Josh Flagg, a top Los Angeles real estate agent and breakout star on Bravo's Million Dollar Listing LA, developed much of his taste in art growing up around his grandparents' incredible collections. "I don't buy on speculation," he says. "I buy things that speak to me. My grandmother, Edith, told me when you look at a piece of art it has to talk to you. If you can’t have a conversation with a piece, there’s no sense in buying it." Edith also taught Flagg early on to appreciate all art – not just the big names. "I have very eclectic taste because of the art I grew up with. If you think about it, a lot of the people who are blue-chip artists today were unknown at some point. Where would Andy Warhol be without somebody who was willing to sponsor him or take the plunge?" We asked Flagg to select his favourite popular and upcoming artists featured in Fast Forward: New Directions in Contemporary Art.
DEVIN LEONARDI, WAVELAND. ESTIMATE: $4,000-6,000.
"The historical nature of David Leonardi's paintings really draws you in. As each painting is a photo-realist amalgamation of a number of real historical photographs, everything you see is from life, but from many different lives or scenes. It’s an incredibly thoughtful result.”
JOSH SMITH, UNTITLED. ESTIMATE: $3,000-5,000.
"Josh Smith's work feels like looking at hieroglyphs, but made from the letters or symbols of the English language."
HUGH SCOTT-DOUGLASS, WHITE WASH PAINTING. ESTIMATE $5,000-7,000.
"Although I have always been drawn to more figurative art, I have found that process-based art can be beautiful. Scott-Douglass is letting all the seams show – every brushstroke and construction. The result feels very sculptural and entirely non-painterly. With this work, the artist isn’t even using paint, only gesso, only the base. It’s like just putting up the dry-wall on a building and leaving it as is."