Updated: Mar 16, 2020
Andy Brown, who now lives with his husband Roberto Silva in Bed-Sty, Brooklyn started to collect artworks around 2007. I asked Andy if I could come over and photograph some of his collection, and ask him a few questions about being a collector. Questions and answers I find very interesting being a working artist myself. I was interested to find out what he was looking for.
How important is the investment value in what you collect?
Collecting fine art is as much about beauty and desirability as it about the investment value, but when I asked Andy how much weight the investment potential had at the time of purchase, he said he did listen to friends and people in the art world, but usually it was the visual elements of the piece itself and not it’s ability to generate investment income. That said, the majority of works in his collection were purchased when the artists not as well known as they are today. Much of the artist’s work in his collection has appreciated both in value and in social notoriety. Many of the artists he collects who were considered “emerging” at the time are now well known, and have been included in large museum exhibitions both in the US and Internationally.
Andy’s apartment is filled with artwork of all kinds. He doesn’t seek out one genre or medium, but feels like something is right when he sees certain works. Andy had worked in technology and advertizing, but was also an amazing photographer, and now practices professional photography full time. Being in these creative fields, Andy has met and became friends with artists working in a variety of different mediums. And yes the art world is a small world- there are connections between the artists and subjects in his collection. People go to openings and see their friends work, and then meet like-minded people.
How did you get into collecting?
Where do you go to find the art you collect?
And so when I asked Andy how he got into collecting, he told me it was basically because he was surrounded by a group of friends who were all creative types, and were either artists themselves, or worked in art related fields. A good example of this is a portrait hanging in the in the bedroom which is a wonderful photograph by Jayson Keeling. Andy became friends with Jayson Keeling because they both work in photography, and Jayson had a history of doing a lot of fashion photography. The photo, Untitled, from 2007 is of Derrick Adams, who is also an artist and a close friend of Jayson Keeling.
What was the first work you ever bought?
Also in the bedroom is a wonderful painting by the Spanish artist Mercedes Gonzalez de Garay, Chotis & Buitres, 2007, spray paint and acrylic on canvas, 20 x 48 inches. She writes “Change, move, experiment, try … I believe those are important basis in the work of an artist. The last years I have been living as nomad artist, trying to explore new cultures and artistic movements. Alexandria, Beijing, Bahrain, Barcelona, Florence, Lisbon, Istanbul, Berlin and New York have been some of my working-living laboratories.”
This was the first painting Andy ever bought, and he was drawn to its graphic quality, color and size. He was looking for a larger painting, and was introduced to this work at Bushwick Open Studios, Brooklyn, NY in 2008. A private dealer, Emily Welch had rented a space and was displaying works of art for the public as a pop-up gallery. Bushwick Open Studios in an annual event talking place in early autumn where artists open their studios to the public over a weekend. Artist usually display and sell their own work, but there are also private dealers and galleries who rent the space for the event.
In the living room, works 3 and 4 from a series of 6, The Importance Of Smiling in Pictures, 2008, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 inches by the Columbian artist Jorge Julian Aristizabal hang seemingly watching you. The artist signed the back of the works noting their original placement in the series.
Aristizabal is a very prolific artist working in painting, sculpture and installation. Andy bought two of the series of six at his friend Jason Irwin’s gallery Privateer. Privateer also doubled as Jason’s art studio, and Andy had met Jason first as a fellow artist.