Meet the collector: Seana in Charlotte, NC

I'm so excited to introduce you all to Seana, an art collector in North Carolina. Seana was the first stranger I reached out to on Instragram, and I'm so grateful she was interested in doing one of these interviews. Not only is her collection fantastic, but her insight and photography are too. I knew it would be good, from following her on Instagram, but seriously, y'all, I feel like I'm scooping Domino here. ;) Enjoy!

Seana, Charlotte, NC

Seana headshot

Who/what inspired you to start collecting art?

I was inspired after visiting the home of a senior executive at my former company who was also an avid collector of art.  He has a very valuable, multi-million dollar collection displayed across every inch of wall space within his home.  There were literally hundreds of paintings throughout his stately Greenwich, CT home--hung barely a couple of inches apart.  I was captivated.  I knew almost nothing about art and had never seen anything like this before: a home brimming with art such that it felt like you were immersed in an artistic wonderland.  Although many of the pieces were raw and embodied a folk art style, the level of sophistication with they were framed and displayed was breathtaking.  I also was moved by the fact that almost all of his art was created by black artists--many famous and some unknown.  It left such an impression on me; I was a changed woman after visiting his home.  I knew I wanted my home to also feel like my own version of an artistic wonderland one day… although I can certainly not afford the works of the famous, established artists that filled his home!

What was the first piece of your collection?

I believe the very first piece I framed and hung was probably my 4th grade self-portrait which my mother retained for 20 years before I pulled it out of a box and decided to hang it in my first apartment.  It is a bold acrylic painting and still looks very good!

This painting was done by Atlanta-based artist, Dante Yarbrough.  Dante is a friend of my cousin and has an incredible catalog of work.  

This piece was part of a series. I don’t know its name but I call it “Hidden Figures” because what at first appears to be a random series of black and white lines and markings, is actually an intricate web of images and figures.  It also has rich, textural elements.  It’s like a Rorschach test in that everyone sees different things depending on their experiences and frame of reference.  I have hung it so that it is pretty much the first thing you see upon entering my home.  I would definitely like to buy more of Dante’s art in the future.

Your most recent acquisition?

My most recent acquisition is colorful abstract, two-sided canvas painted by a local Charlotte artist.  It is simply a piece of canvas that has not yet been mounted or framed.  I haven’t been able to commit to which side I want to display and how I want to mount it but I will figure it out soon. 

At what point did you feel like an art collector?

Although I don’t really refer to myself as an "art collector," I do know that I thoroughly enjoy art. I believe art is like the jewelry of the home.  It can do so much to adorn and elevate an otherwise basic home. 

I guess I realized how passionate I was about art when I purchased and moved into my first house two years ago.  All I wanted to focus on was the art... where I wanted to put what I already had, and sourcing more art for my walls.  I hung my art before making any other furniture or decorating decisions.  Everything in my home pivots around the art.

This beautiful piece is a limited edition print created by artist and friend, Annie Moran.  Annie comes from a long line of talented artists and musicians in and around New Orleans, and her art features the landscapes and people of Louisiana.  Annie is very humble; she and I were buddies back when we both lived in New York and sadly, I didn't see any of her work until we had been friends for years.  This piece features an African-American man dressed in Mardi Gras attire, with drink in hand and whistle in mouth.  Annie explains that even as he is oppressed, the black man is the “king” of New Orleans culture.  He has developed the music, food, and traditions that people have come to love from the city. However, he struggles to truly benefit from its popularity or economic resurgence.  The original painting was purchased by the city and hangs in one of New Orleans’ municipal buildings.  I was excited to purchase one of the limited edition prints. It hangs in my bedroom and is the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning.  It serves as a nice connection to Louisiana--my family’s home of origin.

What do you look for when you purchase art?

When purchasing art, I look for pieces that speak to me personally or culturally.  I realize that I am definitely drawn to portraits.  I also love very large scale, dramatic pieces.  I tend to either gravitate towards very modern art or very “primitive” folk art.  I’m trying to nudge myself to embrace greater diversity in the style, subject and size of my art.  Also, although most of my pieces are originals, I don’t discriminate.  I also have some prints that I love… and even a couple of pieces from big box stores that I’ve stumbled upon. 

