Collecting is something we are all guilty of in one way or another. Whether it is things, people, stories, relationships, shoes, art, awards…we all collect something. Some of us are more prone to this disorder than others. I am the first to admit it. My name is Ruth and I am a collector.
I have loved art since as far back as I can remember. I have almost NEVER being early for anything in my life. I was born three weeks late. But I have memories of racing to kindergarten class because if I was the first one at the easel before school, I could paint until class started. Once we had a coloring contest and although mine was the BEST, the group of second graders who juried the contest did not pick me. I couldn’t speak. That night at dinner when my parents asked why I was so quiet, I burst into tears and told them about the coloring contest. That night my father bought me a coloring book and big box of crayons so I could practice. Later on in grade school I won a few art competitions. I did not make art in high school…unless you consider my hair and outfits “art”. I had four+ years of studio art in college. I no longer paint/draw/or assemble things to make art. I leave that work to those who are more talented and braver than I. Collecting and curating is now my art.
I can’t recall the first piece of art I purchased, but it didn’t take long to realize this had become an addiction. I have been collecting for years from various sources such as galleries, artists, estate sales, online, auction, garage sales, and once, I admit to dumpster diving in NYC. I won’t tell you who I picked up there. My collection has grown to the point that I no longer can show it all. Now, some of my art lives in different places, such as my mother’s home, all three of my sister’s homes, my niece’s home, the hoarder room (don’t ask) and anywhere else I can find a responsible person to care for my special loves.
Curating became my art form after graduate school. I can’t tell you how much pleasure I get from putting a selection of artworks together in one space and creating a visual dialog that might no happen otherwise. The theme of the exhibit varies depending on what I want I want the audience to take home. Because of curating, I have been able to feed my collection addiction without much effort. The art is always there beckoning me to take it home.
While I don’t have hard and fast rules for collecting, I do require is that it keeps me engaged. I have moved several time in the past five years and much of my art has been in storage. I am still unpacking it. It still grows. I still collect. For years I have promised myself that I will do an inventory of everything I own. The collection has now grown to a size that inventorying it is far too daunting of a task. Plus, the battery on my cameral always dies before I get all the photos taken.
I find this absurdly ironic for two reasons. I am an appraiser and collections management expert, yet I keep putting off cataloging my collection. I know better. Secondly, playing with my collection, moving it around, looking at it, talking about it, and thinking about it makes me so happy. I should really do more of it.
I am a voyeur. I love to see what people collect and how they live with their art. I am always curious about why people collect what they collect. Some collectors have very stringent perimeters with their collections, such as art defined by specific era, region, subject, or theme. Some people collect only blue chip art. Some people collect only thrift store art. Then there are the rest of us…those of us who collect those things that make us think or make us feel good. I am the latter.
I am very interested in knowing what my readers collect and why. I challenge all of you collectors out there to take the first step and admit your addiction and then share your art and story with me. I dare you. I’ll show you mine and you show me yours. It is far from being complete, so updates are coming. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.166756810138030.40026.135900363223675&type=1