Woodbury House Gallery – we hope it is what it says it is

Modern art and investment might as well be the same word as things go today. There doesn’t seem to be a week that doesn’t go by that we don’t hear about some art scandal or fraud that has duped tax payers or individuals out of millions? no probably billions these days….

In the world of art studios that have cropped up all over major cities in both the established and developing world we are starting to see a trend where the most unlikely individuals are getting behind art like never before. They come from distinct pasts, no formal art education, and with a history of not so clean business practices under their belt to jump into the art gallery and art studio world with flair and resolve to make it rich.

In our travels through Soho in London we came across one such studio where we are just not to sure what the end game is. Here we point a few items of interests. Due know, that we are not accusing this business of unlawful acts or practices, nor the owners, we just are concerned with their well documented investment, boiler room schemes that have caused people to lose millions of pounds.

Given that art and especially modern art is full of outlandish claims and investment proposals we thought it best to bring to our readers attention.

Ok here is the premise…. you have a group of individuals that know how to sell the “golden opportunities” whether it be carbon credits that failed to deliver, undeveloped land for investment to the public that was a scam, £3.5million diamond scam, setup pressure call centers that disappear overnight, and tax and legal haven business licenses in foreign countries that operate in the UK but are registered in Dubai… and they need to find the next shell game. So why not look at art and the highly speculative art modern art world.

Between February 2012 and February 2013 the company sold 513,779 carbon credits to the public for investment for £3,191,054 generating a profit of at least £2,369,008. Investors were offered ‘market leading prices’ and that they would ‘make money’ by selling the credits to businesses investing in Brazil. In respect of one project, credits available at 45 pence each were bought by the company for £1.90 each and sold to investors for between £5.75 and £7 each.

https://www.investacheck.co.uk/alert-list/

Plots were sold to investors for between £4,500 and £15,000 each.

At least £3.3 million was raised from the public of which some £1.4 million was paid out in commission to sales staff including a Mr Michael Doohan and a Mr Steven Sulley. Additionally payments were made to Mr Christopher Shipton, the registered director of the four companies, totalling some £627,000.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/complete-land-banking-scam-wound-up-in-the-high-court

If you set up an art gallery that, lets say has acquired or says that it has access to a few of the 100+ paintings of one semi-notorious modern artist that is being promoted as another Jackson Pollock and investment fund of “blue chip” art you might have the beginnings of a long game investment art scam.

This is basically what the Woodbury House Galley in Soho has done. They have done it well and are promoting it as huge potential. Knowing the other investment schemes the founders have been part in the last 10 years or so there are some red flags for any investor to be aware of.

First, we have already asked the question if Richard Hambleton’s art is worth all the hype? We don’t think so. We understand how the story is being told and how investors, who often know very little to nothing about the artist and his struggles, are eager to jump onto the “potential” future resale value of his works.

Here you can see how the Maddox Gallery quickly puts up a popup on the Richard Hambleton page to prompt your enquiry.

In fact to date, there about 30 galleries that we can count that claim to have his work in their collections.

Secondly, The owners and backers of Woodbury House Gallery are of interesting investment pasts and the premise of investing in a part of modern art portfolio as a future investment, while very viable and done by thousands of companies, leaves us to wonder if it is all too good to be true.

So you have a location in Soho all dressed up and open to limited appointments and the story begins.

Steven Sulley is now a specialist in discovering and guiding you to invest “blue chip artists”. Artist that he believes have the potential to become household names. Now that is a pretty bold claim. Given all the great artist in world history and how great artist compete for our attention of the latest Kim Kardashian post, it is quite wondrous that he can spot the next artist that might be discussed over the dinner table with house guests.

Here is a sponsored, “purchased”, op-editorial piece in UK Investor online magazine as how R.H. might be the answer to your Covid-19 financial woes.

Is is a bit strange that it is another incredible investment opportunity. This has been said and heard before by carbon credit, property, and exotic and exclusive diamonds.

Well, to their credit they clearly say and show in the article that you only have to do some art pieces, spend time with other artists that fly around anyone famous, and then survive lots of hardship, all to have a profitable investment future.

Third, art is totally speculative. The art market is not based on need or even admiration. It is only behind weapons and drugs to laundering money. It has been proven time and time again that it is a sector full of legal loopholes and tax evasion schemes to make the rich even richer. And when we say rich we are talking about older white men as we have seen documented more and more.

Finally, Steven Sulley has been acquitted on the investment fraud cases brought against him.

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/may/29/trial-abandoned-because-expert-witness-had-no-expertise

So we end this by saying to potential art investors, buyers, admirers, and artist… Be aware. Get educated and understand who and what you are dealing with.

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