What advice do you have for other collectors?

Don’t skimp on the framing--particularly non-reflective glass.  There are one or two pieces that I wish I had framed a little better.

Dammit Wesley colorful portrait

I got this piece from local Charlotte artist Dammit Wesley.   I saw it in a décor shop and was immediately captivated.  It is striking piece, painted directly on a 50x30 piece of plywood.  I love its boldness and color.  The way each paint stroke helps to define her face is gorgeous.  When I look at this, I see a woman who is beautiful, strong, and bold.  I imagine that she has defiantly rejected society’s traditional notions beauty andfemininity and instead, crafted her own definition of what beauty, power, and confidence look like.  I have spent a little time with Wesley as he’s become an acquaintance of mine about town; however,  I never actually asked him about the background of this piece.  I’ve attended several of his hip hop sip & paint classes, which are always a blast.  Next time I’ll be sure to ask him about it!

What's something you don't imagine you'll ever have in your collection?

Hmm,  I can’t really think of anything I would say you’d NEVER find in my collection.  I think almost anything has the potential to be beautiful and interesting.  I wouldn’t feel comfortable ruling out an entire category of something.

What, if anything, do you think is "missing" from your collection?

There are probably a few things that are missing from my collection.  I’d like more smaller scale pieces given that I am running out of wall space!  I also think having a mix of sizes enables you to better assemble your various pieces of art into a narrative.  I’d also like to incorporate more three dimensional pieces within my collection--whether that be sculpture, artifacts or antique items.

A lot of the art and photographs in my home have deep personal, familial, and/or cultural significance to me.  This series is particularly meaningful because these are sketches of some of my family members’ homes in Louisiana that were drawn by my father.  My dad is a retired architect and was always passionate about creating--in his personal and professional life.  This series includes sketches of my grandparents’ house, great grandparents’ house, and great uncle’s house.  My father has always had a natural talent for creating.  Although I did not inherit his gift, he played a big role in me developing an appreciation for aesthetics, design and the arts.  Dad now has Parkinson’s which has affected his ability to create due to hand tremors.  This makes me cherish the sketches, watercolor, and wood sculpture he has created all the more.

What was the piece that got away?

The piece that got away was a gorgeous vintage oil painting of a vase of flowers that I found in the antique market.  It has been two years and I still think about it. I should have listened to my heart instead of listening to the opinion of a friend who told me that it looked like something from the set of Golden Girls.  LOL!

We all have budgets. What's something you de-prioritize so you have extra funds for art?

I probably spend less on kitchenware and bedding than most people do.  Much of my furniture is pretty moderately priced and I tend to keep my stuff for a long time vs changing out frequently.  I use that to justify investing in art here and there.

You just got a surprise gift of $1000 to put towards your art collection. How would you use it?

I’d keep my eye out for a few unique pieces that I might assemble into a gallery wall.

The title of this piece is Juxtaposition.  It is a
digital piece created by a young local Charlotte artist named Gustavo Soto

I wasn’t very familiar with the concept of digital art before encountering this piece.  I participated in an “art crawl” a couple of years ago and of all the pieces that were displayed, this is the one that really spoke to me.  I have a thing for portraits and I found this one to be captivating and beautiful.  I later learned that this piece is actually the only physical print of a digital/video story of sorts that was created by the artist.  I think it is a fitting image to represent the state of the world and country today--we feel consumed and burdened by the chaotic social, political, and economic state of the world.

Who is an artist whose work you love but will probably never own?

An artist whose work I love but can’t afford: I’d love a collage by Romare Bearden, who also happens to be from Charlotte.  If there are no bounds to this fantasy, I’d also love a piece by Matisse or Picasso.

Can you recommend a local artist who deserves some love?

I’d like to give love to all of the artists whose work I shared, particularly Annie Moran and Dante Yarbrough.

Follow Seana's collecting and life adventures on Instragram: @bellybaila

Collectors, want to share you wisdom and show off your favorite pieces? Shoot me a message via the Contact page, and I'll give you the details. I'm always looking for new and varied collectors to feature here! 

Where to buy art: Affordable Art Fair NYC

Have any of you been to Affordable Art Fair NYC? I've never been, but I hope to one year! It looks like a fun event. We thought about going to the one about to start (September 13-17) but decided we wanted to celebrate our son's first birthday at home. It was the right decision for our family, but that doesn't mean I'm not suffering from a bit of FOMO right now.

Affordable Art Fair was founded by Will Ramsey in 1999, and has grown to ten locations worldwide, but only one in the US. Affordable Art Fair NYC is scheduled in the spring and fall each year. AAFs showcase a variety of contemporary paintings, original prints, photographs, and sculptures from both emerging and established artists. I'm especially intrigued by the fact that many of the exhibiting galleries are not in the US, so American visitors get exposed to a lot of artists they might not otherwise be aware of.

The term "affordable" is used rather loosely, with prices ranging from $100 to $10,000. However, half of the pieces at each booth are priced under $5,000. While $5K doesn't scream "affordable" to me, I don't think it's an absurd price point for original art. Even if I'm just browsing (as I'd likely to be at AAF), I always appreciate having an idea the price range before heading out to an art gallery or event. 

In addition to the somewhat misleading name, another drawback of AAF NYC is that the event itself isn't free. General admission tickets are $20 at the door ($18 if you order online), which strikes me as fair, since expos like this are expensive to put on, but understandably not everyone wants to pay money for an opportunity to spend more money. I can imagine the ticket price being even more irritating to people who attend with a different definition of "affordable" in their mind. I've also read several reviews about how crowded the Fairs are, despite the paid admission. As someone with an aversion to crowds, I consider this a small drawback as well.

Here are some examples of the kinds of pieces you could get at Affordable Art Fair NYC (plus several more shown on their Preview page):

1. Andrew Baines [$1250]     2. Hana Moore [$2900]
3. Hyun Suk Kim [$3500]     4. Kelly Grace [$3400]
5. Daniel Sueiras [$500]    6. Heesu Choi [$1100]
7. Miguel Vallinas [starting at $1600]     8. Veronica Green [$3500]

Collectors, have you been to any AAFs before? What was your impression, whether you were just browsing or left with a great new contemporary art piece? Any tips for first-timers?

Quick tip: Humidity and art

Y'all, I'm terrible at maintenance-related tasks. I don't find zen in cleaning. I love the idea of having a beautiful yard, but could never keep up with gardening as a hobby. I prefer "projects," tasks you can deep dive into and then move on. I think that's part of the appeal of art collecting. I can research a choice to death (or not), but once the piece is in my possession, there's not much required other than hanging it and admiring it. I guess there's some dusting required, but even that you could avoid for quite a while before anyone noticed. 

Unfortunately, I discovered a few years ago that in some cases, a little more attention IS required.

Pat Barron nude

I can't find any better pictures of it, but I purchased the above pastel nude from The Art League back in 2012 at a really affordable art sale. It was done by Pat Barron, a local artist who retired and left a number of pieces to The Art League. The piece itself was not expensive; I can't remember exactly, but definitely under $100. But it's one of the only piece I've ever taken to a legit framer, which wasn't cheap.

It hung on that wall in my previous apartment's bedroom. It made me really happy. 

This apartment was English basement style, so half underground. And it was just outside DC, which, if you didn't know, was built on a swamp. It gets really hot and humid in the summer here. The apartment had a couple window AC units, but got pretty unbearable my first summer there. When I contacted my landlord about it, he asked whether I was using the dehumidifier he left. Oops. I thought that was just to help the new paint dry, so I had stuck it in a closet shortly after I moved in. When I got that back out, life improved significantly.

But when we moved out last year, I made a horrifying discovery that I'm embarrassed to admit here. When I took down that painting, the back was covered in mold. I can only assume that it must have sprouted in those first couple of horribly humid months, and continued to grow from there. I was completely grossed out, and the whole thing seemed unsalvageable to me, so I ended up dumping it.

There are very few things I regret about my art collection. Even as my taste evolves, I enjoy looking back on the pieces I've acquired over the years. I haven't always made the best framing choices, but eh, I can live with that. But I really do regret not taking the time to check on this piece and keep it in good condition. Fortunately our current house has much better climate and humidity control, but if ever I'm hanging art in a muggy space again, I will absolutely be checking on it from time to time. If you've got art in your bathroom, basement or other damp/stuffy space, I highly recommend you take it down and inspect the back every few months. Just to be safe.

Collectors, have you ever lost a piece of art due to poor maintenance? What happened?

Readers, I'm always looking for more of these quick tips. They can be about anything related to art collecting: finding art, purchasing art, hanging art, living with art... you get the idea. If you have a one you can share, please shoot me a note from the Contact page.

Stripes & dots: Calming

There's something appealing about some of the simplest motifs out there--the simple stripe and the unassuming dot. Here are a few that caught my eye if you're looking for something calming and neutral. 

1. Deborah Newman Draped [$1,500]  2. Nicole Cohen Diving Board print [starting at $60]

3. Louise van Terheijden Blue Bubbles [$148] 4. Laura Hendricks Gold Moon print [$60]
5. Erin Clark Maybe the Islands [$950]

6. Alan Jackson Clouds Pass, Rain Falls [$3,000]  7. Hannah Perrine Landmarks print [$150]

Ah, so relaxing! I'll follow up with some the same general motifs in livelier color schemes for a very different effect in the next few weeks.

Collectors, who are your favorite artists who use these motifs?

Where to buy art: Charleston Artist Collective

Artists collectives are some of my favorite sources for original art. And the Charleston Artist Collective is one of the best. 

In general, an artist collective is a group of artists working together with a shared mission. They help get artists exposure and usually provide some of the business infrastructure for participants. They are often, but not always, location-based, giving collectors an easy way to find local art.

The Charleston Artist Collective is particularly good because it's so well managed. Its founder, Allison Williamson, has done a phenomenal job with this collective. It has as an online-only gallery that's easy to navigate and showcases new art every month. For whatever reason, so many artists' websites are total pain to use. Some of them organize art buy year, which probably makes perfect sense to the artist, but isn't useful for most collectors. A lot of them have tiny thumbnails of each work that have to be individually clicked on to view. Many don't include any prices, so if you're not familiar with the artist you'd have no idea whether the piece you're looking at is in the $200-, $2,000-, or $20,000-range. I could go on about some of my frustrations with many artists' websites, but my point here is that the Charleston Artist Collective online gallery doesn't have any of those issues. It makes buying original art simple.

Williamson's efforts have been so successful that she's opened a brick-and-mortar location for buyers who want to see works in person and expanded her framework to create artists collectives in Atlanta, Nashville and the D.C. Capital Region

Each month, the Charleston collective, which consists of 17 artists, submits pieces related to a theme selected by the group as whole. Don't worry, the themes are broad (think "local color" and "impressionism to expressionism") and the artists' interpretations of them are pretty loose--you don't get a whole bunch of paintings of vaguely similar sunsets or cityscapes or whatever each month. Actually, I don't think I'd be able to guess the theme if it wasn't displayed on the page, which is perfectly fine with me. Additionally, each month, a portion of the sales goes to a local charity, and the tally of proceeds to that charity, as well as a total for all the local charities supported since the collective's inception is displayed at the top of the site. I really like that kind of transparency.

The pieces range in price from less than $100 to around $7,000, with most pieces under $2,500. Sold pieces are clearly marked with a red dot just like you'd see in a gallery--another user-friendly detail I appreciate. The homepage goes to the current month's submissions, but you can always shop All Artwork to have access to (unsold) pieces from prior months too. That page also has filters, so you can look by size, month or artist. I do think a "sort by price" option would be nice, but as of right now, it's manageable without that feature. 

One drawback of the Charleston Artist Collective is that, while there is good variety in the art itself, the artists who make it up are not that diverse. Fifteen of the seventeen artists are female, and it doesn't appear that there are any artists of color. Also, although the artists do have unique styles, most of the work does fit into a particular aesthetic, which obviously won't be for everyone. I'd say that most of the pieces here fall into the bright and cheerful, slightly feminine category that you might associate with brands like Serena & Lily. 

