It’s interesting having kids round for playdates as they spend ages staring at the art we have. I often find myself trying to explain conceptual art to a 9 year old who thinks I am bonkers. Maybe I am. Maybe art is too. But it enhances my life in so many ways, I’d never be without it.
I have written about the first piece of art I was given here. I’ve spent a long time looking at that painting. I’ve come to realise that my preference is for Abstract Expressionism. It makes me think; I find myself deep in thought, reflecting on feelings and references. It’s nice to lose yourself in a painting for a while.
One of my favourite artists is Danny Rolph (I’ve written a dedicated post about his work here). Danny’s work is full of references to painters from the past but the main thing I like about Danny’s work is its energy. It’s dynamic, playful, provoking. It looks fantastic – his use of colour, shape and line is ingenious. Interestingly its the work that appeals the most to the visiting 9 year olds too. They seem to buy in to the visceral qualities, using their intuition rather than intellect to connect with it.
There are many reasons to buy art. Most of them are valid. It might be purely decorative – you just want a nice picture in your home. Perhaps its status driven – having art makes you feel part of the current zeitgeist, in touch with visual culture. Maybe you want to make an investment (in which case steer clear! Buy art because you love it, most people don’t get their money back, let alone make a profit) or perhaps you want to find something you can connect emotionally with.
The art in my home makes me happy. There’s a lot of great art around that would make me sad if I lived with it on a daily basis. My art also helps me to learn more about the world. For some people art is just decorative, something nice to look at on the wall. And that’s fine. But I wanted to take it further, there’s a depth of learning out there that leads to exploring history, movements, politics, women’s rights… I didn’t study art at university, but I took a course at Tate back in 2004 which pushed my thinking to new levels, and I absolutely loved it. Since then I’ve enjoyed further courses that help me discover art and broaden my thinking. Plus of course 15+ years of working in the art world has exposed me to all sorts of artists and movements – an invaluable way to learn about art.
So if you’re considering having art in your life, I’ll be writing a series of blog posts on how to identify what you like, where to buy it and how to live with it. I’ll also be visiting artist’s studios (starting with Danny), talking to other collectors about their art and giving a behind the scenes glimpse into the world of art. Read here for more a post on how to work out what type of art you like.
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