Meet the collector: Michelle in New Plymouth, NZ

I'm excited to introduce you to Michelle, a collector with great eye in New Zealand. Enjoy!

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Michelle Matangi, 36, Seamstress/Business Owner, New Plymouth, New Zealand

Who/what inspired you to start collecting art?

I can’t really remember at exactly what point I was inspired, but since I was a teenager I was very drawn to art. I took art class, which I loved, but for some reason as I got older I thought that art was for the rich so I didn’t start collecting until I was in our house now and realized how affordable art can be. 

What was the first piece of your collection?

When I first discovered the Marilyn Bubblegum piece by Michael Moebius, I was so in awe of it but obviously couldn’t afford the price tag of an original.  I ended up finding a print of it on Etsy which I was thrilled about, still to this day it’s my favourite piece I own.

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Your most recent acquisition?

My Swan prints by Evie Kemp. Evie is an illustrator from Auckland and does some really amazing work! I have a couple of other prints of hers too; I love how bold and expressive they are. 

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At what point did you feel like an art collector?

I’m not sure I can claim that as I don’t feel like I am, but I guess I started caring about art and wanting more when I was in my early 30s.

What do you look for when you purchase art?

I’m really drawn to portraits. I just can’t help myself.  I also really love abstract pieces and anything really bold.  It’s got to jump out at me to warrant purchasing it. 

What's a mistake you've made but learned from?

Get art framed properly! A really lovely artwork can look terrible if it’s not framed well.  Also if you see a piece of art and you love it, then buy it--obviously only if you can afford it. Otherwise you will regret it.

What advice do you have for other collectors (especially those new to collecting)?  

Just buy what truly speaks to you--it doesn’t have to be expensive, some of my favourite pieces are from thrift shops! Also buy varying sizes because I personally think a gallery wall can look really timeless if done well.

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

You'll never find typography among my collection, I just can’t!

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

Photography, I really want to add some great photography pieces.

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

Probably clothing for myself; anything for my house comes above clothing now.  I feel like I’m cheating on fashion with homewares... before I owned a house, all I cared about was clothes.

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You just got a surprise gift of $1000 (~$1370NZD) to put towards your art collection. How would you use it?

I'd use it to help buy Andy Spain's Bat's Theatre, Wellington, New Zealand I’m completely obsessed with architecture, and this capture is just so brilliant. I can’t stop thinking about it.

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

Stephanie Vovas work is one of my all time favourites! 

Can you recommend a local artist who deserves some love?

It’s actually really hard to choose as there’s so many talented artists in my hometown, but I adore Anna Gibson's illustrations. She’s got some serious talent with portraits which i’m so naturally drawn to.

Follow Michelle's collecting and life adventures on Instragram: @michellematangi. And if you're a fan of podcasts, check out her exciting new venture with artist Evie Kemp: "The Pink Room."

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!