Here are a handful of the kinds of pieces you can get from the Charleston Artist Collective:

1. Lynne Hamontree [$1,600]  2. Janie Ball [Sold]  3. Susie Callahan [$775]
4. Anne Darby Parker [$625]  5. Laura Lloyd Fonaine [$600]  6. Slava Roubanov [$2,500]
7.  Squeaky [Sold]  8. Chelsea Goer [$2,500]  9. Linda Elksnin [$650]

Collectors, are any of you fans of the Charleston Artist Collective? What has your buying experience been like?

Meet the collector: Anna in Alexandria, VA

When I began mulling over the idea for this blog, I knew the first person I'd want to feature in a "meet the collector" posts was my dear friend, Anna. She has such a fantastic eye for art and design, and is so thoughtful in all of her choices, I knew she'd make for a great first interview. 

Anna Gryskevich headshot

Anna Gryskevich, 29, Interior Designer/Project Manager, Alexandria, VA

Who/what inspired you to start collecting art?

I can't say that one thing in particular inspired me to collect art. I've always loved anything art- and design-related and was drawn to both at a very young age. As I matured, went to school, and traveled, my desire to collect has continued to grown and seems to be ever changing!

What was the first piece of your collection?

Well, the first piece I ever bought was from an antique shop in Harper's Ferry. It is called The Proper Measure of a Man by R. Nielsen and is from the 1970's. Out of what's hanging in my home now, though, the first piece is something I drew in art class when I studied abroad in Paris.

Your most recent acquisition?

A print of Morgan Fink's Abstract Landscape III that I bought at the Larkin Arts Gallery in Harrisonburg, VA. She is an artist local to that area.

Over the last few years, my husband and I have grown to love Shenandoah. We do a lot of biking, camping and trail running down there and bought Abstract Landscape III in the area at Larkin Arts Gallery. Morgan Fink's style is beautiful and not your average landscape. The expressionistic color and linework is what drew us to the piece, and with the meaning behind it, I am sure it is something we will have forever.

At what point did you feel like an art collector?

I am not sure I feel like an art collector yet! But, I started to feel more confident with my collection about three years ago.

What do you look for when you purchase art?

Uniqueness, expressionistic brush strokes, sketchy lines. I've always been drawn to imperfection in art. I'm not really into photorealistic art. It doesn't feel natural to me, and maybe because I have pretty eclectic taste, I like that "imperfect art" leaves room for interpretation and allows me to more easily adapt my design style with it, especially when I know my style is evolving and maturing.

Anna gallery wall.JPG

Mladen Novak, though not from the US, is local to this area. We discovered his paintings at an old
art store in Alexandria and learned that this Croatian-born artist was quite acclaimed in the area. That wasn't what swayed us into buying this portrait (title unknown, painting over TV above), but knowing it
was from a local artist helped! It isn't my usual go-to colors but I loved his cubist approach to the portrait, especially the eyelashes and hat. I studied abroad in Paris and adored the little node to the Eiffel tower without being overly cliche or cheesy. In a different house, I imagine this piece over a chest that is either incredibly modern and clean lined or weathered and simple.

What advice do you have for other young collectors?

DO NOT RUSH. When I first got out of college, I really wanted to "feel the part" of being a newly graduated designer. Quite frankly, I still want to feel that. I've made some art purchases that I really do not like anymore because I just wanted to have something on the wall. I've slowed down since. Don't go on a mission to complete your art collection in a year. Who you are today is not who you will be in two  years, five years, and so on. We are constantly growing and evolving, finding new interests, and our style evolves with that. Trying to have the perfect art collection all at once will likely leave you with a lot of regrets. Instead, focus on getting one or two really amazing pieces a year. Then your collection will be a natural progression and reflection of who you really are and you'll be less likely to regret pieces. If anything, you'll think of those pieces as mementos from that stage of your life.

