Michael Jacobsen is a Professional Company Director, Consultant and Business Mentor. His work has been instrumental in companies gaining funding of over US$105m in the past 8 years. He co-Founded and was Founding Co-Producer globally of Dirty Dancing –The Classic story on Stage, now recognized as one of the most successful theatrical shows ever produced and was built into a business valued at US$100m during the time of Michael’s involvement. But that’s just one of his many success stories…

Michael Jacobsen with David Beckham

In this exclusive Q&A, Michael talks about himself and his career and about his approach to collecting art from both the point of view of an art lover and of a wise investor.

 Q: Michael, when did you first know that you had this vision of being a great entrepreneur?
Michael Jacobsen:  Ever since I bought my first shares on the stock market when I was 16 and sold them for a profit. From then on I was addicted to business!

Q: Which business up to date do you feel you have benefited most and why?
MJ: I love the creative sector and even thought I have been involved with businesses across various sectors including property and food and beverage, I have a special passion for Creative Sector and digital media business. One of my favorite businesses has been Dirty Dancing, the musical I co-owned and co-produced  globally.

Q: Have you ever turned down a request for your help?
MJ: I am active in business as an entrepreneur and I also sit on the Boards of a few companies. Additionally I mentor both commercially and for some not for profits like NACUE and the School for Creative Start Ups.I love helping start up and growing entrepreneurs grow their businesses and there is rarely time when I can’t help someone or  help them get on the right path. I have been through the good, bad and ugly in businesses which means I can help others from a point of understanding –not from the point of view of a salesman or a teacher who has never been in business.

Q: What do you think of art?
MJ: I believe art is a wonderful medium and London is where art is showcased at its very best. From the Portrait Gallery to the Tate to amazing independent Galleries like Walton Fine Arts,it is  an art lovers dream to be in.

Q: Do you believe it to be an investment?
MJ: Art is an excellent investment in my view and is a great place to stash money away for long term capital growth. The best part about this is that unlike lots of long term investments get to enjoy looking at it every day so it provides you with nourishment  as well as growing your funds. It is increasingly being accepted as a solid investment class globally however.

Q: What type of works do you have in your collection?
MJ: I have traditionally collected Bronze and I also have some famous Australian artists such as Pro Hart in my collection…Since I moved to Europe from Australia I have had many of them in storage but I have my favourite, a life size leopard by South African Sculptor Donald Greig, in my office.

Q: Is there any reason why you decided to take the path of these particular artists?
MJ: I buy art or bronzes that capture my heart. That’s the great thing about art. You don’t look only at the numbers, you buy it because you fall in love with it. To paraphrase John  Kay ,author of Obliquity, sometimes the best route to achieving something is to go the other direction. If you want to make a profit don’t chase money, do something that you love and can have fun with.

Q: What do you look for and in which order of significance, when you are buying an artwork?  Is it the aesthetics of the artwork and where it would go or the investment angle?
MJ: I look at the appearance of the art and if it captures my heart first if it’s purely for pleasure. If I am looking to insert it into my portfolio, I  look at heart first and mind second and balance the two together. With something like art, unless you have a crystal ball in front of you,its always got to be a balance between both (heart and mind) for investment purposes

Q: What advice would you give our first time collectors, when it comes to buying art?
MJ: Buy something you like something that you enjoy looking at and make sure you have a passion for the piece and the artist. Arts main purpose is for enjoyment.

Q: What advice would you give to our existing collectors on extending their collection?
MJ: I believe we should always consult experts on areas  that don’t play to our strengths or even for additional assistance. No athlete runs without a Coach; no actor acts without a Director; yet in business and investment people often feel that getting help or a Mentor is a sign of weakness.  My advice is to get help and go to an expert in the field like Walton Fine Arts to guide your purchase and help transition your passion into a solid investment decision.

Q: How would you differentiate, between art as an investment and other investments, for example property?
MJ: Art is an investment that you can enjoy and one that is often completely counter cyclical. An artist’s rise to prominence can occur with or without a recession; with or without a property dip and with or without a stock market crash.  It also does not interplay with the usual economic sectors and as such, is sector neutral is most ways.
Art is also an excellent long term growth asset and, like wineries being accepted as a good addition to a balanced investment portfolio.


Michael Jacobsen’s book:

“The Business of Creativity: An expert guide to starting and growing a business in the creative sector”

is now available to pre-order here: