Artist and collector
The effect of art on kids is only sometimes immediate but often creates a life long ripple. Needless to say, those of us who are lucky enough to be exposed to creativity young are living examples of its impact.
I think of collectors as people who hoard or have to have all of one kind of thing, like Hummel figurines or Victorian shaving mugs. I’m not like that. I like to set up environments. My wife and I piece things together in order to create a certain living feeling for our family. Buying art is one element of the process.
I am the way I am because of my grandparents. They all had unique perspectives on the world and well-developed sensibilities. Their homes had a large impact on me: I grew attuned to my living space, and developed my desire to become an artist.
I’m one of those arts people who think that fine art doesn’t really have any relevance to society at large except for the meaning of a specific piece. I don’t really search for meaning in my art. I like autobiographical decoration. I’m drawn to the flat, blobby layers of color and work where I can see the artist’s thought process covering up something that doesn’t work anymore. I like symbols, faces and text. The words don’t have to really mean anything. It’s the shapes of the letters and the hint of an idea that I enjoy. I look for these qualities in the art I acquire.
One of my all time favorite painters is Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose work is autobiographical and tells a story. Sometimes I think one day I would like to own something of Basquiat’s; then again, maybe not. I would never buy for investment only — that would be ridiculous. I have to like it now. After all, you can’t take it with you.
I do often think that what I acquire today, my kids will have to deal with in the future. I try to make sure that my four-and-a-half-year-old son can appreciate what I bring home. He usually tells me if he likes something or not. One time when he was two or so, we went to the ICA to see that Japanese guy’s show…Nara, I think his name was. The show was comprised of wide-eyed, evil looking kids similar to the Keane big-eyed kids from the 60’s. We went in there and within two minutes he was saying “Dad, Dad let’s get out of here.” Kids don’t lie. Needless to say Nara isn’t on my list of artists to follow.