David Lloyd

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.




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



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.


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.


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.


Name: Scot + Kerry Armstrong
Location: Los Feliz, California
Size: 2300-square-feet, 3-bedroom, 2-bath, 1 1/2 bath
Years lived in: 9

Located at the foot of Los Angeles'  iconic Griffith Park in sun-dappled and lovely Los Feliz is the beautiful one-story home of the Armstrong crew. An incredibly busy house just by the nature of its inhabitants -- husband, Scot, is a screenwriter/director known for, most recently, as the creator, writer, and director of the Showtime series "DICE" featuring Andrew Dice Clay, as well as  his work on "Road Trip," "The Hangover:Part II", and "Old School," while Kerry is the director of HOME DOG LA, an animal rescue intervention program, and they're parents to 9-year-old fashionista, Lake, and 5-year-old Charlie. They've got a bevy of mid-sized, fabulous rescue dogs and a corn snake, to boot. Hello, literal "full house"!

When we first walked into their home, we immediately sensed the innate energy within its walls - ebullient, mirthful, and wonderfully contagious. Most elements of the house didn't convey that innate liveliness and happiness, however. 


We sought to make a totally livable, 100% lovable space for this family of four and all their darling animals wherein beauty, richness, color, and light was infused into the space without becoming "precious" about anything. We felt like nothing newly introduced by us could be delicate and fragile -  in terms of textiles, accessories, and furniture, we brought in pieces that were hardy but spectacular: indigo cotton pillows and poufs, modern wool rugs, washable cotton coverlets, a variety of vintage lamps in sunny yellow and burnt sienna, a custom credenza made locally in L.A.; new paint colors for the master bedroom, den, and daughter's bedroom are bold and bright (deep azure, radiant yellow, and fuchsia, respectively) and we hung large-scale, abstract contemporary artwork from Los Angeles artists' whose work we adore, and these balanced perfectly the couple's rather substantial art collection, comprised predominantly of photography and representational paintings. 

For us, the challenge was in finding that fine, ineffable balance between the utilitarian and "sturdy" to ensure that the awesome Armstrong crew gleefully and comfortably lives with the home's changes, while also making the space come to life and reflect the joyful nature of its creative and captivating people. I think (and hope!)  we succeeded! Some Before and After photos are shown below, as well as a few individual room shots. 

This bedroom was a combination of pale blues and dapple-greys. Totally fine, for all intents and purposes, but a bit ho-hum. We proposed something more sumptuous and deeper, a combination of vintage and new. And they were ready to do it! Wall color is Benjamin Moore's Adriatic Sea; abstract painting by Los Angeles artist David Lloyd, bedding is Pine Cone HIll and Pendleton, ceramic lamps are vintage, bed and bedside tables are clients' own. 

Welcome to the bedroom of a rock and roll 9-year-old. Making the transition from her childhood wallpaper and furniture wasn't without its flashes of fear, but giving her the ability to choose the paint, bedding patterns, and art from our specific proposals made this 9-year-old a part of the transformation. And it's one helluva bedroom now!  A Warhol print hangs on Benjamin Moore's Hot Lips, vintage frosted glass desk lamp, anodized aluminum trunk for costume + accessory storage, custom-made pillows and zebra print coverlet, client's own bed, desk, and desk chair. 

Vintage indigos paired with sunshine yellow make this den glow. Painting by LA artist Ned Evans. Wall color is Benjamin Moore Dalila. Client's own coffee table, sectional sofa, and floor lamp. 

Vintage indigos paired with sunshine yellow make this den glow. Painting by LA artist Ned Evans. Wall color is Benjamin Moore Dalila. Client's own coffee table, sectional sofa, and floor lamp. 

A salon-style assemblage of their many animalium paintings makes the den of these dog lovers even sweeter. 

A salon-style assemblage of their many animalium paintings makes the den of these dog lovers even sweeter. 

A quiet space in the front alcove, which once served as the kids' art storage space. Credenza custom-made in Los Angeles, tall bright yellow table lamp and shade are vintage, pottery by Venice ceramicist Nancy Wright, black and white photograph is client's own. 

