Collector Scoop is a blog series of interviews and features on emerging and established art collectors. Today, we are happy to share a conversation with photographer Tytia Habing about how her art collection got started.

Angela Bacon-Kidwell, be still they will rise, from Home by Nightfall in Tytia Habing's personal collection

Angela Bacon-Kidwell, be still they will rise, from Home by Nightfall in Tytia Habing's personal collection

Can you share your background with us and how you got into collecting art?

I grew up in the Midwest, southern Illinois to be exact, on a family farm. My parents grow corn, beans, wheat and raise cattle. I spent my days immersed in nature, wandering on my parents acreage. Art was always interesting to me and was always my favorite subject in school.

Not only is my mom naturally artistic, so was my grandmother and my great aunts, so loving art came natural to me. While I loved being artistic, I never had any knowledge of famous artists or knew anything about the art world.

I ended up graduated with degrees in both horticulture and landscape architecture, but life had a different path for me. After taking a darkroom photography course to fill an elective in my last year at university, I was completely and utterly smitten with photography. I had finally found my calling. Naturally, because of my love for photography I collect mostly photographic artwork, but I also collect many other types of artwork, whether it be painting, pottery, sculpture or any number of other types. Collecting wasn’t something I ever ‘got into,’ it was always part of my life even when I was quite young. We would go to art fairs and I would pick up little inexpensive pieces that I was drawn to and I still do that. I don’t care if an artist is known, if I like the piece and I can afford it, I’ll buy it.

Heather Evans Smith, Collide, from The Heart and the Heavy in Tytia Habing's personal collection

Heather Evans Smith, Collide, from The Heart and the Heavy in Tytia Habing's personal collection

Do you remember the first piece of art that you bought?

I’ve collected artwork my whole life and I can’t say I remember the first piece I bought. The first pieces that I can remember vividly were all purchased around the same time. I was working in the Cayman Islands for many years and I had some extra money, so I decided I wanted to buy some artwork that I normally couldn’t have afforded. I bought an Eddie Soloway print, a large painting by surf artist Shannon McIntyre, and a print by Joyce Tenneson from her Light Warriors series. To say I was overjoyed with these purchases is an understatement. I adored them and enjoyed looking at them on my walls every single day. Unfortunately, a few years after I acquired them, we had a house fire and we lost everything. Those pieces of artwork along with my wedding video are the only things I still think about losing. Everything else was replaceable. 

How do you think that collecting contributes to the artistic community?

I love to toot other artist’s horns! It gets tiresome constantly marketing my own artwork and if I find a photographer or other artist that I like, I’ll post about them. Every time I acquire a new piece, I try and post or talk about it somehow. I don’t do it to brag, I do it to promote the artist’s work and hopefully introduce someone else to them. Artists need to eat and pay their bills just like everyone else and I love being able to help in any manner I can. 

From Tytia Habing's personal print collection: (left to right) Angela Bacon-Kidwell, Aline Smithson, Ben Huff, Kurt Simonson, John Brinton Hogan, Unknown, Maryanne Gobble, S Gayle Stevens, Unknown, Elizabeth Ellenwood, Angela Bacon-Kidwell

From Tytia Habing's personal print collection: (left to right) Angela Bacon-Kidwell, Aline Smithson, Ben Huff, Kurt Simonson, John Brinton Hogan, Unknown, Maryanne Gobble, S Gayle Stevens, Unknown, Elizabeth Ellenwood, Angela Bacon-Kidwell

As a working photographer, do you find yourself having a juggle a balance between collecting art and marketing your own work? 

Not at all. Like I said above, I genuinely enjoy promoting others any time I can. There’s a plethora of talented artists out there and I believe there’s room for everyone to succeed. I think the photography community is wonderful about promoting each other. I’ve had so many people go out of their way to help me get my work in front of new eyes and I like to do the same. 

What are your favorite resources for discovering new artists?

My favorite is Lenscratch. I’ve discovered so many artists through Aline’s creation. I find a lot of artists through Facebook too and I’m just now getting into Instagram. Yeah, I know, I’m kind of behind the times. I’ve also purchased two of Crusade for Art CSA offerings and I couldn’t be happier with them! 

Emma Kisiel, Toxostoma Rufum 2, from Cher Ami in Tytia Habing's personal collection

Emma Kisiel, Toxostoma Rufum 2, from Cher Ami in Tytia Habing's personal collection

 Do you have any advice for emerging or aspiring art collectors?

The only advice I can give is to buy what you like. Buy what calls to you and makes you happy. You don’t have to be wealthy or know art history. Anyone can be a collector. Not only do I purchase artwork, but I also do exchanges with other photographers. I’m not a wealthy person and I’ve amassed quite a nice little collection of prints and other artwork I love. 

Learn more about Tytia Habing

Are you an emerging or established art collector and interested in being featured? Email Rachael at rachael@crusadeforart.org

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