Alyssa Capri Tribal Portraits

I first found Alyssa Capri when I had an interior design client looking for an artist to make portraits
of her boys. I loved her work, so I had her do small wedding portraits of my husband and me as an anniversary gift.  Her skill is incredible.  As I went through more of her work, I fell for her amazing ethnic portraits. I wanted something really bold for above the settee in our dining room and came up with
these Tribal Portraits. I love them. I've thought about rotating them to a new spot in my home, but I think they'll be pieces that will forever have a wow factor. They are just really special.

What's your favorite place to discover great art?

I've had some luck at Evolution Home in Alexandria and Etsy online. I love supporting local shops and emerging artists.

What's something you don't imagine you'll ever have in your collection?

You will never see quotes painted on a piece of wood on my wall. Call me pretentious but I just can't...

Anna Gryskevich mask

One day I was "treasure hunting" in Old Town and stopped by Look Again. I will be honest, I was having no luck that day. I walked upstairs in hopes of finding something worthwhile. 

I looked up, and there it was, this mask staring back at me. It was hiding up on a beam. It was such a steal and I couldn't pass it up. I love
mixing in objects on the wall with art. Sometimes you just need to break it up and I loved how
funky this was.

What, if anything, do you think is "missing" from your collection?

I am itching to shake things up in my art. It's very saturated with color, and I want everything to just feel a little softer. Many of these pieces were purchased within a two-year period, and like I mentioned before, my style is shifting. I'd like some neutrals. Maybe quiet landscapes. I always love a good portrait but maybe it's not painted so visually heavy and instead is in charcoal or oil pastels. I just want to take everything down a notch. I live such a busy life and want to be in "retreat mode" when I come home!

What was the piece that got away?

There were some really great pieces at The Screendoor in Asheville, NC a few years ago. A couple of vintage portraits and landscapes. I should have snagged one, but I was being cheap and indecisive.

We all have budgets. What's something you de-prioritize so you have extra funds for art?

Clothing. I rarely buy new clothes.

This gallery wall (left) is really special to me. I took all of the photographs while studying abroad or
on family vacations after college. They are truly a reflection of what we love: outdoors, exploring new
cities, and culture. Credit for the portrait (right) by an unknown artist goes to my husband. He found
it in the back of Evolution Home among discounted items they were trying to move. $25. I mean,
seriously?! My super handy friend built a custom frame around it which really elevated it. I love how
sketchy and messy the painting is. It was probably a student's work, but the color is amazing. This is in
the same room with the photographs so it is a nice contrast in style, yet ties in with the other colors. 

You just got a surprise gift of $1000 to put towards your art collection. How would you use it?

I would head straight to the Torpedo Factory and buy something local and something really special. All of my art is under $300 a piece, so I would look for something to put over my dresser (which has been bare for 5 years) to complete our bedroom.

Can you recommend a local artist who deserves some love?

Nicole Ida Fossi at Studio Gallery in DC makes some beautiful portraits and super unique botanical paintings. 

Follow Anna's collecting and life adventures on Instragram: @annagryskevich

Collectors, want to share you wisdom and show off your favorite pieces? Shoot me a message via the Contact page, and I'll give you the details. I'm always looking for new and varied collectors to feature here! 

Matchmaking: Art for Sheila Bridges

Sheila Bridges is an interior designer in NYC who does high end, classic style with a serious twist. Her designs have a lot of traditional elements like gorgeous molding, antique furniture, and pleated drapery--but in vibrant colors, with surprising fabrics (like her own Harlem Toile design), and featuring gutsy art choices. 

For those that don't know her, here are a few shots from Sheila's portfolio to give you a sense of her style, and her use of art:

As you can see, there's a lot of variety among Sheila's art choices, but if you flip through her portfolio, you'll see that she embraces African American portraits and themes, and other ethnic art as well. Many of her choices seem to have a subtle wittiness to them (also visible in some of her wallpaper/fabric designs, like Van Doe and Zwarte Piet). 