*(Total Lily Spindle re-design non-sequitur here, but if you haven't checked out DICE, do it as soon as possible. It is damn funny + clever.)

xx - Rebecca + Deb 



MANA at the Villa Di Donato

On the night of May 28th, “The Artists of the Film MANA” took over a 17th century villa in Naples, otherwise known as the Villa Di Donato. This MANA exhibition, a collaborative effort between ART1307 (AKA Cynthia and Renato Penna) and Lancaster Museum of Art and History (AKA Andi Campognone), with the ingenuity and aid of Naples’ Chiara Reale and Rome-based curator Roberta Serpolli, featured the works of the following MANA film artists: Craig Skibs Barker, Casper Brindle, Ben Brough, Alex Couwenberg, Ned Evans, Steve Fuchs, Eric Johnson, David Lloyd, and Ken Pagliaro -- the last seven listed were in attendance at the villa’s opening reception and were hit up for multiple on-the-spot interviews with Italian reporters and had individual tete-a-tetes with the Consulate of U.S. Consul of Politics and Economic Affairs.

The Lily Spindle ladies (and our dashing husbands) got a private tour of the spectacular villa by its owner, a man of few words, in part because his prowess in communicating in English is pretty comparable to ours in speaking Italian. He proudly informed us that 40 guests had enjoyed Christmas dinner there last year and I immediately imagined how glorious this place would look adorned with holiday trimmings, aglow with strings of twinkling lights and candles flickering on a massive dining table. It’s an absolutely gorgeous space. And an ingenious, fun, and unusual environment in which to see bright, contemporary, California-forged art made by the MANA men.

Our apologies for the excessive photos of the opening reception but there were too many shots to choose from! Photo credit goes to Ken Pagliaro, Eric Johnson, Ben Brough, Andi Campognone, and more than a few snaps by Lily Spindle.

*Here’s one of several stories in the Naples papers covering the MANA night in Naples . . .

The MANA Project - The City of Angels meets The City of the Sun

The predominant reason Deb and I made the transatlantic journey to Italy was for the Villa di Donato exhibition "The Artists of the Film MANA," as organized and curated by Naples' Art 1307 association, spearheaded by Renato + Cynthia Penna and Los Angeles' very own powerhouse Andi Campognone. The artists in this exhibition were culled from the MANA project's original ten "Light and Space" artists, a project launched in 2013 by Andi, currently the director of the Museum of Art & History in Lancaster, California. MANA the documentary (produced by Andi C. and shot and directed by L.A.'s art scene photographer and chronicler Eric Minh Swenson), was filmed in Hawaii in the summer of 2013 and screened last year in Naples. Out of the ten original MANA artists, Ned Evans, David Lloyd, Ken Pagliaro, Steve Fuchs, Ben Brough, Alex Couwenberg, and Eric Johnson made the trek to Italy to attend the opening reception at Villa di Donato and partake in an incredible collaborative art project at the Art Hotel Gran Paradiso with Rosario Guida and Dario Correale, Napoli surfers who also make art (a difficult combination to discover, says Cynthia Penna!). Yes, it may be true that all the artists in this particular show are men. But it's the women who are in charge here. In charge like a boss, baby. Like. A. Boss. 

With sheer cliffs overlooking the sea, the Art Hotel Gran Paradiso in Sorrento has its fair share of naturally-occurring artistry, but Cynthia Penna has helped to make this resplendent four-star hotel an outpost for original works of art, devoting specific guests' rooms to the work of individual artists from all over the world (such as the talented and lovely Carla Viparelli). On May 26th, the aforementioned motley crew of ocean-loving MANA artists and their Italian counterparts got together in the blazing Sorrento sunshine and adorned a custom balsa board shaped by Dario expressly for this monumental event. They worked off of one another's drawings and sketches and doodles and patterns for nearly two hours, eventually placing this finished beauty in the hotel lobby, where we hear delighted guests have been taking photos alongside it since.

Following the collaborative event uniting the talents of Los Angeles and Naples, there was food. Lots and lots of food. And wine. And cappuccinos. And Limoncello. And cake. And some of us even dove into the "bracing and refreshing" swimming pool.

Next post. . . photos from the opening event at the magnificent Villa di Donato! And here's a little piece in Italia Magazine about the opening reception and exhibition to get you in the mood: FROM LA TO NAPLES: THE SEA IS UNIQUE