June 2, 2011 in The Collector
We at Curator, understand that different people have different reasons for purchasing art. Many people buy art that moves them, feeling it adds something special to their life. More often than not, it is a purchase driven by emotion.
Buying your first piece of art can be a daunting prospect, but many people get hooked, and without even realising it, become art collectors in their own right.
Often people collect a range of works from one particular genre such as; contemporary art, African art, historical art or naïve art etc. Sometimes they collect a particular artist, but a collection can span any genre, any size and any medium.
Each month, we are going to meet the people who’s life pleasure is art; viewing it and buying it, to see what they are collecting and why.
We want to understand more about the people who invest in art, and see some of their amazing ‘home galleries’.
For our first instalment of ‘The Collector’ we travelled to Nottingham, to meet a man with an exceptional array of art; David Barber, a retired Senior Crime Scene Investigator who lives in the city with his wife.
David has turned his home into his own exciting gallery. He has adorned every surface with works from his favourite artists, including MacKenzie Thorpe. His collection is so vast that he often rotates the pieces on display, effectively curating his own exhibition, and keeps much of his art work in storage due to a lack of space.
It you too love art, and would like to be featured on The Collector, we’d love to hear from you! You don’t have to own anywhere near as much art as David to get in touch. Just email us and tell us more about your collection.
What was the first piece of art you bought & when did you buy it?
It was in 2001, I was walking through town one lunch time and I passed a gallery window and a piece just caught my eye. It was a piece by the artist Mackenzie Thorpe called “Lunch time on south bank”. I went into the gallery and looked at the work for at least half an hour, it was an oil painting of three men in a bar. It struck a chord with me, as I used to do documentary photography, and it reminded me of the kind of images I used to make
Who are the artists in your collection?
Well the main artist I collect is Mackenzie Thorpe, but I also have pieces by Mark Spain, Domenech, Nadeem, Paul Horton, John Wilson and Lawrence Coulson.
How many pieces of art do you now own? Original? LEP?
Altogether 220! 130 of those are just Mackenzie Thorpe, mainly limited edition prints, some original paintings and some sculpture.
Do you feel you want to know about the artists that you buy? If so, why?
I do like to know about the artist, I like to know their philosophy and why they have chosen to paint what they paint. I like the symbolism in the work I collect, and I find it fascinating to talk to the artists and find out what’s behind the picture. Sometimes though the imagery, colour and texture of the image is enough for me to buy it without knowing anything else.
Do you buy particular styles or mediums of art, for example, figurative, or oil?
No not particularly, I’ve just got to like it to buy it, no matter what medium, if it catches my attention and I like the subject, I don’t really mind what the medium or format is.
Why do you continue to buy art? What are the motivations?
If I see a piece, and I like it, I just have to have it! I’m running out of space now though, so that will influence the work I buy from now on. It’s my passion really, I just love art, and I can’t imagine living in a house with no art on the walls. To some people it might look like a mishmash, but to me it’s not at all.
What is your favourite piece and why?
There are so many pieces, my favorite often changes depending on my mood.
Is all your art on display? If not, why?
No, simply because I’ve run out of space! Some of it is now in storage, under the bed, behind the sofa, everywhere!
Do you change the position of your art often or at all?
Yes, I like to rotate the Images periodically because I cannot display them all at the same time. I probably leave a piece for five or six months before swapping it for another one.
Is the position and lighting important to you in relation to displaying your art?
There are certain pieces that benefit from specific lighting, but as I have so much work it’s quite hard to light everything properly. Some pieces change as the light changes throughout the day, certain details are highlighted at different times, it’s like the picture comes to life.
If you could own one piece of art that you do not currently own, what would it be?
There’s a couple of Mackenzie Thorpe originals I’d love to own, but the expense and size of them is a bit much!
Have you ever bought art as a gift? If so how was it received?
Yes, for my wife and some friends, I’ve bought limited edition prints and some pieces of sculpture. They are great gifts. They have always been received well because the people I buy for are people who are close to me, and I know what they will like.
How do you feel about buying art as a financial investment?
I think it’s a fairly safe investment, it might not make you super rich, limited editions can hold there value but originals particularly are a good investment. For me it’s really just about loving the piece, if they increase in value then it’s a bonus.
What is your opinion of the UK art market today?
I think there’s a lot of places selling limited edition prints nowadays, but many seem to pop up quite quickly and then disappear, I think its quite hard for galleries. I think on the whole the quality of UK artists is very good; there are some young artists I’ve noticed that I think will do really well, especially if they get picked up by independent galleries who will give them a bit more freedom to do the work they want.