Editor’s Letter | In the Beginning: Great collecting starts with a personal connection

By Kristin Hoerth

A group of paintings in Christine Bullard’s home in Winter Park, CO.

A group of paintings in Christine Bullard’s home in Winter Park, CO.

How did you get your start? This is the question I most want to ask whenever I meet someone with a substantial art collection. I love to find out what led the collector to that very first purchase. Over the years I’ve found that almost everyone enters the world of art collecting via some sort of personal connection. Sometimes it’s a family legacy; perhaps a parent was an artist or simply passed on a love of art. Sometimes a friend’s passion is contagious and leads a budding collector to start attending art events. Sometimes it’s a desire to support a local art event in one’s community. Sometimes it’s a vacation in a beautiful place, and art purchased there becomes a remembrance of 
the experience.

My own answer to the question is a bit unusual, of course, since I started my very modest art collection as a result of my job. It would have been impossible, I think, to spend all these years attending shows, visiting galleries, and meeting artists without catching the collecting bug. But I also have a collection of fetish carvings—small representations of animals carved from various stones by Native American artisans, especially the Zuni people of western New Mexico—and I got started when a former co-worker introduced me to them. After one visit to Keshi, a shop in downtown Santa Fe that is filled with authentic Zuni fetishes depicting every imaginable animal, I was hooked.

In this issue you’ll meet two collectors with their own stories of how they got started. Christine Bullard and her late husband, Jerry, began collecting landscapes by Karen Vance because they depicted the Rocky Mountain landscapes that the couple loved. She’s now expanded her tastes to include figurative, still-life, and wildlife works as well. David Reagan started collecting landscapes that feature churches after he gave up his career as a professor to become a minister, and such paintings make up the vast majority of his collection.

There are countless ways to get started, and countless ways to proceed after that. But I think some of the best collections are motivated and guided by whatever subjects and styles strike the loudest chord for the collector. Collecting should be about what resonates deeply with you, what you feel drawn to, what you feel an undeniable personal connection to. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it means something important to you.

Featured in the October 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art magazine October 2012 digital download
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