The Art of Collecting and the Collecting of Art

Ownership is the most intimate relationship one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who comes alive in them.”   -Walter Benjamin
 

Here at Lily Spindle we’ve been thinking about collecting lately. Let me begin by saying that we LOVE collecting, if that’s not already obvious. You only have to look around our respective abodes to find carefully curated collections, from colorful midcentury pitchers to awesomely awkward vintage paintings to the sculptural ceramics of Nancy Wright.  And it’s our belief that if ONE of something is wonderful, then TEN variations are even more amazing! Just witness the eleven rescue dogs and cats that Rebecca and I have between us (but hoarding is whole other blog post!)  So when does this urge to amass start?  Is it there from the very beginning like some dormant genetic code waiting to be awakened?  Clearly we all do it.  Who hasn’t gathered pretty shells on the beach or an assortment of the fanciest marbles, or maybe stamps or coins? Let's face it, collecting is just plain fun or the “American Pickers” TV show wouldn’t be on Season 16! 

Collecting does satisfy some basic human needs and has tangible benefits too: appreciation of beauty or eccentricity, the quest for esoteric knowledge,  pride of ownership and relaxation.  Collecting may be inspired by nostalgia (one of my triggers), competitiveness (fun for some), investment or the thrill of the find.

No matter the reason for doing it, a well-honed collection can be the pièce de résistance in any room.  Whether it’s a row of vintage portraits down a long hallway, a grouping of Fat Lava Vases on a credenza or an assemblage of vintage surfboards, we at Lily Spindle believe that a good collection is transcendent and meaningful.  It's a reflection of the collector's passions and conveys personality, connoisseurship, warmth and charm.   And collecting isn't just the privilege reserved for the select few.  The value is in the joy it brings to the collector.

So why not get started on a collection of your own? Trust me - you're going to find it hard to control the ensuing obsession.  But here are some Lily Spindle tips to guide you.

xx-Debra

 

BE TRUE TO YOUR TASTES

Do you have a favorite genre? Landscapes, seascapes, portraits? Pick a single subject or artistic style and explore the heck out of it.  You won’t believe how many different ways artists see the same thing!  P.S. A salon-style hanging of kindred paintings is an excellent way to make a collection of small pieces work for you in a BIG way.

A Low Brow Art Collection of Paint-by-numbers Dog paintings  

A Low Brow Art Collection of Paint-by-numbers Dog paintings

 

MIX AND MATCH

Collect objects that have the same function but take many different forms.  Sometimes the differences are subtle but the possibilities are endless!

                        Teapots- short and stout, English, Asian, new and old.

                        Teapots- short and stout, English, Asian, new and old.

                 Gorgeous toile trays become wall art.

                 Gorgeous toile trays become wall art.

REDISCOVER AND REPURPOSE

There's tremendous beauty to be found in pedestrian objects that have outlived their usefulness.  Imagine new ways to display and highlight the loveliness of ordinary things.

                                 Glass fishing floats become a hanging garden.

                                 Glass fishing floats become a hanging garden.

                      An ascending installation of vintage wood shoe forms.

                      An ascending installation of vintage wood shoe forms.

SUPPORT CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS

Are you curious about the art of our times but you need help understanding it? Talk to art professionals- gallerists and art consultants can provide guidance including us at Lily Spindle with over 20 years experience in the contemporary art world.  Museums have collector membership groups that explore the local artist community.  Collecting contemporary art is very rewarding and the acquisitions can be a strong complement to modern décor. 

                     Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst feature prominently                                        in this collection of heavy hitters.

                     Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst feature prominently
                                       in this collection of heavy hitters.