Editor’s Letter | In Pursuit of Happiness

By Kristin Hoerth

I have always believed that there are certain people who are born collectors. As children, they collect rocks or shells or comic books; somewhere along the line they are exposed to art, and eventually it’s just natural that they begin collecting it, too. For them it’s almost an automatic process because they have always held onto things they are attracted to.

I have never been one of those people who seem to have collecting in their genes. I recall that I collected stamps and a few other things as a kid, but I don’t remember those interests lasting very long. As an adult, I would say that I have often been more focused on clearing away things I no longer want or need than anything else. But the more art collectors I meet, the more I understand the passion that drives them.

Howard and Penny Chambers in their Colorado home.

This month, we’re introducing you to a diverse group of collectors from around the country. Their tastes run from western to figurative to highly realistic to sculpture, but virtually all of them share one simple, powerful motivation: love. As Carol Schmitz puts it: “I have to fall in love with the canvas. That’s the beginning of the story.” Randel Shadid agrees: “My approach is, if I see it, love it, and have a dollar in my pocket, I buy it,” he says.

When asked why she collects, Joyce Jones says, “Can’t not do it. Have to. For the same reason an artist creates, I collect. It brings a dimension to your life that is sadly lacking otherwise.” And Stephanie Birdsall adds, “I think having something beautiful to look at every day makes me a better person.” I thoroughly agree with this aspect of collecting: Living and working in an environment that is visually pleasing is absolutely essential, in my opinion. And nothing brings more to a room than fine art.

On my recent trip to Santa Fe during Indian Market weekend, I thought about these collectors and their inspirational stories. So when I happened to see a piece I loved, by an artist whose work I’d admired on many previous trips, I didn’t hesitate to make it my own. It’s beautiful, and I know it will enhance whichever room I hang it in, bringing me happiness every time I look at it and making my life more complete. I hope that the stories of collecting in this month’s issue will inspire you just as they have inspired me. -October 2011