenging to get myself be creative at this time,” said one of the respondents to the COVID impact report carried out by UK Arts & Health Hub.

According to the study carried out by UK Arts & Health Hub, 63% of those questioned had financial concerns and 66% felt there were less opportunities due to the impact of Covid

Yet despite these enormous challenges, the art industry appears to have turned a corner and could re-emerge from the crisis stronger, more energetic and more innovative than before. To gain a better insight, we spoke to renowned art investor, Olyvia Kwok.

Olyvia Kwok, if you’re unfamiliar with the name, first appeared on the art scene at the age of just 22, and since then she has continued her success and set up Willstone Management, offering her clients bespoke art investment advice. She opened her first gallery in London, and an art fund in Switzerland for a private bank, following the gallery’s success. Kwok is known for her ability to accurately predict art trends, such as her recognising an increased demand for impressionist paintings in 2008, thus avoiding the financial crisis of that year. She continues to expand her business, operating in different countries across the globe, moulding herself into the renowned investor that she is today.

Her knowledge of the art world is highly respected among her peers and today she’s kindly agreed to share some of her insights with us…

We’ll see greater diversity within the art world

The art world has often been elitist, neglecting thousands of talented artists that didn’t fit the traditional mould. Those widely discriminated against such as female, non-white or LGBTQ artists have often suffered most, with their art being largely being forgotten by history.

We’re not only speaking historically here. According to a report from the Tate Modern (2014-2015), just 15% of the artists in their permanent collection were women.

This looks set to change this year, thanks to increased awareness, shifting attitudes and the Black Lives Matter movement.

As a result, the art world will become a more inclusive place, feature a diverse range of artists of different ages, nationalities, cultures and ethnic background. We’re likely to see more diverse exhibitions similar to Olyvia’s much anticipated New York exhibition in 2019 that celebrated the friendship between Warhol and Basquiat. This includes the exciting upcoming virtual exhibition, ‘Art in Flux: Reclaimed’ hosted in collaboration with the Arts Council England which takes place on 31st March 2021 via Zoom.

Contemporary art will become more about the individual

Over the past few months, we’ve seen a resurgence of the Pop Art genre- the genre made famous for going against the status quo back in the 1950s. As art continues to reach new audiences and digital technology use expands, we’re likely to see more of this type of non-traditional art emerge in coming years.

Phillips had an evening auction of what I call ‘short and sweet’ last week,” commented Olyvia, “All the art was fairly lower value; young, hip, trendy, pop culture, which I think is one of the biggest and fastest growing markets right now.”

We’re also likely to see a growth of digital art forms which continue to grow in value, thanks in part to the recent pandemic.

Digital technology will continue to breathe new life into the industry

Social distancing rules and closures meant that art galleries, museums and auction houses were forced to rethink their usual approach to marketing and embrace the 21st century with open arms.

 “So, you can use Zoom, FaceTime or even specially designed apps to bid if you can’t be there in person,” says Olivia, “This will help ‘consumer market confidence’ to return, especially after the summer.”

Galleries are turning to digital technology, encourage customers to view the work ‘virtually’

But it’s not just consumer confidence that will grow. With the appearance of digital exhibitions and sales, online auctions and innovative marketing approaches, audiences that wouldn’t previously have visited an art gallery or auction house can now connect with the art world and even consider investing in a piece of their own.

The art market will spring back in 2021

Despite the challenges of recent months and economic fluctuations, the art world looks set to return stronger and more vibrant than ever before. Revived and invigorated by innovation and new ways of creating and selling art, it will be an exciting time to invest.

The art market is like the stock market. It’s had a steady growth in the last 2-3 years, but now it’s reacting to all the recent uncertainties, i.e., COVID, Brexit, the US elections,” says Olyvia. “Overall, the market is fine – it has had a little pause. But as soon as America is OK to go – then the market will act accordingly.”


Despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, the art world looks set to return stronger than before in 2021. As ever, our sense of creativity and innovation will hopefully begin to ensure that art is more diverse and less elitist.

The digital world has helped bring down the barriers and open the art world to a much wider audience. This is forcing the traditional galleries to rethink their strategies as they compete with the more open and forward thinking competition and that can only be a positive step for the future.

About Meghan Taylor – Meghan is an emerging freelance writer who’s crazy about everything and anything related to history, travel, arts and culture. If you’d like to get in contact with her, simply drop her line at [email protected]

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