I thought it would be fun to pick out pieces that I think would appeal to Sheila and others who love her design work. If you want to emulate Sheila's style art-wise, here are some options that I think would fit in nicely:

1. Deborah Segun Untitled [€350]     2. Imar Hutchins Toussaint [$400]
3. Suhas Bhujbal A Ride [$4,500]    4. Solomon Adufah Warrior II print [starting at $105] 

5. Vintage Moroccan painting [sold as a pair for $1000]     6. Gary Simmons Boom print  [$148]
7. Ellen Priest Jazz: Thinking Out Loud, Reaching for a Song #6 [£4,100]

If you like Sheila's designs, you should follow her on Instagram: @harlemtoilegirl. Her feed is one of my favorites.

Collectors, are you into this aesthetic? Can you recommend other artists or vintage art sources that would work well with this decor style? What other designers / tastemakers would you like to see in a post like this?

Art for the guys

When I first told my in-laws that I was going to start this blog, my father-in-law told me about how, years ago, he'd seen paintings of car hood ornaments that he regretted not buying. "Make sure you include some things like that," he said. I laughed, because it was such a specific request. But then I realized he just meant that I should include art that men like too. I assured him that I would--that I didn't intend for this blog to be limited to any particular aesthetic. 

Now, I don't believe that there's art "for men" or "for women" but in honor of my father-in-law, I've rounded up a handful of pieces that remind me of some of the guys in my life:

1. Heather Blanton Blue Cyclists Peleton [$1870]     2. Michael Fitts Paper Airplane [$1600]    
3. Jeremy Miranda Searching print [$75]     4. Stephanie Henderson Lost and Found No. 7 [$1800]

5. Pete McCutchen Stimsonite #2 [$900]     6. Sallie Robbins Fly V [$89]
7. Kathy Beynette Superheroes [price on request]     8. Jane McElvany Coonce Crab Feast [$225]

9. Robert Gilbert Great Falls Tributary [$550]     10. Eliza Southwood Rowers print [£150]
11. Maggie O'Neill Nationals Fan print [starting at $180] 

Collectors, can you think of an artist whose work reminds you of a special guy in your life?

Am I an art collector?

One of my first assignments as an English major was to work with my classmates to define "literature." Everyone can agree that Shakespeare and Dickens and Faulkner qualify, of course, but once you get away from the canon, it starts to get fuzzier. Is Harry Potter literature? I vote yes, but not everyone agrees. Is 50 Shades of Gray literature? I vote no, but again, not everyone agrees.

I can't remember what we ultimately decided or even whether we agreed, but I feel like it was a worthwhile thought exercise and a good starting point for this blog.  At what point does someone qualify as an "art collector"?

Willem van Haecht - Collection of Cornelis de Geest with Paracelsus

Willem van Haecht - Collection of Cornelis de Geest with Paracelsus

Some times it's obvious. Willem van Haecht's Collection of Cornelis de Geest wirh Paracelsus clearly depicts a legit collection. This Cornelis de Geest fellow, a Belgium spice merchant who was was committed to patronizing local artists, definitely made the cut.

Art collection of Antoine de Galbert via  Vimeo

Art collection of Antoine de Galbert via Vimeo

So too does Frenchman Antoine de Galbert-Defforey, whose contemporary collection is featured in part above. He is an art collector for sure.

If you have works by artists that are featured in art history textbooks or in museums, you undeniably qualify, right? If you have a collection of pieces assessed to be worth tens of thousands of dollars each (or more), you're a shoe-in to the art collectors club, too, amirite?  But surely the bar isn't that high for everyone?

For the purposes of this blog, my personal definition is as follows:

Art collector: One who owns original works of art, limited-edition art prints, and/or fine-art photography and continues to add to his or her collection.

That's it. If you own art and you continue to seek out more art, then you're an art collector. Do the pieces have to be from famous artists? God, no. Do you even need to know who the artist is? Nope, though I imagine lots of collectors like to know the story behind a piece and its creator. What if some of the pieces in your collection are original but some are mass-produced prints? You still make the cut, as far as I'm concerned, especially if you're committed to the second part of my definition--continually looking to grow and improve your collection. 

Collectors, what do you think? Do you agree with my definition? Am I missing something? I welcome debate!