Interesting Video About Art Collecting

This is a very interesting video I found on Youtube. It is one of the videos I used to come up with my own rules for collecting art. Some are even the same, or based on the same premise.

Another movie that I have recommended to others is Herb and Dorothy. It is a documentary about the Vogels, who somehow amassed a collection of contemporary art worth many millions on the salaries of a postal worker and a librarian. It is a great movie for anyone interested in art or collecting art.


An Abstract Mixed Media Artist I’m Following

One of the artists that I have really enjoyed is Shawn Wolter. Shawn is an artist in West Des Moines, IA that does mixed media abstracts. He uses a combination of spray paint, acrylic, and other materials to create imaginative works that combine Pollack like drips with an almost graffiti style wash. I particularly like his use of texture, which is hard to see on a picture, but awesome in person.

Shawn does a lot of our local Des Moines shows, but also travels around the Midwest doing shows as well. I am hoping to buy a grouping of small works or perhaps a series of his works after the first of the year.

Shawn’s web site is

My Thoughts on Collecting vs. Purchasing Art

To me, there is a big difference between buying art and collecting art. A person who purchases art buys based on what they like (or better yet, love). The artist may or may not be someone they know. The art they buy is likely to be very eclectic with many different themes, styles, and subjects.

A collector is someone who really wants more out of the art experience. Collectors will collect more than art, they collect artists. When I look to buy a piece, I want to know that I would want to buy more than one piece from that artist. I am looking to buy today, next year, and for years after that. I want the artist to develop, change, and hopefully get better. One piece (or three) isn’t enough for me. I want to eventually be able to have enough art from that artist that I can show people early works, late works, and how they transitioned. This is one way I feel comfortable with the “staying power” of the art I buy. I follow the artists that I buy or plan to buy from. I want to know where they are showing, what they are doing for works, if they have a gallery opening, and how they see their work evolving.

Here is an example of what I am talking about. When I went to ARTFest Midwest in June, there was a stand that had signs that said: “All work 15% off. Last show.” I liked the work, but had never met the artist before. I asked why this was his last show, hoping that he had been picked up by a gallery, was moving, or something. He told me that he was starting a new business and was giving up on art. I told him that was really unfortunate, and started to leave. He was confused. Clearly I had been interested in his art, but now wasn’t going to buy anything. He asked if we could make a deal, and I was pretty firm when I said no. I explained that I only buy art from artists that are still active. If he wasn’t going to be an artist anymore, there really wasn’t any point to my buying his pieces.

Now, someone looking to purchase art may have jumped on that. The art was really pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. The prices were reasonable before, but with the discount they were stellar. The quality for the price made it a great deal, honestly. But that does not matter. In my mind, I am making an investment. It isn’t that I think that the art will appreciate in value money-wise (though we all hope it does!). My investment is in the artist and their current and future contributions to our culture. If you are not making art, you are not making that contribution. So, I would be out my investment, unless I use that money more wisely with an artist that is looking to make the contribution.

That’s why I feel like a collector with my small, nascent, admittedly unimpressive, beautiful, amazing, stupendous collection.

An Awesome Glass Artist

Most artists that use glass have a certain sameness to their work. One thing I look for in art is a uniqueness about the works. It isn’t enough to me for the art to be good. It has to be in some way different. Not just different from other artists, but different from other works from that particular artist. You may (and should) have your own specific style. I certainly want to be able to identify you from a crowd of similar artists. However, I want whatever I am buying from you to be unique. This is one reason I don’t buy prints and photography in general. Glass and ceramic works tend to have a certain sameness to me, which means they don’t excite me as much as other media.

Then, I met Tony Cray. A self-described pyro with a passion, Tony makes glass art. Granted, these are still items like bowls, vases, and the like, but Tony has a method that I can really appreciate. First, he colors his own glass. Second, he has his own designs, so no two pieces are exactly alike. This is awesome, to me. Another big plus is Mr. Cray has a really cool (or should I say hot) web site that shows all the steps in his process. When it comes to glass, while the end product has to look really good, it is really all about process. In Mr. Cray’s case, he is almost a conceptual artist in this regard. Once the art is complete, he’s passed the point of when he is done. The process is over, now it is a matter of tweaking it, improving it, and doing it again. That’s something I can really appreciate.

I suggest checking out his web site at